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 Jan 2012

OOC Entry 12 - A bit late, but still

Well, last OOC Entry I promised to publish a new story within a week. I missed that deadline I set myself by one day. I was finished with the story two days ago, but couldn't find the time to do proofreading during the weekend. As usual I will probably find another ten mistakes or ways how to express something better when I re-read it in a few days, and feel really embarrassed because people already saw and read it.

In any case, a storm begins to gather and Awakened Industries will have to face the most dangerous opponent they ever met on their home ground.

Unfortunately I found about as much time to play EVE recently as I found time to write stories, and that's not a lot. My social life and relationship have picked up quite a bit, and combining that with work and other things just cut into my time for such things. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but I tend to miss "my guys" sometimes.

Speaking of game related stuff. There is a new episode of Lost In Eve where Jade announces his plans for a new alliance and that ZER0 Return is recruiting. So if you are looking for a wormhole corporation with great people look up the 'Z3R0 Return Mining Recruitment' channel in-game, and if you are interested in the alliance after listening to Jade ... I guess then you will have to talk to him about it, but you are welcome in the recruitment channel as well.

Be seeing you on the final frontier.

11 - Turning the Tide - Part 1

Classified Document – Ministry of Internal Order
Reference Number: 113-CC1437
Subject: Sylera Aulithe

For the eyes of the commanding Praetor only.

Honoured Praetor

I hereby inform you that we have succeeded in dispelling any doubts that the Aulithe family had about the fate of their daughter. A group of previously apprehended Minmatar terrorists have been implicated as the guilty parties in her alleged death. All of them have submitted the according confessions when promised a quick and painless execution. The sentence was carried out in the presence of the family to their satisfaction.

It shames me to report, that our efforts to capture the missing capsuleer herself were so-far fruitless. Our last attempt to seize her in Defsunun was a failure, as you know from report 113-CC1435. The Caldari trader she had contacted has relocated his office to Minmatar space and Kaalakiota corporation refuses extradition of corporate personnel except if proof is provided that general treaties between the Empire and the Caldari State have been violated.

We are, however, still investigating the lead provided by the sole survivor of the commando team we had dispatched. It appears that her accomplices are members of an unaffiliated capsuleer corporation called 'Awakened Industries'. You will find the records we could obtain about those individuals enclosed with this report. Allow me to mention here, that this is a group comprised of dangerous criminals and renegades, including the excommunicated traitor Keram Themas.

Unfortunately, it seems that this godless rabble are hiding in uncharted regions commonly referred to as 'Wormhole Space'. Considering the difficulty of finding and navigating those systems, I therefore most humbly request your permission to hire a group of mercenaries familiar with such territory.

The advantage of doing so is twofold: On one side, we thereby acquire the service of operatives with the necessary experience, on the other side we maintain our distance and guarantee plausible deniability of our involvement.

I remain in expectation of your reply.

Yours in service to God and the Empress

Lictor Curiatus Arzad Kel-Udar


Cedrien looked over the new recruits assembled before him. There were hundreds of them, but despite their numbers, the assembly seemed insignificantly small on the vast expanse of the carrier's flight deck. The Gallente commander noted, not without irony, that he never achieved the rank required to command a ship like this during the military career that got cut short by the moral choices he made. Now that he was an independent capsuleer in a region of space where such principles were meaningless, he would become the living core of this massive vessel.

Even with a capsuleer pilot, this Thanatos-class carrier was in need of a large crew and additional pilots to fly it's wings of fighters. The recruitment of suitable crew members had taken almost as long as the construction of the ship itself. Not many people were prepared to choose a life on this most isolated frontier. Those who would leave behind their familiar worlds were often uprooted individuals from difficult backgrounds: Fugitive criminals, escaped slaves, deserters from military ranks, failed colonists and the odd adventurer who actively looked for the challenge of settling wormhole space. Judicious security screening was of prime importance, but allowances had to be made. Otherwise one would never find enough crew-members to supplement the existing personnel up to a number necessary for the operation of a capital ship that size

Cedrien took a deep breath after the introductory speech he had just given to the assembly. He had kept it brief and to the point. 'With this I want to welcome you aboard your new ship, the Euryale.' he added as a closing statement to his presentation. ' Any questions?' He paused and looked over the rows of people before him. No response came. Obviously he had made himself clear and every single man and woman present understood what they had signed on for. 'Good. Please refer to your section leaders for assignment of quarters. Dismissed.'

He walked off the podium while everyone dispersed and approached the group of his assigned officers. Most of them were former Federal Navy personnel like him. He had chosen his most trusted and long-serving crew member – Sitalaerd - as his first officer and bridge commander. The older man still saluted him with the habitual military reflex of a veteran soldier, despite the fact, that Cedrien held no official rank here and had by now even stopped wearing his old Federal Navy uniform. The group of new officers followed the example of the old hand and saluted too.

'Do you think you will get them into shape for running this carrier together with me?' Cedrien addressed Sitalaerd

The other man scratched his chin, covered in grey stubbles, with slight skepticism. 'Many of them are not familiar with this particular class of ship, but they all have served on Gallente ships.' He gestured at a heavyset Mannar man beside him whom he had picked as his second in command. 'Corierre here has served on a Thanatos-class carrier before.'

The round faced Mannar nodded his clean-shaved head. 'Yes sir, for three years actually.' he specified, speaking Gallente with a heavy accent.

'Good, we will need your experience.' Cedrien sounded satisfied. In fact he was relieved, since he himself had only flown training simulations fed into the neural interface of his capsule 'We shall take her out on a shakedown voyage to some Sleeper ruins tomorrow. Something unspectacular to give the fighter pilots some training.' he nodded slightly at the gaunt faced woman who was designated as leader of the fighter wings. 'Considering the amount of traffic we get in here, there will probably not be much else but Sleepers to fight for some time. That should give everyone enough possibility to get familiar with the operation of this ship.'

'We have quite a few experienced fighter pilots.' the wing commander assured him.

'I will conduct a full briefing of the command crew later today.' Sitalaerd added.

Cedrien nodded affirmatively, dismissing the officers, and prepared to leave for a last test of the finished capsule control system. It had been the final installation on the ship, and the most crucial one for it's operation.


The slender hull of the Sei'r was slowly orbiting the undulating passage of a wormhole under the cover of a cloaking field. Nobody had ever set up an outpost in this apocalyptic ruin of a solar system they occupied. Local space was dominated by the immense gravity well of a black hole that slowly stripped the matter off a feeble orange sun. The few remaining planets which had not been torn apart by the pull of the collapsed star had become molten infernos or tempestuous plasma furnaces under the influence of wrenching tidal forces.

The passage they were watching lead to an equally deserted region that had looked like a dead-end when they originally scanned it. Still, they maintained surveillance here on this outlying position. Robotic probes skimmed along the edges of the black hole's relentless pull to look out for potentially opening wormhole conduits.

Idle hours of covert surveillance had made Alira leave her pod and join her command crew on the bridge. It was the graveyard shift now, and the Sebiestor capsuleer was engaged in a game of Kalanbha with the bridge's only other occupant, her engineering chief Hakaar.

Like many ancient Minmatar games, Kalanbha was simple in it's concept, yet it required complex strategy. Originally designed to be played with pebbles and small grooves made in soft ground, one row for each player, it was included as a standard recreational program into holographic projectors and neocoms these days.

Hakaar displayed his strikingly white teeth in a broad grin, and shook his heavy mane of thick braids with mocking amusement at his captain's last move. 'You think you're smart, huh?' he taunted while he displaced a number of gleaming virtual pebbles from his row into Alira's.

