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
Warning: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.
30 Oct 2011
Alira stared angrily through the polarized window spanning the width of her ship's bridge. Her gaze was fixed on the sleek form of the engineering tower floating in space kilometers off the vessel's bow . She knew he was in there with her.
A strong feeling boiled up from inside her and surfaced as jealous rage. Her knuckles whitened as her grip fastened on the sonic screwdriver she had been toying with fretfully. With an enraged scream she flung the tool against a bulkhead and jumped up from the command station chair she had been sitting in. With the brisk pace of maddened determination she traversed her ship. The pod chamber was her destination.
Alira was beyond the capacity for a calm approach to the situation. All that dominated her mind was the thought of that stranger from the past coming between her and the man she had admired since he first came into her life. As soon as she was immersed in capsule fluid and her ship began to move, she felt powerful and in control of her destiny again. She would finally make Cedrien understand what she felt for him. Her fear of rejection and all other reservations were gone, burned from her heart and her mind by obsessive fury. When she approached the docking ring of the station, she noticed the lights of the shuttlebay activating. Despite her single-minded rage she did register that small detail.
'Comm station, do you copy.' she transmitted on a short-range band. 'Is anybody in the shuttle hangar?' her synthesized voice sounded impatient across the channel.
'This is comm station. Everyone is asleep here miss Tjalgard, Ma'm. I have no idea who would be in the shuttlebay.' came the somewhat intimidated reply from the Gallente crewman on duty.
Presented with an actual outlet for her current agitation, she snapped back at the man. 'Override the undocking procedure and send a security detail there immediately!'
'But Ma'm, it's captain Roucellis' code on the undocking request.' he answered meekly.
Alira cursed the young officer inwardly 'Damn Gallente always have to have the last word.' the voice synthesizer translated her intense mental transmission into an angry snarl. 'Is captain Roucellis in the docking bay?' she demanded to know.
'No, his transmitter indicates that he is still in his quarters.' now there was alarm in the man's voice.
'Then we have a security breach. Send a team there now!' Alira shouted.
Cedrien started from his sleep, woken by the security alarm. The heady aroma of recently shared passion still lingered in his bed and clung to his skin. The second thing he noticed was, that Nevire was gone. He looked for his personal transmitter and answered the alarm call.
'What is happening Gericault?' he asked the young security officer he knew to be on duty.
'We have a situation captain. You need to come to the shuttle-bay immediately.' the other man answered with urgency.
'I'll be there as fast as I can.' Cedrien replied while he gathered his discarded clothes and noticed that his shirt was gone. He also noticed that Nevire's clothes were still there. 'Has something happened to her?' he wondered with a feeling of sickening uncertainty that kept haunting him all the way to the small hangar where the shuttlecraft were docked. Once he had arrived he quickly learned that the situation was quite different from what he had feared, but no less shocking.
Several security officers were crouching under the cover of bulkheads on both sides of the wide portal to the hangar, weapons drawn and ready. Gareef, a strongly built Brutor trooper, lay dead in the entrance. A large cauterized cavity gaped in his chest. Not expecting any serious threat, the security team had only worn light ballistic protection. Tragically ineffective against what looked like a hit with an energized projectile.
'Captain!' Sitalaerd saluted briskly and then stopped his commander from walking through the open hangar doors with a firm hold on the young man's arm.'She shot him right when the doors opened.' the veteran crewman explained when he saw his captain's pained expression. 'It's Madame Chatal,captain. She has Madame Jaunes as hostage.' Sitaleard continued with an earnest look on his aged face.
Cedrien looked at him with alarm. 'What are you saying? Why?! What does she want?!'
The older man shook his head in disbelief 'She wants safe passage.' he said dryly. He had known his younger commander from the time he was an ensign, and Nevire as Cedrien's companion throughout years of service. He was as stricken by this turn of events as the captain himself.
Cedrien drew his eyebrows together in sad resolve. He moved closer to the edge of the protective bulkhead. 'Nevire, I want to talk to you! I will come in unarmed!' he shouted into the expanse of the small hangar beyond. No answer came back. He took a deep breath, shook himself free of Sitalaerd's restraining grip, and stepped out with his arms raised.
He could see a shadow cast by Nevire now that the hangar was fully lit. She was apparently hiding behind the operations console up on the walkway running along the second docking gantry. The prone body of Sandrielle lay there motionless. There was no telling whether she was alive or dead from where Cedrien stood.
'Let me leave with her Cedrien, and nobody else needs to get hurt.' Nevire called out from her covered position.
'I can not let you do that.' he replied with a strained voice while he slowly approached the steps leading to the walkway. 'She is one of my crew. You of all people should understand what that means to me.' the jeopardy of this situation wrenched at his guts with a force that drove the burning feeling of emerging tears into his sinuses. 'Please stop this.' he begged as he took the first step up the stairs.
