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Vivification

I never thought of myself as crazy. However it’s been said, by many reputable scholars mind you, that crazy people never know they’re crazy. Somehow self-awareness keeps one out of the loony bin and maybe that’s where I went wrong. I had always preferred the terms ‘edgy’ or ‘high strung’ as opposed ‘insane’ – it just had too negative a connotation attached. Then again, I might be crazy only because They tell me I’m crazy…no. We all know that’s not true. I can readily remember the first time I felt it. It crept up my spine, down from my brain and back up to the edges of my eyes, bleeding in like the cloudy ink of a sea squid roaming the wine-dark oceans of Intaki. Ever since she died…

It was not a scary feeling so much as it was one of power. With it came a sense of strength, perhaps lust even, and wicked possibility. Maybe it was my youth, or some other demon inside, that made me think I could control it and bend it to my own will…there’s no telling. The idea seemed romantic at the time, yes romantic; a cold, composed and wry deviant on the outside while a fearsome beast waiting to be released on the inside. But that’s where I went wrong. I couldn’t control it. Only the drugs could. Blue Pills, Soothsayers, Crash all sent me to a wistful and blissful place, free and floating. Alcohol helped too…and women. Yes, yes the women. Silly, stupid…if you’d been more observant you wouldn’t be…here.

A certain silver-haired and gorgeous Caldari once told me that drugs were for the weak…now maybe she’s right.


Long and tense fingers rapped on the steel armrest of a hovering patients-chair. The rhythm less tapping echoed about the small, cold room. These were the sorts of thoughts that occupied the mind of Hekaton Keirez. His stay at Cham-Sara had been a pleasant one. It involved little besides free and legal drugs, sitting, tasteless food, testing, and all the holoreels he could watch. His eyes glazed over, deep in hazy thought, half watching the newsreel before him. It was only a few weeks old, speaking of matters which contained little importance to him. His eyes began to dart back and forth, the only part of his body that was moving. He didn’t need to look at anything but the screen; he knew the cold white room he currently sat in like the back of his pale hands, the marks and lines on which he’d counted many times before to entertain himself in solitude. Had he looked around there would not have been much to see apart from the bright, white lights, a few assorted pieces of white furniture, the assistants and doctors roaming about their days in white robes, and the few other ‘patients’ mucking about in their black patients garb. Black and white. That was another quandary that had plagued him for some time.

Keirez had no interest in mirrors either. It wasn’t an abandonment of hygiene, of course, just this sickly lethargy that had crept in upon him slowly, its footsteps coinciding with every does of medication they gave him. Had he looked in the mirror he would scarcely recognize the face before him. His once vibrant, furious eyes had dimmed, bereft of their former livelihood. The face, once exuding the charm he’d used to wriggle out of countless jams, looked grayed and even sunken, shabby, unshaven, and grim. His long hair had gotten longer, keeping pace with the heavy bags that had spread under his eyes for the past six months. No, this was not the lively scoundrel some had known. This all changed shortly before the dissolution of his former company, the Vindication Angels, in one tragic evening that haunted him every day since.

All I can remember is black lights, the face of the bartender, and her…the one with the glorious rack. Why can’t I remember? Of course, ten doses of Crash should have killed me. I should be thanking my good brain for the memory loss. That’s what makes it easy to believe Them when they tell me what I had done. Maybe it’s the Gallentean in me that craves the action and entertainment. It felt so right to be there, to cut loose and be who I longed to be. If nothing else it had been a hell of a haul from Cartel space to the Sovicou system and I had earned a lap dance or two…and the three bottles of wine. Good Sovicou, the playground of the Federation and my home away from home. Probably the reason I was discharged from the Navy, too. In any case, I expected it to be an escape from my demons – not a jump drive into the heart of them.

Back his padded room, Keirez’s eyes remained fixed on the flickering holoscreen before him. Static. Lines. Now a new reel. Something more entertaining, he hoped. While in some circles it can be important or even hip to stay informed with the goings-on of Empire space, Keirez just wanted a good story and maybe a few explosions. Such was not the case. It was a documentary, a poorly made one, on some subspace creature near Ammatar space. Keirez didn’t care. Just as he was about to move on one of the huskier orderlies shoved him on the shoulders back into his chair.

“Time for you treatment, Keirez,” he said, squeezing the words through a tight smirk on his lips.

Keirez made a fake smile, “Why Nurse Chaz, I suddenly find myself curiously aroused…”

The orderly’s face turned solemn, “Shut up you worthless nutter.”

Keirez’s lips turned wry, “You certainly have a way with people.”

I seem to remember, quite naturally, the aftermath. Two days later I awoke face down on a metal slab, my waist was strapped to it. The cell was dark with two small lights above each corner of the doorway. I felt groggy. I remember wanting to go back to sleep, despite the wailing pain in my head, the ringing in my ears, and the cold metal against my face, when some clowns in Federation uniforms barged in. The next thing I recall is sitting with a cigarette in my mouth, still bound very securely for some reason, with the Gallentean goon reading me my rights. I kept my eyes shut; it was easier on my brain and I had no care to look at this brute while enjoying a smoke. His voice sounded like an Amarrian preacher gargling chunks of hot asphalt.

“…two counts of arson, public display of drunkenness, indecent exposure, public indecency…ten counts of assault, and two counts of manslaughter.”

My eyes opened slowly. He looked like a copper – dark skinned, square jawed and short haired. Might as well have been a Caldari by the look of him. But all of this…how could I have done all of this?

“Ever try Crash, Keirez? They say an overdose is something like falling asleep in the middle of space. It gets cold…very cold,” he spoke slowly and methodically, exacting every word, “But not you. You can imagine our surprise when we found you collapsed with 9 doses of the drug flowing through your bloodstream and a trail of chaos behind you. You must have very good insurance.”

“Bullshit,” was my reply. This pig was taking me for a ride and I’d have kept denying it had he not flipped on a monitor across the room.

I couldn’t understand it. No one likes a bit of violence more than me but this was stupendous. What I saw was a view from the security cameras of The Dancing Mendre club which had espied me, or at least a man who looked a great deal like me, raving, screaming, smashing bits of the bar, scaring the patrons and, ultimately, flipping a table over onto one of the dancers, crushing her beneath. Something snapped in me. The cigarette fell out of my mouth. How did it happen? More importantly how many times had it happened in the past, this reckless rage? I’d had…spells, you might say, in the past but…nothing like this. I sat there wishing I had just died then and come back a clone.