His capsuleer commander frowned in concentration and pursed her lips, obviously at a loss to predict what the Brutor engineer's intended strategy could be. Alira was still deliberating about a suitable reaction when the instrument panel at the main command console lit up indicating a sensor echo. Both were on their feet immediately. With a few quick command entries Hakaar reconfigured a part of the main bridge window to magnify the wormhole they were orbiting at a significant distance. The fluctuating portal began to oscillate with sub-atomic agitation. A luminous wave washed over it's edges as the passage of mass caused a burst of photons.

Alira engaged the high resolution sensors and manually primed the ship's defensive systems. Without the neural interface of her capsule, the processes seemed painfully slow to her, but at this instance speed was not an issue. They were safely situated scores of kilometers off the wormhole and under the protection of their cloak.

She checked the sensor readouts. Only a small amount of mass displacement was indicated. Whatever had come through could not be too threatening. Slowly the sharp edged, vertical winged shape of a Caldari covert ops frigate materialized on the magnified image of the viewscreen. The small ship maintained it's position, now that it's material composition had attuned itself to the new location, and started to launch a small swarm of probes.

'I have recalled our probes' Hakaar announced 'No need for them to know that there's anyone here.' A smirk appeared on his dark, broad-featured face. 'Probably just another lone scout looking for lucrative mining sites.' he assumed.

'Then why is he not cloaking again?' Alira replied with suspicion in her voice.

'Maybe he feels safe? There's nothing here apart from enough Sleeper constructs to keep a whole fleet of ships busy.' the chief engineer followed his statement with a shrug. 'Nobody wants to settle black hole systems.'

The following burst of warning lights on the sensor panel dispelled Hakaar's lax attitude in an instant. Alira shook her head and a feeling of foreboding crept up on her. 'This is no lone scout. Whatever is coming through now has enough mass to almost collapse this entrance. I better get into my pod.' The powerful flare of the wormhole looming behind the small frigate on the viewscreen illuminated the bridge while she ran for the exit.

Hakaar's eyes widened as he witnessed how several ships materialized at once. He was forced to extend the viewscreen's size to accommodate the spread-out formation of strategic cruiser hulls. They were followed by the massive bulk of two battleships that looked similar to standard Amarr designs, but showed ominous differences from the familiar Armageddon-class hulls. A flight of Minmatar-built interdictor destroyers shot ahead of the main body a moment later. The final arrival did not need magnification to be clearly visible through the wide bridge windows.
The Brutor engineer slowly mouthed a silent curse as a massive shadow oozed over the assembled fleet of smaller ships and the wormhole tunnel contracted under the strain of the mass passing through it.

'Forward recon to base! Do you copy?' Alira called on the combat channel as soon as she was ensconced in her capsule and had full control over the ship's systems. Slowly the Sei'r was aligning towards the wormhole that lead to their home. Nervously she regarded the threatening fleet through the virtual eyes the ship's sensors lent her.

'This is base. What's the situation?' came the reply from the comm station back at their main tower.

'Get me captain Roucellis on the line right now.' Alira urged

Tense minutes passed. She accelerated the ship into warp just at the moment when that newly arrived combat fleet began to fan out, probably in preparation to occupy strategic locations in this system.

'Alira?' Cedrien's voice finally responded on the channel.

'Cedrien, we have a problem. A whole combat force just appeared in this system.' She paused while checking the short range scanner to see whether they were closing in on the exit she was heading for. 'A whole wing of Legion and Proteus cruisers fit for combat, Bhaalgorn battleships, Sabre interdictors.' Her ship came out of warp and she held that position. Just close enough to the wormhole exit to pass through at any moment but far away enough to maintain her cloak.
'And they have an Archon carrier.' she added.

'Could you get their designation?' Cedrien inquired.

'I got a corp registry ticker from the initial scan.' Alira sent the data through the fluid-router link.

Cedrien cursed under his breath. 'The Janissary Order?! That's not just a combat force. That is an invasion fleet!.'

11 - Turning the Tide - Part 2

All over the station, mobilization alarms sounded, crews were assembled, ships prepared, weapon bays loaded and defensive stations manned. The operations centre was no exception. Here each scanning console and communications desk was occupied by crew members trying to channel their fear and tension into focused activity. Cedrien and the other five capsuleer pilots occupied the main command station.

'The Janissary Order is a mercenary outfit specializing in wormhole operations.' the Gallente commander explained while CONCORD registry data was switched to the main holographic display. 'They have an impeccable track record. As you would expect from a mercenary fleet, they have no loyalty to any cause except what money can buy. When it comes to that, however, they are steadfast. They have never betrayed an employer and only rarely failed to fulfill their contract.' he paused to call up a series of pilot records. 'What makes them particularly dangerous, is the fact that they have a significant number of experienced capsuleer pilots employed.'

Sylera looked confused 'How did they even find us here? I thought it was impossible to find a particular wormhole if it does not directly connect to a known location.'

Shisei nodded thoughtfully at that question. 'When we ran a gravitational analysis on that black-hole system, it indicated, that only one specific exit would generally exist there.' He looked up from the mathematical model he had double checked.

'Then they must have done a chain collapse to gain another entrance.' Cedrien concluded.

Sylera's narrow eyebrows drew together into a puzzled frown. Before she could ask the question which was obviously on her mind Sandrielle softly rested her hand on the younger woman's shoulder. 'It is possible to calculate the probability of a certain wormhole system opening into another.' she began to elaborate. 'Once a suitable system is found, one can cause it's naturally occurring exit to collapse multiple times until the sought-for connection opens.' she leveled her gaze at the others with a significant look on her face. 'It implies an action guided by intent. They were looking for that particular star-system.'

Keram shook his head in disbelief. 'What would they want with this black-hole wasteland?' he scoffed.

The Gallente woman looked at him patronizingly. 'Nothing.' she replied dryly. 'There is only one obvious conclusion: They wanted to get to us, and someone informed them which system we are currently connected to.'

'So you are saying we have a spy?' Keram asked through clenched teeth. Sandrielle nodded gravely.

'They are now camped on the other side of our exit.' Alira cut short any possible outburst when she saw how Keram's face reflected the building up of rage. 'They warped in their fleet around me, launched warp disruption spheres and began to close in on me.' her face contorted slightly with the memory of frustration. 'Once they had me surrounded they started activating smartbombs and forced me to jump through. It was a very well coordinated setup. Cedrien is right, they are definitely very professional and very dangerous.' she added.

'So far they seem to be maintaining their position on the other side of that wormhole.' Shisei announced after checking the deep-space scanner. 'No jumps have occurred since Alira returned.'

'So what the hell are they waiting for?' Keram growled.

'There is only one way to find out.' Cedrien answered. 'Shisei, what is the status of that wormhole?'

'It has not reached the end of it's activity cycle.' the Achura scientist replied 'According to my calculations, it should remain open for another six hours and twenty minutes.' he reported after adding a few figures into his mathematical model.

'Then this is as much time as we have.' Cedrien stated flatly. Looking at each of his companions individually he gave his orders. 'Keram, you and Sylera take over station defense. Shut down everything we do not need and make sure there are crews for all guns and EWAR platforms. I want each one of you to command one wing of defense frigates. Focus on electronic warfare and capacitor disruption.' he picked up his heavy armoured jacket while he continued. 'Alira, take out your ship and every recon team you can assemble. I want that whole system covered. Shisei, you will coordinate the evacuation of all non-essential personnel and materials to a safe location planetside.' The Caldari man nodded knowingly. Emergency plans for such an eventuality had long been made. 'Sandrielle, get Sitalaerd to prepare the Euryale.'

