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.
13 Jul 2014
The Chain of Being - Part 3
Ffeifra was surprised how exhilarated she felt about the return of Hegomir Torstan to active duty.
A light bounce was in her step as she walked down the flight of stairs and the corridor which lead to the Savant's personal laboratory on the Eram University campus and she felt butterflies in her stomach. It wasn't any form of physical attraction she felt for the man. Having worked for Torstan as personal assistant over the course of six years, she was quite certain that she didn't have any feelings for him in that way. Neither had the exceptional engineer himself made any advances towards her, quite unlike the Eifyr&Co executive she had served before. A terrible, lecherous old man who would leer at her suggestively whenever he had her make arrangements for pleasure girls to visit him and other corporate dignitaries in their private quarters.
Hegomir Torstan could be arrogant, unsympathetic and rude, but he never touched her or even as much as looked at her ambiguously. He always behaved strictly professional and in his own special way he treated Ffeifra with respect. Still a bachelor, despite his age and fame, he had of course attracted rumours that his tastes lay elsewhere, but Ffeifra knew him better than to assume such things. She was quite sure that Torstan was largely incapable of intimacy and would rather spend his time with complex field equations or the design of a propulsion system than indulging in romantic pursuits. He would probably consider that a waste of his capacities, Ffeifra mused, and she had to smile as she reached the door to Savant Torstan's laboratory.
The Krusual woman was so preoccupied with how unexpectedly happy she was to have Torstan back and the opportunity to resume her work for him that she didn't even notice the missing security guard who should have been posted outside the lab. When the heavy blast door slid open she settled into the realization that, in a really subtle way which she could not even fully understand herself, she loved that ingenious but socially inept old man.
Then, as she took her first step into the laboratory, her internal reflections were shattered when she saw the security guard. He lay on the ground and the angle at which his neck was bent looked disturbingly unnatural. She wanted to put her satchel with the neocom and other equipment on the ground and check on the man, but before she could do so, something hit her just above the sacrum and a jolt went through her body. It did not hurt. In fact, her mind reeled at the sudden realisation that she did not feel a thing at all from her waist down and within moments her legs collapsed beneath her uselessly. While the door slid shut behind her, a quick sequence of further blows uncannily paralysed her upper body as well and she fell against the heavy barrier that shut the room from the outside.
At that moment Ffeifra cursed Hegomir Torstan for insisting that no surveillance should be installed in his private laboratory because he wanted to conduct his work without prying eyes.
'Say that again?!' Cedrien's voice sounded just as surprised as the expression on his face looked.
'You heard it right commander' the holographic projection of Sitalaerd confirmed. 'It's Blood Raiders, a whole fleet of them. They are floating in space outside our shields.'
'Are the Sleeper Drones still there?' Sitting across the table from Cedrien in the rented office they all occupied, Shisei looked on with a furrowed brow
'Yes, some of them.' Sitalaerd nodded 'The majority have dispersed but a few are circling around the Blood Raider ships doing nothing.' The projected image of the aged Gallente man flickered momentarily and his voice distorted. Clearly the Intaki Syndicate did not reserve the best fluid-routers for people just passing through to use anonymous short-stay uplinks.
Sylera stared blankly into the starscape of Poitot that was visible through the wall-size window. 'They will not attack unless fired upon.' Alira, who sat next to her, confirmed that with a nod. The bond both women had shared with the collective consciousness of those enigmatic machines was enough for Cedrien to trust their appraisal of the situation.
'Imud Sefrim' Keram cursed in Amarrian. 'Sani Sabik, the only people with a more fucked up religion than the Empire itself.'
'What is it that attracts all those religious fanatics to us?' Cedrien wondered with a sigh.
Whether it was intended as a rhetorical question or not, Sitalaerd answered. 'Commander, they want to negotiate with us about a material called Isogen-5. I have never heard of it sir.'
'I have.' Shisei said slowly. 'The scientists of Arek'Jalaan were very interested in it and are convinced that it had a central role in the Seyllin Incident.'