'Your crew?!' Nevire called back. She sounded as brittle as he felt. 'This woman is a criminal! Do you know how many lives she has to answer for?'
'And what about us, Nevire?' he asked while slowly escalating further. 'How many have we killed in the course of our duties?'
'That was different. That was war!' she shot back. 'Those were soldiers, they knew the risk.'
'Soldiers? Like the Caldari colonists on that convoy in Kassigainen that we were supposed to annihilate?' he vainly tried to forget that he had this argument with the one woman he had loved more deeply than any other he ever met. 'If I would not have gotten that intelligence report into my hands, I would have given the order.' he now had reached the landing of the walkway. 'How many such acts of terror have we perpetrated in the name of what we thought was right? We are as guilty as she is.' he finished with a deep exhalation as if he could breathe out the pain that held him in it's stranglehold.
With one swift movement she was on her feet and out of cover, facing him across the walkway. With her left, she pointed the gun at the prone form of Sandrielle. Her right hand was stretched out towards him. 'Stop there!' she ordered. 'I have an implanted needle-thrower pointed at you with enough charges to completely immobilize you, and I will kill her if you force me to.'
'At least Sandrielle is still alive.' Cedrien noted with hollow relief. 'Nevire, put the gun down. Give her back and you can leave, free to return to your life.' as he spoke the words he realized how much he had wished she would stay, that he had hoped so from the moment they had met at that bench on Ainaille V.
'The Hive Alliance is offering a bounty of four billion ISK for her delivery, Cedrien.' Nevire said slowly and the look on her face made him squint with the searing in the corners of his eyes. 'Come with me and leave all of this here behind. With that much, we would not have to worry about anything.' she pleaded with him. 'We could be together and live on our own island off the coast.' Cedrien wanted to just curl up and scream with the agonizing feeling her words and her expression kindled inside of him.
Right then, shouting and bustling at the hangar doors momentarily burst the bubble of mutual harrowing the two former lovers shared.
Nevire – still quick to react, despite the surprising turn of events - twisted at the waist and fired her plasma pistol. Down below, Alira had stormed past the guards, carrying an automatic projectile rifle. She dove into a roll from that reckless dash which the security team could not prevent in time.
The shot missed the Sebiestor woman by a fraction, and left a glowing hole in the bulkhead behind her. She came up with her rifle firing. As if a spell had been lifted, a barrage began. The guards at the door saw their opening and assumed firing positions themselves. The intense snapping of hypersonic bullets and the hissing thumps of plasma discharges reverberated in the shuttlebay.
Nevire dodged and fired. One more of the crew went down under her accurate shots, but her position was too exposed now. She managed to avoid direct fire, but the ricocheting flechettes of scattershot projectiles cut her down in a hail of glowing metal. Lightly clothed as she still was, nothing offered protection.
'Cease fire!' Cedrien screamed and ran toward her fallen body.
He crouched beside her and lifted her torso from the ground. She was cruelly lacerated by the shrapnel. Cedrien looked into her eyes. He saw death there. The faraway look of someone who had already accepted her fate.
'Why did you betray me like this Nevire? Why you?' he asked her quietly and the first teardrops fell on her face. They formed rivulets of dilated blood when they mingled with the spatters there.
Nevire touched his face lightly and focused on his dark blue irises one last time. She answered him with the breathless rattle of someone whose lungs are filling with blood. 'I had hoped … you would give up this life ... for me ... like I would have done for you.' and with that her eyes glazed over.
Then, at last, all the agony burst out of him. He buried his face in the nape of her neck and hugged her bloodied frame. He held on to her until long after he still could feel her faint pulse, wracked by uncontrollable sobs.
29 Oct 2011
The word to meditate on for today is Clarity.
When I look back at the events of the last days, I realize again how important clarity is. Clarity of the mind. Clarity in social relations. It was confusion and obscurity which resulted in the tragedy that happened. Now, more than ever, clarity is needed or else we will descend into intolerable chaos.
Today I met with Cedrien after checking on Sandrielle. She is recovering well from her injuries. Fortunately for her, they were not particularly serious. Her prone position during the firefight, and the light ballistic armor she wore, protected her from the worst. Cedrien's injuries are far deeper, although not physical. It is obvious that they will take longer to heal.
In the past he often confided with me. This time, he has closed himself. I advised him to look at the situation from a detached perspective. As investigation turned out, Nevire Chatal was working as a marshal for the Gallente Federation, hunting fugitive criminals and collecting bounties. With this profession her eventual violent death was a likely occurrence. To the clear mind this is an obvious conclusion. In my view, he could be thankful that he was given the opportunity to share time with this woman, who meant so much to him, before she came to an end. I decided against mentioning that, though. Despite his professional attitude, his feelings run deep, like they do often for the Gallente.