The Gallente woman quirked a brow. 'What about you?' she wondered.

'I will take a shuttle out through that wormhole and parlay with those Janissaries.' Cedrien replied matter-of-factly.

The gathered pilots all looked at him with expressions ranging from concern to skepticism. Cedrien opened his arms, palms upward, in a gesture of annoyed incomprehension emphasized by a stern expression 'You have your orders, get to it!' he stated in a tone that precluded any contradiction.

Everyone got up and headed for the exit. Alira shot a worried glance back after she had boarded the elevator with the others. She watched Cedrien giving last orders to the command-centre crew, then the heavy blast doors cut her vision off. She tried to tell herself that the churning feeling in her stomach came from the sudden downward plunge of the elevator cabin, but she knew that there was more to it.


Cedrien's right hand trembled slightly when he hit the command sequence to jump the shuttle through the wormhole. He felt exposed and defenseless flying manually.No hull surrounding him like the extension of his own fragile body, no shields or armor, nothing he could fight with. If the assembled force on the other side decided to open fire, he would die here. For good. Without the neural interface of his capsule there would be no instant remapping of his consciousness into a new clone body at the moment of his violent death. He smiled grimly at the prospect, then the gravitational pull of the wormhole catapulted his ship through.

When he emerged on the other side, he did not need the flaring of warning sensors to tell him about the deadly threat he faced. Against the ominous backdrop of a collapsed star, the enemy fleet filled the field of vision his cockpit window provided. What little light the struggling orange sun of this system could provide was occluded by the vast bulk of an Archon-class carrier. It's two-pronged bow stretched out far above him. In it's shadow two Bhaalgorn battleships floated like atavistic instruments of war, designed to bludgeon an enemy to death. The rest of the fleet circled around the wormhole like a pack of predators ready to pounce on their prey. Like Alira had said, warp-distruption spheres had been deployed to prevent any escape away from the wormhole.

Cedrien took a deep breath and willed his hands to stop shaking. He hailed on an open frequency.

'Captain Roucellis.' came the reply, emphasizing the generic title in a mocking way. 'Have you come to negotiate the conditions of your surrender?' the sneering voice was not accompanied by any image transmission.

'I have come alone, unarmed and unplugged.' He answered. 'You seem to know who I am. Although I do know the Janissary Order, I do not recognize you. I would like to talk to your commander face-to-face.'

'Why would he want to do that?' the unidentified voice sounded bored.

'Because I know that you did not come here without purpose.' Cedrien countered. 'Neither did you come simply to destroy us, or you would have already made your move. Let us talk about what you are here for, and we shall see whether an agreement can be made that satisfies your terms.'

The communications relay remained silent for some of tense moments. 'We may be mercenaries, but that does not mean we do not honour general rules of engagement.' the disembodied voice finally answered. 'You may fly your craft into the carrier's hangar. We guarantee your safety and free passage as a negotiator.'

Cedrien permitted himself a sigh of relief. 'Affirmative.' he responded and steered his shuttle towards the Archon carrier's hangar bay.


It did not come as a surprise to Cedrien that his hosts had chosen for a massive display of power to welcome him. A battalion-strength force stood assembled on the flight deck. Each soldier fully clad in red-and-tan fighting armor and armed with an assault weapon. Behind the regimented rows of troopers he could vaguely make out brisk activity in the fighter hangars. The small attack craft were being loaded and prepared for duty.

A four man escort waited for Cedrien when he emerged from his shuttle. They directed his steps down the flight deck by executing a snappy turn and heading in that direction, effectively forcing him to fall into step. He knew the Janissary Order from his military days as a disciplined and effective military outfit, as often working for the Gallente Federation as they would accept payment from the opposing side. Their specialization in wormhole-space operations made them a prime choice for striking targets that would try to operate from the isolation of those obscure regions. No standing military force had major cadres trained and equipped to handle such missions.

As they neared the end of the long expanse they traversed, Cedrien began to recognize the commanding officer who stood there to receive him, flanked by a detail of personal guards. The formerly platinum-blond buzz-cut of the Deteis man had by now turned into silvery white.
His strong-jawed, squarish features were creased by more wrinkles, but the steel-gray eyes under their bushy eyebrows still had the same determined glint to them.

'Commodore Sivaata.' Cedrien greeted the other man with a slight bow. 'It has been some time since we met.'

'Captain Roucellis.' Sivaata saluted briskly. 'The last time your superiour commander was my employer. I am honoured by the opportunity to face you as adversary now.'

Cedrien smirked slightly. 'I am afraid I might disappoint you. I am not quite in the position to provide a challenge against a force like yours.' he added while gesturing at the assembled troops.

'You have always been a most resourceful man.' the Deteis commander complimented him. 'Shall we.' he offered, and extended a hand toward the main deck elevator. Cedrien nodded and walked ahead. The older man joined him while the escorting soldiers positioned themselves around the two of them and followed. Both remained in silence during their progress through the massive ship's interiour. Cedrien remembered the attitude of this man, he would not be diverted by idle chatter, nor would he discuss business outside a setting he considered suitable to do so.

When they had arrived in a small conference room overlooking the flight deck, and an attendant had served fragrant, spiced coffee, Cedrien knew the moment had come to open up the negotiations. 'I know that it is useless to ask who employed you, or to make you an offer to buy you out of your contract.' he began. '… but my guess is you did not halt your incursion into our system for no reason.'

Sivaata nodded and slowly sipped from his steaming cup. He set it down before he answered. 'I did come here prepared for a serious confrontation, but it may still be avoided.' he sounded genuinely disappointed at the prospect. 'Among your number is a capsuleer who I am to retrieve, alive.' he took another sip from his drink before continuing. 'Deliver her to me, and we will retreat.'

Cedrien quirked a brow 'Now you are making it difficult for me.' he smiled 'It so happens that I have more than one female capsuleer among my crew.'

The Janissary commander touched the conference table's surface with his index finger and an embedded neocom panel activated. A few strokes later, a familiar young Amarrian face appeared as holographic projection, hovering between the two men. Wordlessly Sivaata looked over the rim of his cup at Cedrien while he drank.

'So it is her you want.' Cedrien acknowledged. 'This young woman only recently joined us.' he stretched in his chair and took a few sips from his own coffee. '… and to be honest, I am not quite sure whether she fits in well with us.' he continued.

The older Deteis man displayed an expression of resignation on his previously unreadable face. 'So you will deliver her to me?' he asked flatly.

'Well.' Cedrien wistfully started and inclined his head as if he'd consider the option. 'As you know I used to be a military man.' Sivaata nodded and set down his cup. 'While I have left this life behind me, I still value some of it's principles.' Cedrien continued, emptied his own cup in one go and deftly put it down. 'One of those principles is, that you do not sell out your crew to the enemy.' he displayed a sarcastic smile on his bearded face. 'In fact, in the light of some recent personal experiences, I would even say, that I value this principle higher than the Federal Navy itself.'

Commodore Sivaata's eyes gleamed at this response. 'So I can take this as a refusal?' he asked rhetorically and finished his drink too.

'Please accept my excuses for wasting your time like this.' Cedrien replied with an implicit confirmation.

For the first time the other man smiled openly. 'Not at all captain Roucellis.' he got up in preparation to escort his guest back to the flight deck. 'It is good that we have resolved this matter.' he gestured toward the door. 'I will give you the time to return to your base. When this wormhole reaches the end of it's cycle, we will engage.' Cedrien nodded, knowing that the man's word can be trusted on both counts. 'I am looking forward to our battle.' the Deteis commander added 'There are too few worthy opponents these days.'

