This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

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

27 Jul 2012

A Pirate in Distress - Part 1

'There are only three types of women who come to a place like this alone.' Keram began to lecture, his voice slightly slurring under the influence of the smooth amber liquor he drank. The bottle on the small metal table was already half empty. Alira, who shared it with him, was still nursing her first glass.

'The stupid.' his drink swirled, dangerously close to spilling, as he waved in the general direction of a provocatively dressed blond Civire girl at the bar of this crowded establishment.

She pushed out her chest and presented her abundant cleavage to a square-jawed and broad-shouldered Deteis man with spiky platinum hair. His equally bulky Brutor friend ground his leather-clad pelvis into her backside unashamedly, moving to the rhythm of the thumping powerful beat that filled the taproom. The two hunks exchanged significant glances.

Alira narrowed her eyes and smirked with disgust 'They will probably have their way with her tonight and then ransom her to her family.' The girl's clothes only superficially looked like those of a cheap tramp. They were too clean and too obviously expensive for the part she played. Bored and naive rich daughters often suffered from romantic delusions about rogue capsuleers like those two men. Alira wasn't sure whether she should pity the immature girl or concede that the young Caldari deserved the hard lesson she was about to learn.

'The professional.' Keram barely managed to not drop his glass as he pointed a finger with the same hand that was holding it.

The lush and exotic looking Intaki girl he indicated wore a clinging black nothing of a dress that consisted of more holes than fabric. She weaved sensually through the crowd of hungry men with a sexual confidence that almost scared Alira, even aroused her slightly in a strange and unfamiliar way. In this dank establishment with it's industrial, angular design the Intaki, by contrast, looked like a work of art from an upscale Gallente gallery. All curves and smooth beauty.

'… aaand, the dangerous.' Keram finally said, thrust his glass in the general direction of a booth at the back of the dimly lit place, and put it to his narrow lips, taking a big gulp.

There, alone and half in darkness, sat one who surveyed the scenery before her with gleaming eyes of pale ice. Her strong-boned face, blond hair and powerful frame marked her as Deteis. She looked like she would outweigh and easily overpower many a man. The mismatched suit of combat armor she had chosen as her evening-wear did not make her look any less intimidating.

'You,' Keram pointed at the Matari engineer who sat across from him in their small booth. '... are neither of those, so that's why I could not let you come here alone.'

Alira scoffed at him 'Don't be ridiculous, I can fight and use a gun.'

'Look. Out there...' Keram flung his free hand at a panorama window that just lit up with an explosion '… wired into your ship and with all your toys just a thought away from activation, you may be as hot as freshly mined technetium.' Cheers erupted from the gathered crowd as CONCORD response ships warped in and methodically annihilated the destroyer that had just blown apart a cargo ship.

'But in here …' Keram paused to grab the black labeled bottle and top up his drink '.. in here you are just an engineer girl.' He leaned forward to elaborate. 'I know most of these guys from reputation if not from actions I witnessed.' He jerked his chin at the Deteis woman with the cold stare 'The women too.' He displayed his signature wolfish grin 'Even had myself a few of the stupid ones.'

Alira looked at him with tired annoyance. 'Yeah sure. And because you are such a people person I had to smuggle you into this no-go area in a shielded cargo crate.' she quipped dryly.

Due to his past of crime and piracy Keram could actually not fly a ship into patrolled high-security space without immediate reprisal by navies and CONCORD alike. Alira had taken him along on her own ship and used her whole repertoire of technological trickery to get him through station customs unnoticed.

'Hypocrites!' Keram spat. 'The empires fight wars in which millions die, and a guy who follows a simple trade gets shot on sight for having killed a few score throughout his career.' He up-ended his glass and put it down. 'Most of the industry and mining types we just demanded ransom from. When we killed, it was usually someone who asked for it.'