When the others around the table looked at him expectantly, he elaborated. 'A disaster which occurred before the first wormholes to Anoikis were discovered. The researchers of Arek'Jalaan are convinced that Isogen-5 was the source of a powerful shockwave which caused those tunnels in the space-time fabric. Furthermore ...'
Cedrien's raised hand interrupted him.
'You just mentioned Arek'Jalaan.' The Gallente capsuleer tilted his head. 'Sandrielle is on her way back to us from Eram where she dropped off Torstan.' he pressed his lips together. 'She's got to turn around and ask Torstan to get us in contact with those Arek'Jalaan people.'
Cedrien returned his attention to the projection of his trusted lieutenant. 'Sitaelaerd. Do what you can to stall them. Tell them we are bringing an expert on the subject to negotiate for mutual benefit.'
The old Gallente nodded in response.
'In the meantime all of us need to get to work and find ourselves a route in.' Cedrien addressed his assembled capsuleers. 'Vacation is over.'
The man who pulled up a chair and sat down across from Ffeifra wore the uniform of technical maintenance staff, but he clearly wasn't Matari. He looked more like a Gallente to her with his soft comely features and dark eyes. The expression on his face was strangely sad as he leaned forward and sighed before speaking.
'You will die here today' he stated with a voice that sounded surprisingly emphatic despite that ultimate declaration. 'You will, however, have a choice to save many lives, innocent lives, if you help me.'
Ffeifra, still unable to feel or move anything but her hands that he had bound behind her back, stared at him defiantly and said nothing. Still, his words shook her to the core with the quiet inevitability he conveyed.
'There is a reactor powering this laboratory as you probably know.' the man continued with his soft voice. Ffeifra wondered why his face looked vaguely familiar.
'Currently this reactor is approaching a critical condition which will cause a massive explosion.' he took something from a pocket of his utility jacket. 'Nobody can stop this from happening.' he continued. '… but you, you can influence when it happens.'
He held up the object from his pocket. It looked like a short tube with a single button on top . 'This trigger will cause an acceleration of the reaction which will result in the explosion happening within thirty seconds after you press the button.'
Ffeifra's eyes widened and her breathing accelerated. Quickly she tried to get a hold of herself. She did not want him to notice the fear that took hold of her.
'It is still very early and there are few people in this building, but soon a large group of schoolchildren will arrive to visit the university where the famous Hegomir Torstan works. If not triggered earlier, the explosion will occur when they are well inside the building.'
The man shook his head. 'But I don't want those children to die and I am sure you don't want that either. So if you help me I will give you this' He held up the device. '… and you can sacrifice yourself and a few others to save dozens of young people who have their whole lives ahead of them.' he into Ffeifra's eyes directly, imploringly even. 'Will you help me?'
'What do you want?' Ffeifra hissed at him through clenched teeth and strained to get some sort of control over her body to no avail.
'Hegomir Torstan's private residence is a well kept secret. I want you to tell me where it is … and the access codes to the place.' The man demanded.
Ffeifra felt the chill caused by the thought of her impending death creeping up her spine but it was soon followed by a wave of intense heat caused by intense hate against that Gallente with his false empathy and the cynical choice he offered her. If she was to die here today, maybe she could take that man with her. In the end she nodded. 'I will help you.' she said with grim determination.
He got up slowly, walked around Ffeifra and closed her fingers around the small tube, then he returned to his seat and looked at her again expectantly.
'Get fucked by a slaver dog' Ffeifra spat at him and pushed the button.
The man shook his head. 'It is not armed yet, of course. The location and the access code.' he paused and locked gaze again with Ffeifra. 'Please.' he added softly.
Adrain walked across the central plaza of Eram University campus. A group of anti-gravity passenger vehicles touched down at the far end of the large open expanse. Children poured out, attended by their teachers. The adults did their best to contain the overly enthusiastic gaggle of minors when the explosion occurred.
Adrain was thrown to the ground by the shockwave just as everyone else in the vicinity of the blast that tore up the lab complex. He got up and walked away calmly without looking back while the campus behind him erupted in a cacophony of alarms and panicked screaming.
He knew his destination and nodded to himself introspectively. 'Minmatar. They will always make a sacrifice for their people.'