11 - Turning the Tide - Part 3

The enemy fleet had deployed in the system, and it's collective mass had lead to the collapse of the spatial phenomenon. So far the main body remained assembled at their point of arrival, but scouts had been dispatched to collect tactical data. With the Janissaries keeping surveillance over the system, there was no way to safely search for a new exit. Even if they wanted to run, they could not. It was here that Awakened Industries had to take a stand or submit to the demands of their adversary.

Alira had ordered a small squadron of light frigates to harass the enemy scouts in attempts to draw away ships from the assault force. Her own scouts reported, though, that the Janissary fleet remained in position. As Cedrien had predicted, they were too professional to be baited by such obvious tactics. On the other hand, those attacks would, hopefully, be effective as a means to create a false impression of the strategy Awakened Industries was following. The first real trap was laid right here, where Alira was waiting in her concealed heavy interdictor. Halfway between the position of the enemy fleet and their main control tower.

'Ma'm. A group of four Legion cruisers and their squadron of interdictors have seperated from the main force and are aligning towards our main tower.' one of the covert-ops spotters close to the enemy fleet reported to Alira.

Her body subtly stirred within the shell of her pod as she prepared her ship's systems. She opened a channel to her local squad. 'Everyone get ready. Decloak once my bubble is up. Bombers, remember, the interdictors are your primary targets. Shisei, you make sure those Legions are jammed.' she ordered.

All squad members confirmed the orders while Alira saw the the group of enemy ships appear on her long-range scanners. The lips on her dormant face twitched slightly as if they wanted to form smile. She derived grim satisfaction from the knowledge that those ships were unaware of what waited for them under the cover of cloaking fields. She also knew, though, that they would not have much time. The destruction of those interdictors, before reinforcements arrived, was instrumental for further plans to work. With a thought, she willed her ship to shed it's cloak and activated the warp disruption field generator. Within seconds the powerful emissions formed a transparent sphere around her ship. The enemy's ships would have no way of avoiding it.

It took only a few moments until metallic hulls looking like archaic fish ground to a sudden halt inside Alira's disruption field. Immediately she pointed her guns at the closest. In her pod, her hands stretched out under the influence of residual nerve-impulses and high-powered projectiles were propelled against the defenses of her target.

A second later, the armor-clad shapes of enemy Legion cruisers were wrenched out of warp too. Right at that moment a whole squadron of stealth bombers materialized. They perched like gleaming armoured spiders well outside the sphere of pulsing energy. Then the dark, angular shape of Shisei's electronic warfare cruiser emerged among them, dropping it's cloaking field.

Within seconds, that region of space – deceptively empty and serene only moments ago – was transformed into an inferno of torpedo explosions, scorching laserbeams and a hail of cannon-fire. None of the enemy ships were in range to engage the small stealth bomber craft or Shisei's Falcon-class ship, so they concentrated on their only possible target: The compact hull of Alira's heavy interdictor cruiser. Her senses registered the relentless onslaught as constant impulses pricking her pain receptors. The heavy defenses of her ship held, though, and the sensation was still far from affecting her adversely.

The light hulls of the enemy Sabre-class ships could not withstand the barrage of torpedoes that was sent against them. They succumbed quickly to the powerful explosions. The more dangerous and heavily armored strategic cruisers of their opponents, on the other hand, could hardly bring their weapons to bear. They had come prepared for a siege, not for defense against electronic warfare.

Shisei had known which types of ships he was going to engage, and his systems were prepared. With intense concentration he directed the emissions of his specialized sensor jammers against the enemy. Then he saw two of the brass-tinted interdictors breaking away from the fight and head towards him. A Legion cruiser followed in their wake. Soon, they would be in range to engage him, and – even worse - out of the warp disruption field. 'Two Sabres and one Legion approaching me.' he announced tersely.

'Concentrate fire. Those two Sabres are primary targets.' Alira sent the targeting data out to the rest of the fleet. Moving fast, the small destroyers would be hard targets for the stealth bomber's torpedoes, even with the target painting systems they employed.

Still, one of the small enemy destroyers got thrown off course by a heavy torpedo impact. Shattered solar panels and melted armour plating flew off it like a shower of glowing metal ingots. Before it could re-align itself, another torpedo tore through it's midsection. The bow of the ship broke off like the decapitated head of a prehistoric sea-creature, then the second ship exploded in a ball of superheated gas and molten metal.

'That's the last of the interdictors.' Alira reported to the ships under her command. 'The Legion on course for Shisei is your primary target.'

'Not a moment too soon.' the spotter at the enemy fleet reported. 'Their Proteus wing has just warped to your position, and the carrier is aligning.'

'Everybody, concentrate fire. One last salvo at that Legion. Launch all you got, then disengage and head for your rally points. Fire!' Alira ordered.

The jabs at her nervous system became more urging. Her shields were close to failure. Her target was barely in range. She let loose with a final barrage and then engaged her warp-drive. Nothing held her down. This forward strike-team had relied on the interdictors for that job. The last vain attempts of her opponents to score a hit, stabbed past her hull as lances of searing light. Then her ship hurtled off into the depths of space.

At the same time the rest of the small Awakened Industries fleet scattered and vanished under the safety of their cloaks after the bombers had launched their devastating payload. They would all go into hiding at remote locations far off the range of any standard scanning equipment, preparing their next move.

The single ship which had tried to engage Shisei maneuvered frantically to avoid the swarm of torpedoes and bombs that still headed for it. It was already without shields, and the armour repair systems had difficulty mitigating earlier damage. It's nanites were rendered sluggish when exposed to the radiation emitted by the cataclysmic variable star. The vessel's heavy plating melted under the extreme heat of the thermal torpedoes' impacts. In his final attempts to get away, the capsuleer captain avoided one bomb explosion successfully. The second and third battered his ship brutally though, and when the last torpedoes finally struck, there was hardly any armour left to safe him and his crew from certain destruction.


Commodore Sivaata observed the ongoing siege with calm satisfaction from the bridge of his carrier. His fighter squadrons were successfully decimating the station's defense fleet comprised only of frigates and light cruisers manned by standard crews. The two powerful Bhaalgorn battleships were battering down the station's shields with support from the heavily armed and armored Legion cruisers.

The squadron of Proteus-class ships orbited around the Caldari-designed construction and took out defensive batteries whenever they came into range. With his fleet supported by powerful repair systems projected from the carrier, the opponent's perimeter turrets were hardly a match for them.

Soon the defense systems of this structure would run out of power, and then victory would be within reach. The trap that had been laid for the advance strike-force had only been a minor setback. Certainly, with the interdictors lost, there would be no way to restrict the movement of the carrier Sivaata knew to be in this system somewhere, but their objective did not include the destruction of the enemy fleet.

An ever so subtle smile alleviated his stony faced expression. 'Roucellis always was a crafty strategist, and wormhole life certainly made him even more creative.' he thought, and pondered what the younger Gallente commander might be planning. Momentarily he was forced to squint due to a bright explosion just outside the bridge's wide observation window.

'Commodore, our pilots report the destruction of the defense squadron's leader. Green One has his capsule pinned down and requests orders.' one of the tactical observers announced from his station.

Without looking away from the well conducted symphony of destruction outside, the Deteis veteran commander responded 'Tell them to bring him in. The Empire will pay a good amount of ISK for the apprehension of Keram Themas. Inform the pilot of Green One that he and his crew will receive an extra share of this reward.'

'Sir, I am receiving an encrypted message from our inside contact, requesting a meet.' the communications officer interjected.

Now Sivaata turned and sightly rose an eyebrow. 'A meet? What for?' he wondered with slight suspicion.