The ‘treatment’ they had spoken of before is something like being in the pod of a very small frigate. The patient is submerged in a small tub full of some kind of breathable petroleum jelly mix, plugged up to god knows how many machines…and then you dance for Them. Psychology and its pseudo counterparts had come a long way in the Federation. Keirez had read, in the past, about ancient psychological treatment involving something like a sofa, a notepad, and a listening ear. That would have been Heaven in a tall glass compared to this. Keirez would have put a bullet between the eyes of the doctor who invented this; long thin probes implanted into the major nerve centers, probing memories and body chemicals, looking for an explanation…and a cure. The doctor attending tapped his fingers on a display and with a whoosh and a splat the mixture was drained and Keirez dumped on the floor, gagging and flailing. Soon his naked body was rinsed down and he was dumped in his small, padded cell with a change of clothes.

He lay there for a while, just breathing, feeling too weak to do much else. With his last bit of strength he rolled on his side, coughed up more of the fluids, and fell asleep.

It took ten of them to stop me. I remember that familiar feeling and then convulsing uncontrollably right there in the interrogation room. Before I could get up and do anything they were on me. One of the bigger ones knocked me out and the rest threw me in a stasis-suit, designed to physically suspend perps so they couldn’t move. Two hours later I was staring into the eyes of the same Inspector. He opened up what looked like a palm-sized NeoCom and held it in front of my face.

“You didn’t let me get to the good stuff, Keirez.”

If I’d had any energy left I might’ve gotten upset at his tone.

“This is you, right?”

All I could make out on the screen was a picture of me, a very dashing picture I might say, imposed next the Angel Cartel insignia. My few low-sec crimes were inscribed underneath.

“Is that supposed to scare me? You know there are plenty more criminals out there with worse records and worse affiliations.”

“I haven’t gotten to the best part,” the snide inspector let the smoke billow out of his smiling mouth, “We might not be able to pin you just for using Crash but we checked into your hotel room. We found 20 cubic meters of the stuff along with a few other…choice items. And, since you’re clearly too unstable for our normal penal centers we’ll come up with something…better.”

The Federation and her bloody court system. As liberal as they were and as progressive as they want to be they’re just as corrupt as the worst criminal organizations in the farthest regions of Eve. A week later I was checked in to Cha-Sara Station; an orbital observation ward and hospital somewhere in Mannar space.


A few hours after the treatment and he was back in front of his holoreel display.

Hekaton Keirez was generally a well-spirited person. However he sat there, feeling numb, dejected, and all the other feelings a man can feel when most everything but hope is stripped from him. Somewhere inside he knew this would all pass. ‘It is always worst before the end’ or so his late father had said. There were no windows in this place – perhaps the most demoralizing piece of this sick puzzle – but he could still, in his minds eye, see the vast Black Ocean. It still called him, even in the midst of insanity and mind-altering chemicals he still heard it; his one true mistress. All the worse for his emotions, the newsreel in front of him shifted to a story on the ISGC Frigate Racing League and its current standings. He’d never taken part in the race but it was good money and even a bit of fun, or so he’d heard; one more piece to throw onto this stack of hate for Them and doubly so for his condition.

Or perhaps not. He’d always felt there was a way to control himself, control this feeling that seemed to grow worse each day. The treatment obviously did nothing to help but maybe in time…

He snapped out of this train of thought as the race rankings popped up on screen. Rho Dynamics was at the top; the dwindling corporation he’d been in contact with throughout his time in space. His interest sparked. However, the next image triggered something deep within Keirez, something that had lain dormant all these many months he’d spent locked up with no comfort, no company save his inner demons. It triggered all that hope and desire buried under hate and confusion, the wanderlust that so drove his life. The image was of a man and two women standing side by side in a winner’s circle of some space station near The Citadel. He somewhat recognized the first woman, the man he did not know, but the second woman, a Civire, silver-haired and gorgeous, made his eyes go wide. Not so much for the woman herself but all that she represented. The reporter’s voice trailed into his ears…

“…Jamieson, representing Dragonstar Racing, is in second place at 380 points and is tied with Rho Dynamics racer Nakatre Read…”

A wide smirk cracked his face - something that hadn’t happened in four months.

Why hello, Boss Lady…

Cleared for publication by: Ander

Birds of A Feather

“Come closer boys, closer...” The small group of people slid closer to the older man, eager to hear his story. “So you want to know about Deep Space pirates? I tell you they float out there in the dark, alone, in pairs, small groups...” The man's hands coming up in front of the group, startling them back a few inches, shocked smiles raising to their faces, the old man's hand trembling slightly with age, “waiting for a target to pass by... Indiscriminate killers I tells you!”
“Then with a roar of engines, and a targeting pulse they are on top of you, their guns hammering away without remorse.” At that moment a bang rang throughout the station, just another ship docking but to the crowd, growing still to hear the old man, it was like a gunshot. Startling everyone, looking around as if under attack. “Screaming for help to your friends does you no good, they just get your friends as well then. They are the pod-pilot scourge, I tells ya...”

Cleared for publication by: Ander
Continue reading "Birds of A Feather"

It Begins. Part 1.

A loving smile. Blink Large hands and cigarette smoke. Blink A big fluffy white dog barking. Blink Strange men pinning Large hands and cigarette smoke to the wall. Blink Loving smile Blink wailing. Blink Blink Blink Bli Bli Bi BBBBBBBB....

Darkness.

I've never woken in a vat before. Strange. My head is killing me. Owwww... Where am I, and while we are on the topic... Who am I? The liquid is draining.

"Xer? Xer, can you hear me?"

Xer. Thats me. Yeah, thats right. I am

"...Xer. Yeah, I am here. What happened?"

"Confusion is normal the first few moments. You will find your memories will come flooding back soon enough. It just takes a few moments for your neural pathways to reestablish themselves."

"Ah."

"So can we interest you in updating your clone? You were dangerously close to outgrowing this one."

"Sure."

"Right then. Sign here, here... Don't forget here. Oh, and here..."

"Hey Doc, is it... you know, normal to see crap right before having a clone activated?"

"I've encountered it a few times it post clone patients, but it isn't that common. Did you see your life flash before your eyes?"

The bastard is trying to cover a smile. Fucker. Laugh at me.

"No, I saw your scrawny ass twisted into a position that the contortionists of Jita would envy. How about we cut the crap and get this over with."