Again he gestured at the wide floor-to-ceiling window. Outside salvagers had descended onto the wrecks and pulled them apart for valuables, like metallic carrion birds. 'At least we never suicided ships in high-security space just for fun, like those psychopaths out there.'

A small pot bellied Jin-Mei man with a gleaming bald head and garish clothes, waddled past the booths recessed into the grimy metallic walls of the dark cantina, and briskly took notes on a portable neocom after cryptic hand-signs from patrons. Keram just growled at him when he passed by theirs.

'Or bet on the outcomes.' The Amarr capsuleer added. 'Where's the money in that?' he asked rhetorically and shook his long auburn mane. He took another drink and put a finger to the tip of his long aquiline nose before waving it pretentiously at Alira.

'You know, if you want to make it as a pirate, a real pirate ...'

Alira zoned out and allowed Keram's words to be swallowed by the heavy riffs blasting from the sound system. She closed her eyes, leaned back, and slowly sighed while Keram lectured on.

Of all the people it had to be Keram she was required to share this assignment with. Of all the possible places it had to be here. One of the seediest capsuleer bars on one of the most dangerous levels of the worst station in all of Empire Space: Jita 4-4.

If one were to look at a map of New Eden, Jita would just be a high security system conveniently located in the industrial centre of The Forge – the Caldari State's most productive region.

A look at interstellar market data would soon show that the Cadari Navy Assembly Plant orbiting the fourth planet's fourth moon was a major trade hub. Each day, goods amounting to the value of whole planetary economies were exchanged on it's countless trading floors, produced in it's numerous robotic assembly yards, and moved through it's massive docking bays.

Where there was fortune to be made, there were capsuleers, and where there were capsuleers there was trouble. Especially with the types that frequented Empire Space. Thus Jita 4-4 had turned into a meeting-point for some of the pod pilot community's worst elements.

Alira hated the crowded space-lanes in the densely settled central regions of New Eden. Her heart longed for the untracked depths of space where she had roamed with the Thukker Tribe, or – more recently – the faraway mysteries of the Anoikis cluster.

The capsuleers of high-security space were different. Most were benign but dull. Trading, producing and moving goods. Alira had never quite understood why one needed to take the plugs for that, and risk becoming a catatonic vegetable if the procedure went wrong, or one was not fully suited for it.

Others flew in the service of corporations and governments, doing their dirty work like glorified errand runners. Finally there was the kind who did the suicide runs and killed just for the sheer reckless fun of it. They congregated at busy spaceports like this one, or at mining sites, and sought to kill as big a ship as they could, with as little effort as possible.

It was a mass-murdering sport for them. A competition where different pilots tried to outdo each other in recklessness and kill records. People even bet on their success or failure, and some even gained a certain celebrity status within particularly sociopathic circles.

With no crew, and their ships loaded with as many offensive systems as they were able to fit, they would only have a chance for a few salvos before CONCORD would destroy their ship and send them back to their clone, after which they came back for the next round. Eventually they would get so many negative hits on their security record that they had to leave patrolled space. Most flew out to the lawless border regions and fought against pirate fleets for bounties to replace their ships, and to cheat the security registry.

CONCORD commanders – despite the vast databases they had access to – would usually let capsuleers pass who could present a record of “making lawless space more safe”. The empire navies followed CONCORD's cue, and soon the homicidal maniacs were back to their old destructive hobby.

Alira had to agree with Keram. It was a staggeringly stupid activity, apart from being criminally insane. Capsuleers who engaged in it must have suffered brain damage when they got their plugs, she concluded.

The Sebiestor's eyes opened when yet another explosion bathed the metallic gray of the bar's interiour in harsh light. She noticed that Keram had interrupted his rambling about what it took to be a real pirate, and supported himself with one hand on the table of brushed steel while he clumsily maneuvered himself out of the booth.

'Keep an eye out for our contact while I take a piss.' he hollered over the din of the music before he left for the stairs to the restrooms.

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