'Sir, the message does not say. It only includes a set of coordinates.' the officer consulted her console. 'It is far off the ecliptic in deep space. Outside the range of scanners.'

The old commander frowned. 'Sounds like a possible trap.' he strode across the bridge and stood behind the station of the fleet command crew, looking over the roster of deployed ships.

'Recall group blue. Instruct them to dock and change ships. I want an escort of force-recon cruisers standing by. Recall Kueres from the siege and inform him that he is in charge of this personally. He is to take blue squadron to the assigned location.' he ordered after a few moments of deliberation.

He straightened himself and returned his attention to the besieged station outside. 'Their defenses are close to entering reinforced state. We will maintain our siege and ready the troops for boarding the station.' grimly he pressed his lips together. 'If that meet turns out to be a trap, the crew of that tower will pay for it.'


Kueres Saremar quickly gained his bearings after his Legion cruiser dropped out of warp in the emptiness of space, far away from any celestial body. The massive red sun and it's small white companion were but somewhat larger beacons on the firmament when viewed from this remote location. His escort reported that they were in position around him, hidden by cloaking fields.
Their rendezvous was nowhere to be seen either, though.

Hastily the Khanid capsuleer extended his perceptions into the depths of space, looking for ships that might appear within sensor range. There was nothing, only the emptiness of the void. Then the star-spangled view off his bow began to waver and distort as the gleaming, rounded hull of a Gallente covert operations cruiser emerged into visibility. He registered a hailing signal on the pre-arranged encrypted channel and answered. 'Speak!' he commanded tersely.

No verbal answer came, just a stream of encoded data-packages. Kueres re-routed them through the decryption algorithm they had been using for communication with the spy. 'What I have to say is better relayed face-to-face. Your opponents are aware of a spy within their organization and there might be hidden listeners. I can not risk exposure. Permit me to dock with your ship.'

The Khanid mercenary pondered the message and scanned the Gallente ship floating motionless in space. It had it's shields deactivated and seemed to be completely unmanned. Finally he took a decision. He opened a channel to his bridge commander. 'Bridge, prepare a full compliment of soldiers and technicians as a boarding party. I want them on standby to board that Arazu as soon as the capsuleer pilot is on our ship.' then he maneuvered his ship alongside the curved hull of the other vessel.


For security reasons, Kueres had decided to remain in his capsule and had a detail of four guards escort the spy into the pod-chamber of his ship. He was both surprised and confirmed in his assumptions when he saw the tall, dark-haired Gallente woman on the chamber's visual sensors. She was unarmed and only wore the sleek and tight-fitting inner layer of a space-suit. Her raven hair was gathered into a tight bun. She carried herself as if she were completely in control of the situation. Kueres felt angered by her display of aloof confidence, but also stimulated by the opportunity for a contest of wits with this infamous individual.

'Sandrielle Jaunes.' he acknowledged by translating his thoughts into soundwaves emitted from the chamber's speaker system. 'I would have thought your reputation for treachery was known all over New Eden. It seems that your current commander is either ignorant, or has vastly underestimated it.'

If the taunt caused any reaction, it definitely did not show on her subtly tanned features. 'I have come to offer you information about your objective.' she stated business-like. 'In addition to strategical intelligence.'

'I am listening.' Kueres replied curtly.

'I have brought a full data report on their fleet composition and their positions. Also, I know that the Amarr capsuleer you are seeking is hidden in the spaceport facility on the third planet of this system. She is protected by a few platoons of soldiers, but nothing you can not overcome with your own forces.' the Gallente elaborated. 'I have all the information here.' she reached for a small satchel buckled to her suit.

Immediately the guards drew and aimed pulse pistols at her. 'Now let's take this slowly.' Kueres interrupted. 'Please Madame Jaunes, put your hands behind your head. One of my guards will retrieve the data carrier.' he didn't feel like taking any chances with this woman. 'Lorkh, take the storage module she carries and plug it into that interface port.' A console lit up at a mental command of his to indicate the appointed location.

Cautiously the guard-soldier approached the woman. Warily he kept his pistol aimed at her head while he reached out to open the pouch on her hip. She just stood there, fully relaxed and apparently unimpressed by the proceedings. Once Lorkh had retrieved the small storage module, he walked away backwards, slowly heading over to the console, his weapon still leveled at the woman's head. Finally he turned to connect the small device to the interface port

The last thing Kueres registered was the screaming warning signal of his neural interface, not unlike an imminent hull breach, then he was plunged into total sensory isolation.

11 - Turning the Tide - Part 4

Everything had gone exactly as intended. Obviously the Janissaries would expect a trap, but Sandrielle had managed to turn wariness into a misplaced sense of control. The psychological effect of giving herself over in person was not lost on the capsuleer pilot. When one mostly lived life as the organic core of the most advanced machines, being confronted with a mere human tended to engender a feeling of superiority. To him, she was a soft target, completely at his mercy.

Naturally, the guards viewed the situation differently. They did not have a capsuleer's acquired sense of invulnerability, so they stayed vigilant throughout the time they spent escorting her through their ship. On the other hand, they were not fully aware of her abilities. She had ample time to study their movements and reflex patterns, and to prepare herself for the coming confrontation.

When the one called Lorkh connected the data carrier as ordered, the logic bomb, Alira had cleverly programmed into the device's circuitry, did it's devastating work on the capsule control system. The moment to act had come.

Sandrielle pulled out the mono-molecular filament she had sheathed inside her hairband with her right. Her left hand shot out at the weapon of the guard she had marked as the most tense. As she had expected, the attack caused him to pull the trigger. The force of her strike was measured perfectly to divert the man's shot as intended. It burned right through the back of Lorkh's skull where he stood.

While she dropped into a low spin she continued the arch of movement her right arm had started when releasing the lethally sharp compound thread. Aided by the inertia it's weighed end lent it, the filament effortlessly sliced through the third soldier's body armor and the soft flesh underneath. His body was cut apart in a neat downward angle from the right shoulder to his left hip.

Sandrielle's right leg shot upward and retracted just before it would be severed by that very same concealed weapon. Her kick hit the chestplate of the guard behind her with a lethally focused impact. The shockwave which resonated through the protective mesh crushed the soldier's heart in an instant.

She could hear the discharge of two pulse shots from the last man standing, the one she had made shoot Lorkh. His shots went wide, it all had happened too fast for him to follow. The weighed monofilament followed the momentum of her spin and sliced upward as she rose again. In a mirror image of the second guard's death, it bisected that soldier from the right hip to the left shoulder. With a reflex contraction of muscles he discharged another shot into empty air before his body slid apart with a wet thud followed by a shower of blood.

It was over within seconds. Just long enough for the hair she had severed by pulling the lethal thread to hit the ground. Spattered with blood Sandrielle took one deep breath to compose herself.

Continuing quickly, she dashed to the interface console of the disabled capsule control system and hit the emergency release. While the pod's shell split open to reveal the pilot inside, she briskly wrenched a first-aid kit from it's mounting point on the wall, opened it, and took out an osmotic injector. Already the capsule fluid had drained, and the glowing receptacle released the pilot.

Kueres dropped to the floor after the umbilicals had disconnected from his spine. He was still disoriented from the induced shock that had overloaded his nervous system moments earlier. Confused he struggled to get up and regain his bearings, but Sandrielle was already next to him and forced him back to the ground by kneeling on his back.

'It seems like you have underestimated my reputation for treachery.' she sarcastically echoed his earlier words, then she injected a strong sedative into his jugular.
'Or maybe you misjudged my potential for loyalty?' she rhetorically wondered at the prone, unconscious man. She got up again and began to take off her suit.