And I used to be such a nice guy.
***********************************************************************************************

Things haven't gone as planned since I left the Republic School a few months back. To the utter horror of my teachers, I took a job flying odd jobs for the Amarr Navy and even signing on with a Corp Loyal to the Amarr state. My Matari forefathers rolled over in their graves I imagine.

After a few weeks doing odd mining protection jobs as a lookout for my new corp and moonlighting as an Amarr loyal assassin of my people and their republic supporters, I was on the receiving end of a corporate takeover and found myself working as a bootlegger for an alliance in 0.0. The work was good, and free beer is never a bad thing, but the job was.... lacking. Shoot him, don't shoot him. Give that dumb ass slowboating industrial pilot free reign even if he is a prime candidate for a podding.

Bah I say. I wanted to be free.

So I started looking around at other job openings. Nothing really caught my eye. I was bored. Here I was, a freakin pod pilot, and i was out watching some jackhole shoot rocks. Then they came. Pirates.

I watched in stunned horror as they systematically wiped out the entire protection party without a word. They locked me. Within seconds my poor Rifter was torn to shreds in silence. Coms were opened, and I was given the chance to save my skin. I took the chance and payed them, and unbelievably they disengaged. Within seconds the miners were down and anything of value was taken off.

Most people would be pissed. I was envious. Here I was literally watching rocks crumble, and they were off living my dream. I wanted in.

I soon turned in my resignation to my corp and started the long process of tracking down my assailants. Rumors of ghosts who fly the void haunted my path. I fought for every scrap of information and scanned thousands upon thousands of signals for any hint. My diligence finally paid off one night when I came upon their recruitment channel. After listening in for a while trying to keep a low profile, I was noticed by one who seemed to be leading most of the conversations.


...COMS OPEN...

***>Welcome, Xer. What can I do for you?
Xer> Hi. So I take it you are the guy I need to talk to regarding employment?
***> Indeed. Why us?
Xer> I've done some looking around, and your Corps name keeps popping up again and again. I want what you all have. Freedom.
***> You understand ours is a harsh life. You will never be able to show your face in empire again.
Xer> I am a disgrace to my people as it stands, and that place has no real draw for me. It's small potatoes.
***> Very well, we can start your screening process if you like. Don't call us, we will call you.

...COMS CLOSED...

I didn't expect to hear back. To be honest, I thought I was given the brush off. A few weeks after my initial call however, I found a encoded transmission in my In-Box.

"Meet me in *********, Placid."

My heart jumped. This was it. This was what I had been waiting for.

I made my way through multiple systems my former alliance had warned me about. My heart skipped a beat every time I jumped into a low-sec system. All my teaching was screaming at me to move on to the safety of Empire or regionally controlled 0.0, but I ignored them. I did learn one thing my time in 0.0, and that was watching where you were going.

I made it to my destination without any problems. Along my way I ran into some other hopefuls, and proceeded to pop a shuttle. Less competition is always good.

I was in. Holy crap. Pirate Corp. Me. Go figure.

My education thus far has been amazing. Every bit of information I need to be good at my newly chosen trade has been made available. Every time I get into my pod and load up secure coms, I have gone out hunting. I prey on the dumb, weak, misinformed, and unweary. Recently I have even started killing those in cold blood who refuse my demands. Some would call it a turn for the worse. Not I. I like to think of it as an opening of my eyes to the universe for the first time.

It has been a trail by fire, and for the first time I guess I was on fire too.


Ah, right. Note to self, don't engage a properly fitted BattleCruiser with your Rifter. Especially if they are using missles. And have friends.

************************************************************************************************

I think i really scared the good Doc. Am I really that intimidating now? I don't feel any different. Maybe its because I now have a bounty on my head and concord wants me dead. Maybe its because when I threatened his life I meant it.

"Hey Doc, about that last comment....Sorry. You know I would never harm ya. In here anyway. Since I dripping with ooze and naked, you mind leaving?"

"Sure, Sure.... Uh.... Here is the package you left for yourself. Clothes. Personal effects. Toothbrush. Comb. Impla..."

"Doc? You are annoying. Go away."

Lets just see what I got here...Whats this?

Xer,

We imagine it was quite a surprise waking up in a vat for Gods know what this time. It always is, anyway here is the deal. You are losing more and more memories of recent events every time you activate a clone. We have some weird degenerative side effect to cloning. From what we have pieced together in previous incarnations, our past is not what we think it is, the Amarrians did SOMETHING to us at a young age we can't quite pin down, and we seem to be replacing new memories with dormant ones.

There is a lead you might want to follow. We know for a fact that we were taken as an infant from our true parents. Under heavy questioning of our former boss in the Amarr Navy we were able to get one word out before he went to that great Titan in the sky, "Kaimeria".

-Xer

P.S.

Kill the Doctor.

Cleared for publication by: Ander
What a christmas-story :-)

My story so far and a new opportunity.

My name is Viront, a pod pilot in Eve universe and this is my story so far.

I've spent most of my time as a pod pilot running missions for the Brutor Tribe. This has allowed me to build up some cash and create jump clones so I can travel quickly and store my good implants in a safe clone. I had grown increasingly bored with missions, omber, and life in general so I've entered the warm and squishy womb of a famous pirate corp to try and find out how to enjoy my brief life (lives) as a pilot.

...

Cleared for publication by: Ander Continue reading "My story so far and a new opportunity."

When he owed me.

My name is Kori'mh, me existence is a secret, my mission is a threat, what should be known of me has never been spoken; my purpose is to be is to be in the shadows.

I've been looking for a man for some time, the barstard owed me big time for some ISK, for a matter of fact he owed me a lot. And as expected he's never showed his face since. I relies he was profiting surprisingly to begin with. But ever since I threatened him he's disappeared, he had contacts with members which benefited from his achievements’ and the outcome to which became of him. I looked at this and saw from a distance the best possible path of action. And wait for the opportunity to strike and gain the profits I dear to hold in my grasp. The members were slow and ignorant, easy to work with and easy to bend. They will never know what hit them. After asking a simple question to one of them, they never hesitated to reply to what I needed, it was too easy.

All I had to do now is to get this guy and make him cough up.

It was very fortunate that I found what I was looking for to start with, an easy target. Wanted, high price, convicted against humanity. There is no shame in what he was convicted for, it makes no sense to me, as long as I do what I do best in the most humane way possible.

And now I must see to it that something must be done. There must be a contact from the one I serve into which I can perform my task. I prepare for leaving the station.

At the destination in a lonely part of space I wait for him, but no one is here? And to what end I wait for hours with still no appearance of him. Waiting in deep space feels like an entirety, there is no reply or answer. In utter silence there is only the humming of the engine.

