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.

7 Dec 2012

Engineering Peace - Part 8

Kassina Vikkonen allowed herself a moment of satisfaction when she appeared on the other end of the interstellar tunnel that had brought her from the border regions of the Intaki Syndicate into the uncharted star-cluster called Anoikis.

Most pilots of New Eden would not dare to venture here, but the Caldari Bounty Hunter had a mission to accomplish, and she was determined to see it to it's end. Annoyingly enough, her attempts to contact her contractors had been fruitless. She had hoped for Awakened Industries to provide her with an entry point into the remote galactic domain which most people referred to as Wormhole Space. Whether it was the remote location, unexpected interference or simple ignorance, Kassina did not know, but Awakened Industries had not replied.

The Deteis woman was not the type to wait around idly, though. After all, she could already be on her way to seek out a new contract. So she had docked her ship in Poitot – the most civilized system in the anarchic Syndicate region – and reconfigured her modular Tengu-class ship to be suited for covert exploration.

It had taken her hours upon hours of roaming, scanning and probing until she finally found one of the elusive wormholes that would lead her across the gulfs of space that separated New Eden from Anoikis. The longer the search went, the more irate she had become, but that same irritation had driven her onward. Now that she finally found what she had been looking for, the tenseness flowed from her muscles and her strong body settled in the warm fluid of the capsule she occupied.

Of course, having found a wormhole did not mean the end of her trip, it merely meant that the easiest part was behind her. From here she would have to find a way to her actual destination in this trackless sector of the galaxy. Kassina Vikkonen was no expert on the matter – actually, she knew very little about Wormhole Space – and in her naive ignorance she counted on the existence of fixed routes, even if she knew that she would have to find the stellar gateways to them herself.

She had heard that the star-systems of Anoikis were largely unoccupied, and indeed, at first her ship's sensors showed nothing within ten astronomical units. She began to align her ship to the feeble red star orbiting a black hole which relentlessly devoured it's matter, sitting in the centre of this forsaken place like a bloated spider within her web. Suddenly the long-range sensors of her ship pricked Kassina's awareness. The gravimetric detectors showed the approach of a large mass at high speed. The Caldari woman re-attuned her senses to the scanning systems.

Inside the capsule she gasped soundlessly. The directional scanner identified three massive carriers accompanied by a squadron of Gallente-designed strategic cruisers. Quickly she wrenched her ship out of their approach-vector, engaged her microwarpdrive and then, with a quick thought, activated the cloaking field of her newly reconfigured cruiser.

As she vanished from sight and sensor sweeps alike, the flotilla appeared out of warp right at the wormhole exit. Immediately one of the immense, pontoon shaped carriers thrust it's two-pronged bow through the cosmic aperture and made it convulse fiercely under the strain of passing mass. With a flash of agitated particles, the vessel vanished in the cosmic passage to reappear scores of light-years away. While Kassina looked on, the second carrier followed it and, to her astonishment, the wormhole entrance contracted in size.

Without knowing the actual significance of this maneuver, Kassina Vikkonen realized one thing: Her way back was cut off. Now there was only one way out of here: Forward. She willed her ship to warp speed, away from those ships, out of range from their sensors, to find a safe location from which she could launch scanner probes unnoticed.

Her plan had been to find a way deeper into Anoikis. Now that plan had just become a necessity.

Kassina Vikkonen did not mind that. After all, she was not the type to sit around idly.


'We will have this random entrance collapsed within a few minutes.' the commander of Arclight's carrier wing reported to his superiour.

'Very good.' From inside his capsule, Arrakh transmitted his thoughts across the internal combat channel and the communication systems turned them into a simulation of his voice. 'We don't want any interlopers here.' His mind switched between the frequencies of different squadrons to address the scouts. 'Recon leader, report.' he ordered briskly.

'This is recon leader.' came the immediate reply from the forward reconnaissance team which had been sent through an exit to explore the next system. The voice of the other pilot sounded positively agitated. 'Commander Arrakh, we have finally found them. Starcharts confirm it's the system occupied by Awakened Industries.' That was news the Matari fleet commander had hoped to hear for more than a day now. 'We are in scan range of one of the stations. There is a large concentration of ships. Looks like a siege.' the scout reported further.

'Commander. We are registering scanner probes in the local system and they are not ours.' a spotter from another squadron, still remaining with the main body, reported.

'Recon leader. Were you discovered?' Arrakh inquired.

'Negative.' Came the response. 'We have just found this wormhole, nobody looks to be scanning here. No way they could know we are coming.'

'Commander, before we landed we registered the signature of a Tengu-class cruiser at the entrance coming in from New Eden.' an escort pilot of the carrier wing reported.

Inside his pod Arrakh nodded almost unnoticeable. 'Probably a daytripping explorer. Else we would have seen more out there when we jumped the carriers through.' If his motor functions would not have been largely rendered inert by the capsule control interface, Arrakh would have shrugged. 'Let them watch the show, once we are through here, they can see whether they find a way home.' the voice synthesizer translated his feeling of mirth into the simulation of a throaty chuckle.