The controls of the advanced Amarr ship were difficult to get used to at first. Sandrielle had little experience and only rudimentary training when it came to vessels like this one. At least, the basic capsule interface worked the same. After she reviewed the communications log, it became obvious that Kueres had not come here alone. Two cloaked ships must be hidden nearby. With satisfaction she also registered, that a large group of soldiers and technical personnel had been sent to her ship. Reviewing her memory of Kueres' voice, she imprinted it's pitch and timbre into the communication systems.

'Everyone, stand by for warp. The spy has provided us with the location of our main objective. We have an opportunity to get a special reward.' she transmitted on the squad's channel, imitating the Khanid capsuleer's voice. All her skill went into emphasizing and inflecting the words to full effect.
The tone of voice was meant to trigger the mercenary mindset of her recipients, overruling the capacity for better judgment by the desire for wealth. She disengaged the docking link with her own ship, stranding the people who had been dispatched there. 'We will come back for the traitor's ship later.' she added with Kueres' imitated voice, then she took control and warped the small squad to the trap that laid in wait for it.


Keram woke up in a cell that induced a momentary sense of panic in him. The dark brass-coloured interiour, the yellow lighting and the fact that he found himself completely naked, triggered his worst fears. Startled he rose from the spartan cot, but then he began to remember what had happened. The heated rush of adrenaline subsided and his heartbeat slowed. His ship had been destroyed in a fight with mercenaries, this was the inside of their carrier. It was not a cell in the torture dungeons of the Amarr Ministry for Internal Order. If nothing else, the severe-looking, blond Deteis woman who glared at him through the cell's force field made him realize that.

'Keram Themas.' she addressed him while she consulted the readout of his cell monitor.

'Thank you for reminding me, I wasn't sure whether I still knew my own name.' he replied with a wolfish grin and lewdly exposed his nakedness to the woman dressed in the red-and-tan of a Janissary trooper. “And you are?' he continued 'I just hate to shout out the wrong girl's name when we get it on, it puts such a damper on things.' his grin lingered provocatively.

A derisive smirk twisted the woman's thin lips into a grimace 'Your crude advances will only get you into more trouble.' she replied dryly.

Keram leaned forward from his reclined position. 'Oh, so we are all business?' he defiantly stared at her. 'So tell your superiours to do their homework better next time, errand girl.' He got up and approached the force-field, locking onto her gray eyes. 'Do they think they can make me feel uncomfortable by putting me naked into a cell with a woman as my watchdog?' he spat and the force field dissipated his spittle into a wisp of steam. 'All I see is a Caldari mercenary whore who can be bought for money.' he snarled at her. 'So if you want to talk business, you better come up with something that impresses me.' and then he broke into a feral grin again 'Or you lower that force field and show me what you got.'

The woman curled her lips in disgust 'You will see soon enough pirate ' she practically spat the last word in an effort to re-establish her sense of superiority.

At that moment the heavy doors of the cell-block slid open and a silver-haired man with a clear aura of authority walked in. He took his time, hands clasped behind his back, nodding at the female officer who withdrew immediately once he arrived in front of the cell, then he set his stern gaze on Keram.

'I am commodore Sivaata of the Janissary Order.' he introduced himself. 'We do not have much time, so I will be direct with you.' the strong-jawed commander continued and held Keram's defiant stare. 'There is a simple choice I am offering you. We will deliver you to the Amarr authorities.' he ignored the sneer Keram offered as a response.'You can be delivered dead – admittedly a loss for us, but sparing you a lot of pain – or we deliver you to the Empire alive.' The Caldari mercenary stopped for a moment before he added. 'I am not an unreasonable man, and I detest unnecessary suffering.'

Keram folded his arms in front of his naked chest 'What do you want?' he replied flatly.

Sivaata drew his bushy eyebrows together into an earnest look. 'We are preparing to invade your station. We will succeed, but there will be a lot of bloodshed. If you provide us with the location of that Amarr capsuleer we have come to retrieve, we will cease our invasion, make your death quick and painless, and retreat.'

Keram broke out in laughter. 'That girl is all you want?' he asked after he recovered. 'I will tell you where she is.' in a more earnest voice 'On one condition.' he added slowly 'I want to live until you have her. Bring her here before me and let her know who sold her out.' he cackled with dry gallows humour 'I want her to realize that her god did not protect her from the likes of me before she goes.'

Sivaata nodded slowly 'It will happen as you request. Now tell me where we can find her.'


On the farthest edge of the system, where the solar wind of the two stars locked in their destructive union did not have sufficient energy to push against the interstellar medium anymore, close to the ionized curtain of the heliopause, a number of cargo containers were arrayed regularly in empty space, seemingly without purpose.

One moment, this remote site lay idle in apparent solitude, the next, a curved and burnished ship's hull shot out of warp, smashed into the formation of massive metal objects and scattered them off it's shield.

In the wake of the beetle-like ship's collision, things unseen impacted with the spinning obstacles, and shockwaves coursed along wedge-tailed outlines before they were revealed in the fluttering glow of the solar wind's termination shock. Just as they were exposed, a dozen of small starfish-shaped frigates emerged from the emptiness of space. An elongated, copper hull, shaped like an elaborate ceremonial weapon, materialized off the surprised Janissary's bow, and an asymmetrical, angular vessel of bluish gray behind them. Finally a vast leaf-shaped behemoth obscured the coruscating barrier that marked the limit of this solar system. As soon as the malachite-tinted leviathan had appeared, a swarm of small craft flew from the wide maw of it's launch platform and began encircling the three golden-hued craft stranded among the flung-apart containers.

'Janissary pilots. We have you locked down and outnumbered. Stand down and prepare to be boarded.' Cedrien called out from within his capsule aboard the Euryale.

His sensors showed him that the two Pilgrim-class recon ships had their warpdrives rendered inert by Alira, Shisei, and - certainly to their surprise - the Legion cruiser which they had considered to be on their side. His own ship sent out strands of strong forces, slowing them down to a crawl, and by now Shisei would have their targeting system overloaded with destructive interferences.

Bitter laughter echoed back over the hailing frequency. 'So you think by capturing a few of us you can avoid the inevitable?' a defiant voice with distinct Caldari accent retorted after the speaker had composed himself. 'Right now, our forces are probably already invading your station.' the Janissary capsuleer continued. 'All that you will have left is to trade our lives for those of the prisoners we make. If we take prisoners.'

Cedrien ignored the defiance of his opponent 'I repeat, power down your ships and prepare to be boarded.'

'For now we will stand down.' the Janissary capsuleer growled back at him. 'You win this engagement, but treachery and stealth will not win you this battle captain Roucellis.'

11 - Turning the Tide - Part 5

'Here they come.' Taakien announced from the sensor station in the third planet's spaceport observation tower. Nervously he wet his lips with his tongue and swept a lock of blond hair from his high forehead.

Miranjee turned away from the windswept, rocky desert panorama outside, and walked over to the young Civire technician.'They have committed their whole force. That means they have swallowed the bait.' the tall Brutor woman concluded after a look at the orbital scanner's console. A fierce smile appeared on her full lips. 'Looks like they lost another few ships.'

'They will still have enough troops available to raze this whole installation to the ground.' Taakien reminded her and fretfully gestured at the factory complex beyond the spaceport which was hardly visible through curtains of storm-driven, red sand. His blue-grey eyes were overcast by a dismal look. He shook his head before he looked up at the female soldier 'I can't believe we're doing all of this just because of some Amarr jaalan.'