.......... Utter silence.

...........Of what I’ am, and what's to come.

Nothing seems to make sense.

Why?

Disappointed and angry he didn’t turn up, wasting my time I leave, why let an opportunity slip though my gasp just because I need authorization, how gives a shit, I take orders for no one. I only join them.

On my way back to my target a message came through.

“Kori’mh what the hell are you trying to pull at here, suicide? ". It was him.

“I’m just heading towards my meeting with that rip off merchant, sir"

“Well guess what your plan just back fired, your subject has been found but is too deep in Amarr territory to be dealt with. Return to base."

Well that was it, oh, why didn’t I make the decision there and now, instead of suffering? It was a great opportunity. I was blessed with it; there couldn’t have been anything better than to totally screw someone up and lose everything. Sure I was new in the system but I had the experience, the will to do what ever is necessary to rise above the rest.

Kori'mh will return

Cleared for publication by: Ander (HTML formatting is removed)

Ripple Part 1

I've played eve off and on for two on three years. Read EVE Pirate for a goodly bit of that time, and finally decided to take a hand in posting some exploits. Though heavily done over in a roleplaying format. Hope you enjoy, and don't knock it to badly.

Naele knuckled his red and itchy eyes in an attempt to wake up. Stretching uncomfortably on the metal plate that counted as a stool. Which so far had steadfastly refused to warm up. Always like this in every stations docking station front dive. He couldn't remember for the life of him what the name of the place was. The paint on the front door long since faded and chipped away. But it servered descent beer, atleast for a Gallentean system it passed as descent beer. Nothing even remotely close to what he was used to.

Scratching his weeks worth of stubble he yawns slightly, trying to kick his sluggish thoughts into some semblance of order. His contact was late, then again, who ever showed up to deal with a Minmatar on time? Well, besides an Amarrian slaver that was. Chuckling dryly at his own joke he slouched against the bar, wirey built for a Minmatar, he still had the swarthy skin and long dreadlocks of the rest of his kin. Most people underestimated his appearance and thought him weak. Shrugging to himself he mused absently, not my loss. Well, other than not having many isk to my name. Swirling the contents of his mug he stared at the flat yellow color absently and wondered why it was so flat. Probably the swill they served here for slave kin. Sighing absently he downed the bitter tasting brew and slid it aside.

Damn his agent for running late. Raising his eyes to the wall above the barkeeps head he watched the chrono count down the turn of another hour. Cheap bastard, should have figured he'd have slid out of this meeting some how. Oily syndicate bugger. Standing up slowly he adjusted his travel weary jacket about his frame a bit better. Reaching into his pocket he tossed a few kreds onto the counter and walked out of the bar without a backwards glance. As soon as the dented metal door swung closed, two well dressed Amarrians stood up quickly and followed him through the door. Thier intent clear as they reached within thier robes.

Walking through the somewhat crowded pathways toward his ship, Naele noticed how people shot him looks and then a look further behind him. A cold clammy feeling settled like liquid lead in his gut. The looks told him clearly that whatever was behind him, wasn't going to insure his ship for free. Reaching superstiously into his synth leather jacket, he pulled out a small firearm, capable of taking down any unarmored person with one well placed shot. Pivoting on his heel he turned and pulled the trigger rapidly, spraying the area with lead slugs. A few spanged off the walls and ceiling, spitting up sparks, but two impacted into the chest of the lead Amarr, sending him realing backwards with two gaping holes in his chest, each big enough to put a fist through. Blood blossomed along the floor and walls, quickly pooling from the now collapsed slaver. The second took a glancing blow to the shoulder, spinning him around abruptly and rewarding him with a swift landing on his rear.

Cursing the slaver leveled his fist at Naele, showing a Vitoc loaded tranqualizer gun. Spinning back around Naele pelted down the grey and teal lit corridor. A soft thump-swish announced the launch of the vitoc laden dart. Dropping to the floor he watched the silvery dart sail overhead and clatter off the ceiling. Standing up slowly he turned around and faced the now pale amarr, his lifesblood pulsing out of him in rythmic little spurts. Smiling grimly, Naele walked foreward slowly, hobnailed boots clunking loudly against the meticuosly clean floors. He almost felt sorry for the Gallentean cleaning crew in a few hours. The Amarr stuttered something in his hateful language. Probably a prayer to his oh so devine emperor.

Lashing out with his boot he fetches the man along side his shining pate, right above his ear. Not even crying out, the amarr in his opulent red robes slumps to the side, curling in on himself, still reciting his litany of prayers. Grimacing he steps on the mans hands, crushing the spindly fingers beneath his boot sole. Grinding the boot back and forth he smiles in pleasure at the sickening crunching noise. "This is for the years of opression, you bastards." Lifting his foot he spat on the mans face and strode away.

Funny how the corridor emptied of people when the ugly business gets to starting he thought absently. With any luck, he'd get away with this little act of freedom fighting, without Concord catching wind of it. Taking one of the side branches toward the docking stations he started to encounter people. An even mix of the races. Some more liberal minded Amarr nodding in his direction. Smiling he thought to himself, only in Gallente space would an Amarrian even stop to acknowledge his existance in any other form other than a slave. Ambling through the dull metal halls he made his way toward the frigate docking bay. He no longer acknowledged the make of the place. True, it was pleasing to the eye to some folk, being dull metal grey, lack luster, and only faintly reflecting back the teal lighting, it wasn't much to his more roughshod tastes. But the Gallente, for the most part, where helpfull to the majority of the Minmatar, well, those that were now law abiding.

Chuckling dryly he walked up along a spiraling path and looked down at his frigate. A rifter class, its dual intakes swept out ahead of the rest of the ship, and its wings spread out far behind. Nodding at his ship, the Echo Screen, he patted the hull affectionately before walking inside to suit up. Oh how he hated that pod, he thought before going through the process of slipping inside of the small egglike container. Going through the motions he fitted himself out to each of the ships functions, while the green lukewarm gel like substance flooded the canister. Shuddering he calmed his nerves and closed his eyes, as his ships AI greated him via neural link. "Hello Naele, welcome back." Naele smiled and chose to ignore the AI for now, speed being of the utmost importance. He didn't fancy the idea of being stuck in the station while Concord set up shop outside to shoot his frigate. Ignoring the warning of the docking station master he urged his ship up and around, arrowing toward the doors open to the vast vista of space. Coasting through the stations docking shield he ejected his camera drone and panned around, looking for any sign of Concord, or if the turrets where visibly tracking him. Both were a no.

