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

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

28 Jun 2013

21 - Re-Awakening - Part 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Caldari.

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

'Madame Jaunes?' The Caldari jostled her again.

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

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

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

Who was it again who wanted her? 

There had been so many.

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

The faceless men! 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. And I thought Keram is Alira's soulmate. Looks like I was wrong. :-)

    Will there be more on the Faceless Men? Who/what they are and so?

    And I forgot to ask the last time... So is Tomoe unofficially affiliated to AI now?

    Keep up the good work anyway! ;-)

  2. Questions questions :)

    Keram and Alira enjoy having sex with eachother and they like eachother well enough, but it's a different thing if you have just shared someone's consciousness on such a profound level. It's a new angle I want to develop for those two very antagonistic characters (you may remember from earlier stories how Alira really hated the Amarr girl)

    The Faceless Men are the capsuleers and crews of The Hive. They have been mentioned before and they sure will be a centerpiece of this and probably the following story.

    Neither Tomoe nor Kassina are officially part of the crew. Tomoe had nothing left, so she pledged herself to the other woman because she had saved her from the Amarrians (The reasons for that, I tried to explain during my "Reflections on Caldari Culture" and the thoughts of Kassina on the matter during the respective episode itself). I have some ideas about what I will do with those two in the future, but I don't want to spoil it.

    As for the continuation, I have no plan to stop anytime soon, and the next chapter is more or less formed in my mind already.

    Thanks for the questions and the encouragement :)

  3. Looks like I'll have to re-read the story sometime... I can't remember about the relation of the two woman, nor The Hive. And I was proud of my good memory for books/films/other stories (except names). :-/

    For me, as long as Kassina work for AI, even just as bounty hunters on contract, they are affiliated with them at least for that time. While the use of the word "affiliated" is not the best one, it was during that 5 seconds while I was thinking about the sentence. :-)

    1. There's the first-person account of Tomoe where she talks with Kassina after being rescued/captured by her - That's in the 4th part of Engineering Peace.

      Sandrielle talks about being captured as a child by The Hive in the opening scene of Jihad, and there are some passing references to them in one or two other stories.