Miranjee glared at him angrily. War-tattoos flared up briefly on her dark skin as she raised her voice 'This is not for her, this is for us!' she reprimanded him. 'This is our home, and nobody can come here and force us to obey them.' She settled down and continued more quietly. 'Captain Roucellis and the others will come. We only need to hold this complex long enough for them to arrive.' she looked straight into the eyes of the young man. 'And we will hold.' she stated with determination.

'Yes ma'm!' Taakien saluted with brittle resolve in his voice.

Miranjee nodded curtly and activated the station-wide intercom. 'This is your combat commander speaking. Everyone prepare for battle. Remember, they will be aiming to take a live prisoner here, so they will not be able to use heavy weapons. You will hold your designated positions as long as you possibly can.' She put on her helmet and picked up her assault weapon, then she left to join the troops down in the main loading bay.


Commodore Sivaata looked at the desolate russet orb of the third planet from the bridge of his carrier. A tactical hologram overlay displayed an enlarged portion of the planet's surface, complete with representations of the planetary factory buildings. Flashing icons representing his landing craft and troop contingents closed in on the enemy's position.

The Janissary fleet was assembled in space, high above the target location. One of the Bhaalgorn battleships had docked with the bulky customs office that sat in a stationary orbit above the spaceport below. If it would come to a protracted siege, his forces would have a ready supply route once the landing platform below was in their hands. Since the opposition had no other way to leave the planet than via this route, they were trapped, and the objective of their mission with them.

Despite the tactically sound position, the seasoned Deteis commander pressed his lips together and frowned sceptically. He did not like it at all that he was forced into a surface raid with only light infantry. Neither did he appreciate the fact that he had to lift the station siege which had been close to completion. They had already lost a forward strike team to a trap, though. One more capsuleer and a few smaller craft had fallen during the siege. Now Kueres and his two escort ships were still unaccounted for. Splitting his force again seemed unwise. Especially with Roucellis' capsuleers and their carrier still hiding somewhere outside the Janissary scout's sensor range.
'Commodore, we are receiving a transmission from captain Saremar!' the communications officer called out to him.

Sivaata was relieved at the news that his most competent capsuleer was still with them. He turned to look over at the comm station. 'What is his status?' he inquired.

'Sir, he reports that he was lured into a trap by the spy. His escort has been destroyed and his ship was badly damaged. The transmission is breaking up, but he requests docking permission to have repairs performed and replenish losses to his crew.' the Civire woman replied.

Sivaata nodded slowly 'So it was as we expected.' he muttered. 'Clear him for docking. Send word to the hangar bay that he will need immediate repairs and new crew. I want him ready for deployment as fast as possible.' He turned his attention back to the view outside. A flashing tactical indicator appeared on the surface of the wide bridge window and tracked the path of Kueres' vessel as it appeared out of warp.

'Magnify' Sivaata commanded. The ship trailed wisps of venting plasma and there was obvious damage to it's armor. It must have been a hard fight. He was tempted to ask Kueres about it in person, but he was needed here. Something was bound to happen. His uncanny instinct as a seasoned veteran told him so. 'Is it here that Roucellis will make his stand?' he asked himself while he watched Kueres' ship vanish from view as it entered the docking bay.

'Commodore Sivaata, Sir!' the voice of the communications officer sounded urgent 'We are receiving a transmission from the surface.' she looked over at her commander with confusion on her face 'It is encrypted with the code we gave to the spy.'

'What?!' Sivaata was irritated by this turn of events. He walked over to the comm-station. 'How can that be? Didn't that same spy lay a trap for Kueres out in deep space?'

The Civire officer looked at him with a helpless expression. 'I know, sir, but the message says that we should disengage immediately. This whole thing here is supposed to be a trap.'

Before the Sivaata could respond, a massive detonation deep within the ship shook the bridge with it's force. Alarm sirens went off and instrument panels lit up with disturbing activity.

'Sir, something just exploded inside our hangar!' one officer shouted from a technical station flaring red with damage reports.

'Commodore, a Thanatos carrier and a number of other ships are in warp to our position.' came the report from the tactical officer.

Then the bridge was flooded with intense light as the orbital customs office blew apart. The enormous blast tore through the battleship docked with the large structure. Sivaata looked on with gritted teeth as the mighty vessel was broken in half and large pieces of debris were flung among the ships of his fleet


Taakien had immediately engaged the remote detonator once he received the signal from captain Roucellis' incoming fleet. His scans had shown him that an enemy battleship was docked to the customs office. Even a craft of that size would not survive the thermonuclear blast fueled by storage holds full of enriched uranium. He checked the scanner again and noticed an odd distortion in the readings.

Curious, the Civire technician began to run a diagnostic subroutine. Muffled gunfire and explosions could be heard from further inside the station, and outside in the unrelenting dust-storm raged, but nothing had damaged the sensor systems. He proceeded to isolate the disturbance and when he had found it's source he got up and drew his sidearm.

Madame Jaunes had isolated this very code days earlier. Back then it was hidden in a scanner wave, just like it was now. She had briefed all technical personnel about it's significance. It must have come from a spy among them. Now it came from within this station. From inside this very building even!

Taakien looked around. There was only the elevator to the main level of the small spaceport, and the stairs down to the utility chambers beneath this command centre. Slowly he approached the spiraling metal steps and quietly walked down with his weapon ready. He hit the release for the door to the service room and quickly resumed firing position.

'Jorrit?!' he shouted surprised when he saw the Sebiestor tech-crewman squatting over a portable comm-console that was patched into the main sensor trunk.

'Don't do it!' he shouted and pointed his gun at the other man when the Minmatar made a move for his own weapon.

With resignation on his narrow, ashen face Jorrit raised his hands and got up. 'I guess that's end of line for me then?' he shrugged 'Just hope my last message did any good.'

'Did any good?!' Taakien burst out. 'Our people are dying out there because of you!'

'Because of me?!' the Sebiestor shouted back at him 'No! It's because of that Amarr kuti!'

Taakien switched his gun to stunner pellets and shook his head. 'It's not for her, it's for us.' he reminded himself, then he shot.


The Euryale lurched to a slow stop after dropping out of warp above the assembled Janissary force. Cedrien assessed the field immediately through the senses provided to him by the capsule's neural interface. The long, cylindrical hulls of Iteron-class tansporters, were moving through the enemy formation, radiating devastating smartbomb blasts and slowing enemies down with magnetic force webs. Cedrien immediately engaged the energy transfer from his ship to sustain the unconventionally strong armor repair systems they had mounted on the cargo ships.

As usual, the electronic warfare ship of Shisei did it's disruptive work, mainly against the remaining Bhaalgorn. Sandrielle and Alira threw themselves into the fight with the strategic cruisers they were flying, picking equally advanced ships among the enemy force as their targets.

When Cedrien issued the launch command to the fighter wings he first noticed the conflagration inside the Janissary carrier's hangar. Confused he focused his senses at the enemy ship after he had engaged the re-constructive matter streams intended to keep the armor of his two main combat pilots intact.

The enemy ship was suffering from heavy internal damage. It was losing energy as if running at full capacity, but he could see none of it's support systems engaged. It's shields were fluctuating, and obviously it could not launch fighters. The vast flight deck between it's bow prongs was torn open and explosions still flared up inside. 'What happened here?' he wondered.

He had expected an almost suicidal fight against a force outnumbering theirs significantly, but with the backbone of the Janissary fleet disabled, everything had suddenly changed. Now that his stealth bomber support wing had warped in, the Bhaalgorn battleship was not only rendered unable to engage by directed electronic warfare, but also began to take serious damage. The explosions originating from the advancing Iteron transports, forced the enemy force to scatter. Alira and Sandrielle could now draw individual ships into dogfights where they had the advantage due to structure support coming from the Euryale. Already one of the enemy Proteus cruisers had been disabled by Alira, and Sandrielle was systematically devastating the Legion she had engaged with her own advanced Gallente ship.