Speaking of strong emotions. I also spent time with Alira. We are still busy rebuilding several levels of the station after the damage caused by the suicide attack of the Scions. She has taken it on herself to supervise the work, and I have contributed to the reconstruction from the beginning. Now, she has redoubled her efforts, probably to divert her mind from that which burdens it. Like Cedrien, she will not talk about her feelings to me, but her way to deal with them is vastly different.
One does not need the training of Sandrielle to come to conclusions about her. Like most Minmatar people she tends to be very direct in expressing her strong feelings. In this particular case she is channeling them into something that she is passionate about – a very useful quality. While Cedrien borders dangerously on depression, her way is to kindle the Sebiestor's habitual brilliance with technology.
It reminded me of the day the attack occurred. It was clear that she was gripped by fear and panic like many others. Yet, her mind reacted quickly, spurred on by this strong impulse. Under this pressure she managed to quickly devise a scheme to link up a ship's hull repair system to the station's integrity control. Eventually, the nanomachines of the hull-repair module acted like a body's immune system and destroyed the nanites which had been released by the religious fanatics.
Yet, it is not clarity of the mind which informs her decisions. It is more like an instinct. She is therefore missing a crucial realization and will most likely be finding herself in similar situations due to a lack of clear analysis. I tried to make her understand that in a shared moment of conversation, but I am not the best with words, and she is not the best in accepting viewpoints she does not intuitively grasp.
I will return to my work now and record more of my thoughts later.
It is now late at night, and I have concluded my meditations. Before I go to sleep, I wanted to record what has come to me as a result. I realized that clarity is not achieved from a state of obscurity, not without being familiar with that condition. In my upbringing and training I have never been taught otherwise than living and acting by clear guidelines. My conclusion therefore is, that I need to share my observations with someone who is familiar with both states of mind. I know only one person who fits that description.
Sandrielle remained silent in thought for several minutes after she finished listening to the recording. Shisei sat on a chair next to her sickbay bed with an unreadable expression on his face, yet she could feel his expectation. With a wince she pulled herself up into a sitting position. The lacerations in her right arm and leg were still hurting when she used her muscles. At least the throbbing dullness of the pain held the promise of imminent recovery.
'You are very concerned about Cedrien.' she finally stated.
'He is our leader, and if he loses his direction, then we all will.' Shisei replied.
Sandrielle slowly shook her head with an almost amused expression. 'Duplicity in thought and expression comes easily to many Gallente.' she looked directly at the Achura scientist. 'It does not fit you, though.' her tone changed to more soft quality 'In all your observations about others you forgot to admit that Cedrien is a personal friend to you.' she observed. 'The clarity you speak of would dictate that you face that feeling.'
Shisei swallowed and an ever-so-slight flinch quirked his features, indicating that she had been spot-on. 'If you say so.' he retorted defensively.
Sandrielle displayed an expression of emphatic earnestness on her face. 'What Cedrien is facing, is the burden of an unresolved past. This is the reason why I suggested he should venture outside to confront it.' she took a long breath and released it with a sigh 'This way, I became the unwilling catalyst for this most extreme outcome.'
The narrow eyes of the older man lit up slightly at this statement. 'Tell me, how did you come to the decision to hide like you did, and eventually face with Nevire in the shuttle-bay?' he asked her directly.
'Now that's the Caldari incisiveness I'd expect from you.' she smiled tiredly and continued with a sober voice 'Cedrien sent me a message before he returned. He was obviously beside himself about having met this old lover of his and informed me that he wanted to bring her back with him.'
Sandrielle pressed her lips together when she reminisced with a somber mien. 'I ran her ID, found out who she worked with. Cedrien was obviously too distracted to even consider doing so. I suspected she might come for either me or Keram. However, it turned out that Keram's bounty can only be collected from Imperial authorities. They would not admit a Gallente marshal. The conclusion was obvious, so I decided to remove myself from the picture but keep an eye out.'
'Then why confront her at all?' Shisei inquired further.
Sandrielle shrugged 'Call it curiosity. Honestly, I did not expect her to be good enough to even see through my ruse. Obviously I was wrong.'
'Now it is you who is not open about her feelings.' The observation resulted in a slow nod from her.
'It was clear to me that she was using Cedrien.' Sandrielle replied. 'I felt the need to make sure she could not do any real damage to him.' a sad look appeared on her face. 'I am afraid, I only made things worse by my misguided actions.'
'So we both personally care about Cedrien.' Shisei stated the obvious.
'So does Alira, as a matter of fact.' the Gallente woman shook her head. 'Yet we all ended up making things worse.'
Shisei nodded slowly 'I think I know now what has to be done.'
Sandrielle quirked a brow 'You do?'
Slowly he inclined his head once. 'Cedrien needs to understand, that the people who care for him and love him most are right here with him. That there is no reason to dwell on the past. That he needs to live in the present.' He got up and displayed a rare smile 'I think it is time for me now to do something that is informed by my feelings, but I have the necessary clarity to do it right.'
'I hope you do, for his and for our sake.' Sandrielle wished when he prepared to leave.