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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Warning: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.
15 Jul 2014
The Chain of Being - Part 2
Despite the fact that Arek'Jalaan officially hosted the “groundbreaking” presentation of Hegomir Torstan, Eifyr & Co corporate security had provided the venue and they kept a tight ship. Everyone who was not a member of the corporation was required to wear an implant blocker to prevent recordings. Even neocoms and similar devices were taken away from non-affiliated visitors. Adrain even suspected that several of the people dressed in security uniforms were actually Republic Intelligence.
His instincts, developed throughout years in the service, enabled him to notice the telling signs. The forced casual behaviour. The furtive glances and subtle signals exchanged between agents working as a team. That effort to inconspicuously follow and watch their chosen targets, himself clearly one of them.
The small number of attendants who were not Minmatar each had one of those intelligence operatives shadow them throughout the conference. Adrain pondered the merit of such surveillance. He was not formally trained as a scientist or engineer, but even with his limited knowledge about the presented material, it seemed remarkably thin to him. Despite the subject of possible advances of Sleeper reverse-engineering, Torstan's presentation came across as more of a sales pitch than an actual scientific lecture.
When Torstan concluded, followed by applause that seemed way to enthusiastic, Adrain re-evaluated his options for losing his tail. He acted his best to look like he was hanging on Torstan's every word during the Q&A session, but in the meantime he expanded his senses to gauge the reactions of people he suspected to be agents.
The net was tight.
Grudgingly Adrain had to settle for the fact that he would not be able to make his move just yet. He made an effort to not let his annoyance show when he left the auditorium and stepped out into the red light of Eram's sun and the crowd of reporters who descended on the scientific and corporate representatives who walked out of the Eifyr&Co building.
'This is Aishe Guldar for Eram System News.' a stunning young Krusual woman blocked his path. She wore a recording visor and her black hair was braided along the crown of her skull.
'Girome de Roue of Duvolle Laboratories has just emerged from the building and is willing to answer a few questions on Gallente interests.' she opened and beamed a disarming smile at Adrain when she confronted him with his cover identity in a way that was clearly meant for him to be caught off-guard.
Had he truly been a Duvolle corporate official who wanted to keep a low profile, he would indeed be uncomfortable with being recorded on a live newscast. The Gallente agent acted as if that were the case while sizing up the young reporter.
Adrain inhaled through his nose. 'Tailored pheromones, how cute.' he noticed. Either the local news-channel spent a lot on biomodifications for their reporters or this was a honeytrap. If it was, they obviously had not figured him out completely or they would know his preferences. He smiled back at the admittedly well chosen female and for a moment he was honestly endeared with her for trying hard to appear desirable. He used that feeling to make his smile appear genuine.
Adrain knew most Republic Intelligence operatives from the records of his own agency. He had taken the effort to thoroughly familiarize himself with each and every one of them before departure. If that girl was not who she pretended to be, then she would most likely be a junior corporate counter-intelligence agent who had gotten a chance to score a big one with this assignment. Adrain decided to take the bait. If his hunch were to be correct, this could be a way to get closer to Torstan and the actual knowledge the Sebiestor engineer possessed.
'Indeed, how may I be of service?' he asked and very obviously let his eyes travel along the girl's curves for effect. She had dressed in a form-fitting ensemble that would work wonders on someone who actually cared about breasts and hips like hers.
Adrain made sure that he appeared to care.
'A Duvolle representative coming all this way to listen to a presentation by an Eifyr&Co scientist? What is the story behind that?' The young woman asked aggressively.
'Well …' Adrain replied. 'You are the reporter so I leave the storytelling up to you.' he intentionally looked at her cleavage more than her face. It would help to make her think she had the intended effect.
'Come on now.' she kept pushing. 'Someone working for a shrewd woman like Jinneth Duvolle must have an agenda.'
Adrain had to admit that she got the part about working for a shrewd woman right. Only in his case it wasn't Jinneth Duvolle.
'Guilty as charged.' he replied and played the role of the boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Looking around and then back at her décolleté before he met her eyes again he cocked his head slightly and softened his voice. 'My corporation has not authorized me to make public statements, but …' he paused for effect and smiled suggestively. 'I would agree with continuing this conversation in a more ... private place.'
Adrain checked his wrist-neocom. He had enough time to do what he needed to and get away before the girl would wake up. The sedative he produced from his sweat-glands would easily keep her under for another hour or two. He had initially been skeptical of the biomods provided by Poteque, but he had to admit they were effective and had the additional advantage of not registering on the usual augmentation scanners.
Strategically he had ordered a bottle of “Sun Blood” a very potent local drink known for its aphrodisiac properties as well as its devastating hangovers. Of course they never drank all of it and he had poured half of the strong liquor down the toilet drain, but when the girl did wake up and find the empty bottle she would chalk up her groggy state and fuzzy memory to the beverage's aftereffects.
It was as Adrain had suspected. After going through her purse he linked up the girl's necom to his own portable device. He was soon able to break the encryption on her system and identify her as a member of Eifyr&Co corporate intelligence. Her clearance was low but enough to serve his purposes. Using his own neocom's data pattern extractor he transferred her security key onto his own identity profile and modify it accordingly to fit him.
Adrain did not want for her to return empty handed, that would be too suspicious and attract further attention, so he fed some data into her storage to make it appear as she had lifted interesting information from him. It was all fake material about his assumed identity and largely inconsequential internal information about Duvolle Laboratories which he retrieved from Federal Intelligence databanks. That should be enough for her to report a success to her superiors, maybe get a small pat on the back for a job well done. Case closed, no reason to pursue any further.
Adrain liked tying up loose ends.
Before this was over there would be many more for him to take care of.
Miranjee suppressed the urge to yawn. She was tired but her sense of duty prevented her from showing it. Despite her drowsiness she was dedicated to her task keeping watch at the sensor station during the late shift. The capsuleers of Awakened Industries had provided for them better than most pod-pilot commanders would. Never since she left her tribal homeland had she experienced such true dedication to a community. Now it came down to her and all the remaining personnel to rebuild as much as they can until the capsuleer contingent would return home from their dangerous mission. Reports indicated that it had been successful, but many ships had been lost together with their crews. Regrouping and finding a way back to Anoikis would take time.
When the directional scanner readout flared and the proximity alarm sounded, Miranjee came to full attention in an instant. She called up the scan analytics and her eyes widened. What appeared on the display was a full fleet of combat ships, and their transmission beacons marked them as …
Miranjee uttered a string of Matari curses just before the communications console lit up with a hailing signal. She got up from her chair at the surveillance station and looked out of the window into space. Ship after ship appeared out of warp beyond the starbase shield. Miranjee hit the receiver almost absent-mindedly as she looked at the red-splattered Amarr vessels which assembled into formation out there.
With the hailing frequency open, the communication system came to life and transmitted a cold voice accustomed to command. 'Members of Awakened Industries. This is Deacon Commander Dam-Tharel of the Blood Raider Covenant. We are here to make you an offer.'
Miranjee activated the station's battle alarm.