A hailing signal came in from the Janissary capital ship.'Captain Roucellis.' it was commodore Sivaata's voice. 'I offer you a ceasefire. This engagement has become pointless. I have already ordered my force on the planet's surface to stand down and retreat. We are prepared to do so as a whole.'

The statement increased the bewilderment that had bothered Cedrien since the first moments of this battle. 'How so?' he inquired.

Now it was Sivaata who sounded confused. 'Obviously, the suicide attack of our objective subject has made our presence here superfluous.'

A cold sensation shot through Cedrien's body when the meaning of Sivaata's words sunk in. In his mind he uttered a long string of Gallente curses after the initial shock had subsided.

'I guess that leaves us with only one issue to resolve Commodore Sivaata.' he replied weakly once he had regained his composure. 'We are prepared to return the crews and capsuleers we have taken prisoner in exchange for Keram Themas.' he stopped for a moment reviewing a status report from the surface 'And you can take that spy you infiltrated into our ranks with you.' Cedrien added.

'We agree to those terms.' Sivaata responded. 'You were a worthy opponent captain Roucellis.'

'It was the sacrifice of one capsuleer that turned the tide.' Cedrien answered. Then he ordered his pilots to cease fire.

Victory was achieved. The losses of Awakened Industries were limited, despite overwhelming odds. Still, a hollow feeling remained.

24 Jan 2012

Blog Banter 32 - Vigilantes!

Allright, so as a cop-out on writing more fiction I will participate in this month's Blog Banter 32. The Apple of Discord was thrown by the author of Sand, Cider and Spaceships, and it looks like this:

"A quick view of the Eve Online forums can always find someone complaining about being suicide ganked, whining about some scam they fell for or other such tears. With the Goons' Ice Interdiction claiming a vast amount of mining ships there were calls for an "opt out of PvP" option. 

Should this happen? Should people be able to opt-out of PvP in Eve Online? Should CONCORD prevent crime rather than just handing out justice after the event? Or do the hi-sec population already have too much protection from the scum and villainy that inhabits the game?"

I never quite understood the mindset that drives people to look for weak and defenseless targets because it never felt like an achievement to me to blow up someone who can't put up a fight. I definitely like trying to hit those back who do, though.

Unfortunately, the opportunities to do that in highsec are way too few for my tastes. Highsec griefers like to say, that miners and mission runners should be prepared for non-consensual PVP. The way I see it, it's them who are in fact not prepared for it. They set up their engagements in such a way that there is usually no real risk of any retribution. You want non-consensual PVP? I think you are definitely entitled to it. Here are a few of my thoughts on the subject:

In the most recent episode of Notalotofnews, Erin suggests that there should be a possibility for players to put their kill-rights on the market after getting ganked. I would actually go and fly around in highsec again for other things than shopping if I could make ISK by shooting people on behalf of victimized miners. It would also finally effectively create the profession of bounty hunter in an official way supported by game mechanics.

Also, why are kill rights only extended to individuals? If someone ganks my corpmate, I should be allowed to go after them too, for the same amount of time. That would encourage high-sec players to form small gangs and seek retribution.

Furthermore, why are gankers allowed to safely wait for their GCC to expire in a pod or station? It should absolutely be allowed for players to pod them, especially the victims. Such offenders should not be able to jump out of the system or dock as long as the GCC lasts, just like an Aggression Timer. Contrary to the author of this post, I would not like CONCORD to pod the gankers, but getting a few corpmates together to hunt a pod that can't jump or dock would be fun.

Another thing I thought about, would be the possibility to pay a monthly fee to CONCORD and become a registered enforcer. Doing so would make it legal to not only shoot -5 targets, but generally everyone with a negative sec status. It's one thing to know that you can steal from this two-month old miner in a small corp with no combat pilots, it's another if there could be scores of people out there who are both allowed to, and capable of blowing you up for it.

Measures like that would increase the amount of PVP in highsec while introducing more consequences for criminal behaviour at the same time. That would make such acts more difficult and therefore would indirectly increase the safety of the more peaceful industry types, without restricting PVP by set game mechanics which do not rely on player interaction. It would also introduce a new PVP playstyle into the game: Vigilante anti-griefing. I am sure there are people who would enjoy that. I know I would.

On a final note, I'd like to say, that I often get the feeling that highsec players are not frustrated and angry because their ships get blown up every so often. The real frustration is, that they know the griefers will get away with it, have their 'lolz' and happily move on without any worries. Personal revenge is not the only form of closure, some people are perfectly happy if others carry it out for them.

21 Jan 2012

OOC Entry 11 - Still alive

Greetings programs (ok, who gets this pop culture reference)

Bascially I wanted to post something so people don't think my blog went dead. The thing is, I am still sort-of deliberating where things go from the last stories. Don't you worry though, I have a few ideas. Clouds are gathering on the horizon and Awakened Technologies will have a carrier. They will need it.

Thing is, I wrote a few individual scenes, but they still need to be merged into a story, but RL is getting the better of me. But I will get it done the coming week, and you know I make good on my promises.

In other news, my good in-game friend splatus moved from writing stories to a more meta-game philosophical approach. He actually got mentioned on Ender Black's podcast, and Ender engaged in a conversation with him. So did yours truly, and it was interesting. So if you are interested in discussions about moral issues crossing over from EVE to RL, check it out and join in. The link is up there in the text.

So, I hope you keep coming back. Maybe read some of the old stories in the meantime, and stay tuned for a new story withing the coming week.

10 Jan 2012

OOC Entry 10 - Picking up the pieces

After some deliberation I finally wrote the next piece. I wanted to do two things: Provide a more personal view of the last character I have not done an expose on, and set the stage for a recovery from the tragic events of the last story.

In a way, that results in a transitional short piece which is written mostly in the form of a recorded personal journal, only at the end it turns back to the usual 'omniscient observer' sort of narrative.

I hope that those of you who like to read action-packed stories or pieces with lots of suspense and twists will forgive me for this subdued interlude. I found it necessary to come up with something that offers a perspective for the characters to pick up the pieces from the previous events and be able to move on.

With that being said, I'll return to more dramatic content for the next one, I promise.

Oh, and it has come to my attention that this is my 10th story and coincides with the 10th OOC entry. I guess one could say that is some sort of milestone, especially when considering that all of the characters have had their big moments now. It almost feels like the conclusion of a season in a TV series where the last episode usually ends with some dramatic event, and the viewer is left wondering what will happen after that. Well, at least I can tell you that is how I felt. I genuinely did wonder what would happen next.

By now I know.

7 Jan 2012

OOC Entry 9 - Welcome in YC114

Hello and welcome in the new year.

Since I have not added any new stories, I thought I'd write something so people don't think I have neglected the blog. While I have certainly not done so, I am in a bit of a tight spot. I have sort-of narrated myself into a corner with the last story. The whole thing ended in such a dramatic way that I am now not really sure what is supposed to happen next? How will Cedrien deal with his grief? Will Alira feel guilty for her actions? Did Sandrielle get heavily injured by flying shrapnel as well? Questions, questions. An idea has formed in my mind, but it has not yet crystallized into a story, but it is going to come ... soon.

In the meantime, if you like to read EVE related fiction, I can recommend you to have a look at this story by a corp-mate of mine. It is a very nice and immersive story about the becoming of a capsuleer. It takes a few liberties with the EVE background canon, so be prepared for that. It is certainly worth reading.

And the Sleepers keep waking up.