Cleared for publication by: Ander

A Taste

I’ve grown tired of these missions...
Unimportant task with small inconsequential rewards...
Frustration... Anger...
Carry this package where? Fuck off. I'm not your messenger boy.
Seek employment lower on the corporate ladder?
Motherfucker, you are the bottom rung!

A few days go by and I start to get hungry.
Open up the local com, "Combat frigate for hire..." The com crackles with solar noise... Nothing... Agents won't hire me. Private corporations don’t acknowledge my existence. Fuck, I hate my life...

Plot a course, the third belt of the fourth planet.
Activate the warp drive and feel the burn. My vision swims. Warp bubble detiorates and huge looming rocks come in to sharp contrast against the pitch backdrop of space. Scanner urgently beeps, registering a pilot carrying a bounty. Confirm blip... Amarr frigate. Screw the com, this is a paycheck.

Neural interfaces crackle with life as the slightest thoughts bring ship systems online. Targeting systems, locking, navigation, plotting orbital trajectory, afterburner kicks, vision swims again... Gotta lay off the Drop. Target locked, kill the AB, nav comp starts correcting for orbit, target at 3km. Fire the energy vampire, trigger turrets. Monitors show targets shields failing fast. Not surprising, Amarr ships are built with advance armor, not a lot of effort put into shielding systems. My Rifter settles into orbit, 200mm auto cannons spit incendiary charges at the carapace of the frigate. Enemy armor repair systems fail as my vampire drains his reserves. Armor flakes bounce off my shields as I see this rat’s hull get chewed by my radioactive rounds. And as suddenly as it began it finishes. A brilliant, silent flash in space, my ship shudders slightly, and a blink from my neocom reminds me how fast Concord pays.

But the bounties barely pay the rent... At least dinner is an option now.

Cleared for publication by: Ander

Her maiden voyage.

Chaos reigned aboard the small but advanced cruiser. Crewman moved around, on lining critical systems, the soft skitter of footsteps across the flood drew attention to the small group of technicians huddled around the most advanced of the technology two equipment that filled the ship. Their banter was technical, but their task of the utmost importance. This was the last section of the new cruiser that needed to be connected. Their as of yet unseen captain had only sent word to bring the ship on line. Nobody wanted to be the first to disappoint.

A tall gaunt Sebiestor walked among the crew unnoticed. Checking systems here and there, touching all parts of his new ship as he moved. Slowly making his way towards the group of huddled technicians, this is the way a ship was supposed to run. As a team, not just a tool to be used by the captain. He slipped into the group of men, unnoticed. They huddled around the archaic manuals and guides of how to hook up the system, making their best guesses, the tall captain giving soft suggestions, letting them figure it out, as he watched. The last lead was connected and the technicians turned to congratulate their new help, but found him already gone. A shrug was all he got, obviously another technician from a separate part of the ship, just trying to help.

The captain strode through the otherwise cramped interior, ducking slightly to avoid the overhead in places. A short scan of his ice blue eyes all that it took to enter the eject room that contained his pod. His clothes shed, he stepped into the pod, the cold silvery liquid moved up his naked body the short sharp pangs of fear moving deep in the pit of his stomach as the liquid covered his mouth and then nose. The captain's eyes fluttering shut just before the liquid reached them. Short moments panic before the systems kicked in, interfacing with his brain, his eyes now seeing as the camera drone would. His ship still docked at the station, floating weightlessly in the zero gravity area before space. The cloaking device lit green first, followed by every other major system. It took only a slight touch of will to move the ship into space.

Cleared for publication by: Ander
Continue reading "Her maiden voyage."

Ferox, she lives!

S[x],

The electrostatic burn of the plasma exhaust lights the darkness of the Everyshore starfield. Her Darkness at lull. An unusual night. The only pilot on the local band appeared to be a younger Achura - younger, but easily old enough to know better. Ferox, she's trying hard for the reward that the risk of lowsec seductively promises.

Belt to Ferox corrolation completed. Scanner detail cripplingly incomplete due to an overview error. Empirical evidence required.

Aura's navigation seamlessly takes over twisting the cruiser out of its alignment.

The heart hardens slightly. There appears to be no turning back now as the warp tunnel forms and sweeps the ship to the belt. Visions of brutality swarm and briefly overwhelm. The adrenaline spikes through looking for cells to warn, the warp tunnel closes in on my peripheral vision and there's nothing but the scanner, the local, the overview, and the modules. Ship and pilot briefly become indistinguishable on the interface end. The wreckage known as Vik has engaged.

An asteroid belt snaps into view. Supermassive stellar debris best left to the miner threat that is the freelance industrial base. Organized efforts are more selective and far more profitable. She didn't agree, and her mining lasers tear a cleft into the Asteroid [Omber] that plaintively gives up its precious isogen to the rust belt beauty of the ionizing mining touch. She looks like a killing machine, but beneath the graceless brute force of the Caldari exterior lies the essential contradiction that makes for good targets.

Before anyone could react the ship was on an orbital course. Afterburner aflare. Sudden acceleration. Silence and the noise it brings fills all. The modulation of the mining lasers sings briefly before being overwhelmed by the fleeting pulse of the scrambler and the immoral sound of the terrorist nosferatu bank.

At this point it is becoming clear that something clicked. Weapons relays. Ferox, she briefly cries out in local:

Cleared for publication by: Ander Continue reading "Ferox, she lives!"

Backlash

The stout drained quickly from mug to throat and Hekaton Keirez wiped the frothy remains from his lips, just before putting a cigarette between them. He hadn't been working for the Federation Navy long - only long enough to know that the military was not for him and that the beer was much better planetside. The former he had known from day one; a career in the navy was only a ruse, a starting point for a man who had nothing to start with. The young Intaki had essentially scammed his way in to begin with and he would be scamming his way out soon enough - just as soon as he had enough cash in his pocket and experience under his belt to get far away from here. Stout number five came his way and he nodded with a sly grin at the bartender he had been flirting with since stout number one.

Maybe beer six will get me some more attention...