Switching to broadwave Arrakh transmitted to the whole fleet. 'Arclight commanders, prepare for engagement. Stand by for the signal from carrier wing that the exit to New Eden space is collapsed. That's your signal to warp. Assemble at the transmitted coordinates.'

Before his sentence was even finished, he had already sent the location of the wormhole exit to the besieged system of Awakened Industries to all commanders.

'Thirty hours of collapsing wormholes. My crews are exhausted and my pilots are becoming impatient. But here you are Cedrien, with your back against the wall.' Arrakh though to himself as he accelerated his ship into warp-speed. 'But we are coming.'

Despite the overriding functions of the control systems, Arrakh's mouth quirked into the echo of a satisfied smile.


When Cedrien's consciousness expanded into the ship, he was momentarily lost in the sensation of his body being replaced by the vastness of the Thanatos-class carrier he had plugged himself into. He could feel the swarm of fighter craft inside his hangar. An angry brood of lethal war-machines waiting to be unleashed against the enemy. For all the power of his ship's propulsion engines, the metallic-green carrier only turned slowly under his command to face the opposing fleet waiting for them outside the battered station's shields.

Cedrien's mind translated the impressions delivered to it by advanced sensors as he surveyed the scenery. None of the main tower's defenses remained intact. The whole station was dedicated to one purpose only: Reinforcing the shields with so much power that even the most powerful weapons were unable to penetrate them. That defensive measure would not remain in effect indefinitely, though. Even now the shield generators consumed radioactive isotopes at an unsustainable rate. Inevitably, the moment would come when the generators would shut down and leave the station exposed to the final assault of the besieging force.

Cedrien had decided that he would not wait for that moment, but to choose the time to make the last stand himself.

Apart from him, there were only three capsuleer pilots on his side. The rest of his defense force had suffered heavy losses during the initial attack while the enemy still had most of his full strength on the field. Only a miracle could save them right now, and Cedrien had long stopped believing in those.

The residual echo of a heave went through Cedrien's floating body at his impulse to sigh deeply. Without dwelling any longer on thoughts that lead nowhere he opened a broad-band frequency to address what remained of his fleet.
'Pilots and crews of Awakened Industries.' his voice began to issue from speaker systems and transmitted through neural links on the assembled ships. 'Together, we have built a home for ourselves beyond the stars of New Eden. A place where everyone regardless of race, affiliation or creed would be welcome for as long as they were dedicated to one thing: The community which we have built.' He paused momentarily as the results from his ship's pre-flight checks poured in. 'Today, an enemy has appeared in this home of ours with the goal to destroy that community.' he resumed his speech. 'That enemy would have us stand down and disband. To be dragged off into the prisons, slave camps and torture chambers of the Empires we have left behind to begin anew out here among the stars of Anoikis. We have one last choice to make here today.' For a moment Cedrien paused, doubting for a moment whether he should really take his crews into that battle they can not win. Then, he struck the doubts from his mind and continued with new resolve 'Today we can choose to be stripped of our home, our livelihood, our dignity and our freedom. Or we can choose to preserve the last two. Today I ask of you to choose – as I do – to stand and fight for the one thing that has made our community what it is, our freedom. To give that community the chance to flower again from the seed of the destruction this day will bring'

Then, he cut the transmission and fired up his engines to head for the shields. He could see the enemy ships reposition themselves into a wide attack formation. They would target him first and foremost, and the carriers they had brought were more than enough to support the opposing fleet against any damage Awakened Industry's forces could possibly do. But Cedrien knew that they would only need to tie the enemy up in the fight long enough for the evacuation convoy to escape and find their way out of the system. If necessary after days of hiding, when the Janissary fleet had long gone.

Cedrien felt how the station shield rippled across the bow of his ship as he crossed it's boundary. He felt the prickling sensation as enemy targeting sensors began to lock on to him. He signaled Shisei to take his wing of electronic attack ships and block the sensors of the enemy carriers and their devastating Bhaalgorn escorts. Already Keram and Sandrielle were among the aggressors. Cedrien could see the nanite streams of armour repair systems linking their heavily reinforced strategic cruisers as they streaked ahead, breaking through the Janissary formation, drawing fire.

The first energy beams and blaster charges from the enemy strategic cruisers began to batter down the shields of the Thanatos carrier. So far the squadron of Awakened Industry jammer ships under their Achura commander flying a Tengu cruiser retrofitted for electronic warfare had prevented the Bhaalgorns to target Cedrien and drain his energy reserves. Cedrien issued the command for his fighter wings to launch, and soon space became a chaos of dogfights between friendly and hostile forces. The Gallente commander did his best to keep as many ships intact for as long as he could, sending bundled streams of repair nanites to knit the composite metal of their armor back together.

When the onslaught of enemy fire became too much, he issued the final order which would commit him and the hundreds of people on his ship to this fight until the bitter end. With a mental command he re-routed all power to the ship's defenses and repair systems. His carrier would be unable to move until the cycle of reconfigurations was completed. He did not expect to have that much time.

When Shisei lost his ship under concentrated fire, and one of the Bhaalgorn battleships began to send arcs of neutralizing energy streams into his hull, Cedrien knew that the end was near, but the enemy was just as committed as he was.

No comments:

Post a Comment