If it hadn't been for that lovely, brunette bartender Keirez would have left 'The Red Atron' as quickly as he had wandered in to the smelly bar. He hated the cold, steel atmosphere so prevalent many station bars, especially those owned by the navy. He took another drag from his cigarette and leaned back in the bar stool. No, this was nothing like the warm, leisurely style of Intaki where the chairs were comfortable and people hadn't forgotten how to make good wine. The limited experience he'd had in space had shown him that life was a lot colder and a lot more dangerous in the Black Sea, as Keirez liked to call it. He loved it already. The remaining half of his stout found its way to his belly as he slammed the mug down with a satisfied sigh. He eyed the bartender up and down once more.

If only the beer were as satisfying as the view.

There was a shout and a bustle at the door.

"Hekaton Keirez!"

The female voice resonating in his ears caused his spine to shudder and his face to wince with immediate recognition. He mustered up whatever smile he could and turned to face the voice.

"Commander Angbad," he started politely. He tried to coat his normally soft voice with as much sweetness as possible. "Such a pleasure to see your lovely f-"

"Shut it up, fly boy."

It was this same flare of sass that had drawn him to the superior officer. Now he was regretting it. The good Commander stalked straight towards him, her otherwise gorgeous face twisted into a menacing scowl. Behind her, at the portal through which she had entered, stood two stout looking Civire men. Keirez took immediate notice; it wasn't everyday you saw someone from Caldari walking around in a Federation naval station.

This may get messy if she's brought some hired help.

It took all the will he had to keep his face calm as Commander Angbad grabbed him by the lapel of his flight suit and tugged him, nose to nose with his mistress. She spoke softly but sternly, not wanting to draw any more of the attention of the bar patrons than she already had.

"I've never been to Intaki but, as far as I'm concerned, the rest of the Federation still has some chivalry left in it," she pursed her lips. This was first bite of the large piece of her mind she was about to give Hekaton Keirez.

"Is that what they do there, eh?" her tone turned to mocking. "If that's the case the whole planet must be full of bastards. One night stand after one night stand, bastard birth after bastard birth. Oh!"

She let go of him, putting her hand over her mouth in a feigned posture of realization.

"That's right, they still believe in reincarnation on Intaki. So, I suppose those primitive, boneheaded beliefs mean you can leave progeny all over the place!" She slowed her speaking, "Well that's not how I operate, Keirez. I don't let pricks like you get away with shit like that."

Though he put little stock in his home worlds' religious orientation, it still took every ounce of control he had to stay calm through the barrage of insults. At long last he replied with a wry smirk on his stubbled face.

"Are you pregnant, Commander?"

Angbad's mockery turned to fury as she rared back to slap him. Keirez caught her hand in midstroke. Immediately the brutes at the door stiffened, staring intently at their boss. Keirez had lost his patience.

"Don't think that your rank means squat to me, lady. If you're not bright enough to spot a dog like me a mile away then don't come in here expecting me to fall on my knees begging forgiveness."

With cigarette smoke billowing from his nostrils he shoved her away and turned to get back to his drink, much to the chagrin of the regulars who had hoped to see some action.

Commander Angbad was breathing hard in fury and uncertainty. She leaned in once more behind him, whispering, "I'll see you soon. I'll see you soon."

***

After about another hour of beers and up-front flirting, Keirez walked out of The Red Atron in failure. The brunette bartender was a sweetheart but a shy one at that. He wouldn't have much company tonight, or so he thought. His footsteps clanged along the steel walkways of the station towards the dock. Gazing through the thick glass he stopped. The bluish nebulae, studded with stars and moons, seemed to speak to him the same way they had as a boy living in a place where gravity ruled and air abided. 'Freedom' was their cry. They begged to be joined - the same beckoning that had brought life to this dismal part of space.

He couldn't wait to get out of this shithole.

Cigarette put out, he stepped through the portal to the dock where 'Break Even', his Navitas, waited. This naval station was but a stop one jump away from his destination. He had to get out of the pod for a spill before finishing his job and now he was back in, plugged in sync with his ships computer, ready to tear away from here for another buck. He ran the usual fitting test, ensuring everything was in place before undocking. Cargo was secure, all systems were go.

Had he paid more attention he would have noticed the two Caldari ships, Kestrel class, that didn't move until he did. Instead he enter the coordinates of the next jump gate into his nav system and set the autopilot on. Had he paid more attention he would have also noticed how quickly his capacitor drained as he approached the gate but green security systems made the man lackadaisical. It wasn't until he came out of warp 100km from the gate instead of 15 that he grew concerned and doubly so when that familiar high frequency chirp told him he was being targeted.

The rockets hit him hard.

Doing his best to stay focused he punched at the controls as the two blasters, minimal protection against these frigates, came online to return fire.

'The capacitor is empty,' chimed the ship.

His shields were nearly down. The Kestrels swooped around him, plugging the 'Break Even' with rockets and chaingun fire.

Think, man, think!

He was still 50km from the jump. Power systems sparked, the ships armor was rocked again by round after round. Finally a thought struck him. Faster than he had down anything since joining the navy, he switched everything offline save the afterburner, punching it hard, draining all the juice he could from the capacitor.

25km from the gate.

Keirez would have awoken a clone if the sentry turrets had fired any later. He breathed a sigh of relief as the Kestrels popped in a brilliant flare and the Concord ships swept in to assess.

Thank the gods that tricky bitch was too hasty to follow me into deepspace.

Five minutes later he was back at that same station, calling his contact about the delay. Thankfully the 'Break Even' was insured and he'd have another ship in no time but he made every effort to extend his delivery deadline; such a traumatic event would leave him unable to pilot a ship properly for at least another night.

Closing his mobile NeoCom he grinned softly.

I wonder if that bartender is on the job again.

Cleared for publication by: Ander

Episode VI : The Amarrian

A slightly musty smell hung in the air in the rear storage room of "Bar Veto", the only noticeable noise the low pitched muffled drone of station services on the other side of heavily armored, slightly rusted, metallic vacuum sealed walls. No windows, no doors. One solitary steel shrouded light fitting sat center in the cieling, providing ample lighting for the whole roon, but flickering every so often, seemingly from the load on it's supply due to the bar next door.

The room itself was a clutter of stacked and shrink wrapped wine crates and sealed ale casks and contained little furnature, the most prominent an unpainted steel topped desk, slightly rusted at the edges, flanked by two unmaintaned, heavily worn chairs. A steel filing cabinet topped by a large crimson toolbox, it's lid hanging open stood in the corner, testament to Ethan Verone's willingness to rig out his own ships, rather than leaving the task to the docking hands in his corporate hangar.

A large, menacing black hound lay on a tattered black leather sofa which sat opposite the filing cabinet on the far wall of the room, his jaw and snout resting on both large, well strung paws.

The hound's head lifted distinctly as the heavy door to the Bar's main room flung open, slamming against the filing cabinet, the tools inside wailing a metallic jangle as a burly looking young Deitis man, and a slightly older red haired Gallente scuffled with a robed, grey-haired Amarrian, bundling him in though the door amid shouts of protest in an aged, and heavily Amarri accented voice.

"What are you people doing! I'm a wealthy and well respected citizen of the Empire!"

The Amarrian was hurled at the desk, causing it to slide toward the back wall several inches as he impacted it's front face, sprawling across it's surface as his intricately decorated deep green velvet robe fanned out behind him, the well-built Gallentean now blocking his path to the exit as the young Caldari bolted shut the door behind him.

The resting hound stirred, letting out at low pitched growl and sitting upright to inspect the situation as Ethan Verone's voice echoed around the room, a slightly deep, heavily Gallentean accented tone directed towards the robe clad stranger.

"Shut the hell up you filth, sit down."

The Amarrian glanced back as Ethan straightened the neckline of his collarless red shirt, his piercing ice blue eyes scanning the old mans features as his voice raised, gesturing harshly towards the chair facing the small room's only exit.

"NOW, YOU OLD FOOL!"

The Caldari grinned wryly at the old man's situation, running a hand across the surface of his hair and stretching his neck as he glanced to the red haired gallente blocking the exit.

"There is one way out of this room old man, and that's through the pair of us. Try anything fancy, I'll show you how much of a savage an outlaw can be."

A calm voice, heavy gallente accent as he spoke, Ethan Verone adjusted his shirt collar with his unbandaged hand glaring at the Amarrian as the words echoed around the room. The old man's only response was to wipe his mouth, perspiration beginning to appear on his thinly haired head as he took up residence at the side of the desk closest to the door.

"So, my amarrian friend. It seems you're in somewhat of a pickle"

"Howso, young man?"

Verone reached below the table slipping his hand out of sight, it returned several seconds later with a Federal Navy Officer Issue particle blaster sidearm.

"Let's cut the bullshit shall we old man? You know why you're here..."

The Amarrian interrupted without hesitation, Verone tilting his head with an eyebrow raised as he listened.

"This bar was recommended to me through a friend, what is your reasoning for this mistreatment? Do you want credits, is that what this is about?"

The Gallente glanced down at the tabletop, placing the pistol on it's surface in front of him, barrel aimed towards the old Amarrian. Laocoon took up position, out of sight behind the old man, as Ethan's eyes met the greying expression of the Amarrian's.

"If I wanted Credits, I'd cut your throat and drain them from you... It's strange how an Amarrian would turn up here, unannounced and flashing his wealth off given the circumstances."

Ethan glared across the table at the weathered features before him, as Laocoon spoke up with a hint of disrespect in his tone.

"You got a name old man?" Lao jabbed a meaty finger into the Amarrian's back, causing him to jump at the contact, stuttering as he spoke.

"K.. Kenide... Hephron Kenide, I'm a trader, I live on Sarum Prime. I'm confused Mr Verone, how many of your patrons announce themselves exactly? What is the meaning of this?"

Ethan glared at Hephron, his eyes scanning the old man's intricately decorated Sarum family styled robes as he spoke.

"Your people have something that belong to me."

Verone clasped the fingers of his uninjured hand around the non-slip grip of the pilstol before him.

"Something I value far more than my own life, and FAR more than your own."

Hephron swallowed, the gulp barely audible as persipration dripped down the side of his face, the solitary light in the center of the cieling so hot it felt it was burning into his skull.

"You're going to help us, Mr Kenide..."

"Or what? You'll kill me?" Retorted the Amarrian with a weak, wry smile.

The gallente craned his neck around the old man's form nodding in exaduration towards the large black hound in the corner, Kenite turned just in time to make eye contact with the massive animal as it released a low pitch growl from the depth of it's throat, yellow eyes scanning the amarrian's bulky shape.

"This is my fiancee's hound, he's not a fan of Amarrians considering the mistreatment of his mistress by them. Isn't that right buddy?" Ethan glanced past Hephron to the hound, whick let out a low pitched rumbling growl as Lao glanced toward Verone, smiling broadly with amusement.

"You're going to help us retrieve Shiva, or my raggy haired friend here is going to get to know you a LOT more intimatley. Do you understand?"

His voice never broke pitch, never laboured and his deep blue eyes never left the lifeless grey eyes of the Amarrian. Lao's smile broadened even moreso at the mention of violence.

Slipping the pistol into the top drawer of the desk, Verone stold and circled the green robed character sat in the chair, heading for the toolchest in the corner. Kenide's eye's tracked him as he passed, the old man's hands physically shaking as he rested them on the desk before him. The calm gallente voice spoke from behind him, as the metallic sound of rummaging tools could be heard.

"So, Hephron... May I call you Hephron?" Verone mused.

Silence.

"You haven't fallen asleep on us have you?"

The Amarrian shook his head as Laocoon spoke out.

"Nah, he's just ugly..."

The Amarrian shook his head slowly, tousled hair shimmering under the light with perspiration as he glanced down at the desk's metallic surface. Verone slammed shut the drawer of the crimson toolchest, stepping back into the old man's view, a set of heavy duty wire cutters in his left hand, the unbandaged one.

"So, hephron... you say you trade? Meaning you have a lot of market contacts? I'm correct in assuming this?" Ethan clipped the jaws of the cutters together in rhythm as he spoke.

"I do... yes." was the reply, the Amarrian straightening his robes as if suddenly overcome by confidence and feeling on farmiliar grounds.

"We're looking for something quite special, old man. Some one in fact. A woman worth a lot of money to your people. My woman."

Hephron repiled dryly as his eyes closed half way, his flabby fingers rubbing at his temple "I see."

Ethan glanced across at the cutters in his hand as he continued, clicking their jaws together.

"We can do this several ways Mr. Kenide. You can help us, no credits involved and walk out of her intact. Bear in mind that you walk out of here being watched. If we think you're not performing. We'll find you."

Laocoon glanced to Ethan with a smile, remaining silent as he listened.

"Or you can resist, and buddy here will have a little snack to see if we can't... persuade you to think from our perspective. If this happens, you'll probably leave with a little less dexterity... you understand."

Verone glanced to Kenide, attempting to guage his reaction, the old amarrian was now trickling with perspiration, his hands shaking as a single droplet fell from the tip of his nose, slamming into the cold steel surface of the table.

"How does that sound Hephron?" Verone asked, calmly, as he resumed position in the chair facing the old man.

The Amarrian forced a fearful smile as he replied.

"I'm not so sure I'm the person you're looking for, Mr Verone. I deal in commerical supplies and textiles."

Ethan sighed, nodding to Laocoon as he rose from his position brandishing the cutters. Like lightening Lao was on top of the Amarrian, pushing his face into the surface of the table, and pulling back the arm of his robe with minimal effort due to his heavy table. The Amarrian winced, glancing towards his hand deliberatley placed in his field of vision.

"You'll find, Mr Kenide that it is a lot better for your health in the long run to assist us and do what we ask." Ethan glanced towards Hephron's reddening face as he encircled the cutters around the Amarrian's ring finger and applied first pressure.

"I... I don't know anything... I don't know... I've never traded in people before, just supplies damn you."

Ethan applied slightly more pressure to the Cutters, splitting the skin as warm crimson fluid began to ooze out, spilling onto the tabletop in front of the Amarrian. Hephron began to recite a passage from the scriptures, speaking under his breath and barely audible as the blood trickled across the tabletop towards his face, the blades of the cutters now potruding deep into the flesh of his finger.

"Mr Kenide..."

Silence, still the Old man recited. Ethan's voice raised.

"Mr Kenide!"

Ethan pulled the cutters tight, the two blades connecting and slamming into the bone of the Amarrian's finger as he let out a high pitched cry of pain. Final pressure and the finger flopped away, as if discareded by it's four brothers, lying lifeless on the tabletop as deep red lifeblood oozed from the severed knuckle.

Ethan glared at the Amarrian...

"Do we have an understanding?"

Nothing, the Amarrian simply sat up after being released from the Caldari's grip and cupped his hand, his face losing all color and turning silver grey. Verone continued.

"You're going to go back to Kador... and you're going to be looking at the market for genetically modified slaves, of the "Siren" bloodline. i trust being amarrian you're familiar with the trade, despite what you say."

Kenide looked dazed, his lips also losing color.

"I dont trade with slaves, but... I will ask around."

"Yes you will."

"I... It... It might be easier if I had a little more information..."

Ethan smiled.

"Now you're talking my language, my Amarrian friend."

He paused, glancing at the Amarrian as blood dripped through his fingers, soiling the surface of his green velvetesque pants, which matched his robe perfectly in hue and decoration. Verone reached into the bottom drawer of his side of the desk and retrieved a white package, a sterile bandage tossing it across the surface of the desk to Hephron before continuing.

"You're looking for a woman, a slave of the "Siren" generation... her name is "Shiva". She's Sebiestor, a Matari. You'll find her information on the DED most wanted list, alongside my own. That shouldn't be too hard to locate."

Kenide fumbled with the bandage, his hands slipping and shaking as he tried to tear open the package. Eventually he suceeded as Verone continued, his voice still as a collected as ever.

"This woman, i will stop at nothing to retrieve, she is everything to me and i will die to find her."

He glanced to the amarrian's hand, and then to his face, eye contact maintained for a split second before Kenide broke it to finish tying off the bandage, already stained red from the trickling blood.

"I will KILL to find her, Mr Kenide."

Ethan breathed out, almost with a sigh as he spoke, still eyeing the Amarrian's ever paling complexion.

"Here are your terms, old man. You will speak to no-one about this buy myself and Laocoon here."

Lao smiled broadly as he placed a robust hand on the Amarrian's shoulder.

"You will report everything to me that you find, we will be watching you. VERY CLOSELY. Any attempt to alert the authorities, and i will come for you my friend. Personally."

Kenide remained silent, his gaze seeking the door briefly as his head turned to the Caldari. Laocoon smiled down at the Amarrian broadly, patting his shoulder as Ethan continued.

"Am I understood?"

"Y... Yes... Yes... Perfectly."

"Remember, we'll be watching you... and we'll know where you are. Bring me information that brings home my wife, and you'll be rewarded. Fail, and you'll lose a thousand things as dear to you as she is to me."

Ethan stood from the oppsite side of the desk, wiping the blood off the blades of the cutters against his baggy black sombat pants as he rose.

"Bring me results, or I'll bring you hell."

"I... I understand."

The old man's gaze returned to the door as he spoke, his voice trembling and shoulders heaving.

"May I go... now?"

Ethan glanced to the Amarr with a broad smile, white teeth contrasted against the dim light of the room.

"You forgot something, Mr Kenide."

Hephron followed Verone's gaze down to the tabletop where his severed finger lay, skirted by a pool of scarlet fluid. Laocoon stepped forward, picking the soggy slice of meat from the liquid on the surface of the table. Verone smiled as he watched the young Caldari stroll over to the Amarrian slipping his pocket open and dropping the severed digit inside.

"I hear Inherant Implants are good at fixing that sort of thing..." The Caldari whispered, winking at the old man.

Laocoon stepped aside opening the door as the Amarrian turned to face it, the sound of the bar outside flooding into the peacefully quiet room.

"A pleasure doing business with you, enjoy your drink, Mr Kenide."

Verone patted the Amarrian on the shoulder as he passed, smiling slightly as he exited the storage room into the well lit Bar area. Laocoon followed sharply at his heel as the Amarrian made a hasty exit through the front doors to the hangar floor.

Episode V : The Blade

The sound of industrial work echoed around the cavernous hangar floor, a thousand bodies surged below the wide catwalk bustling among eachother slipping between storage crates and shrink wrapped ship components like beads of oil through conduits.

The young gallente rested back against a large metallic framed crate, his virgin, deep blue eyes scanning the row of ships below as he admired the efficiency of the Caldari station's docking and repair teams at work. Ishukone sure were good at what they did.

His eyes passed across the docking bay past three Caracal class cruisers, all emblazened with the Ishukone Watch corporate crest. Next was an Enyo class assault frigate, almost near completion, it's chrome like lance supported upon a heavy scaffold as a large jib suspended from the hangar roof at the rear hoisted what appeared to be the aft section of the propulsion system into place.

Beside it a gargantuan Raven class battleship floated in defiance of the station's artificial gravity well, casting an immense shadow across the hangar and the myriad of ant like workers and supplies being loaded below. Even over the carnage of noise emitted from the steel-lined canyon below, the soft pulsing of it's shield systems could be heard above all else timed perfectly with the occasional blue shimmering cloud that engulfed the vessel's whole skin, surging across it's surface with the appearence of a tsunami, the blast wave replenishing electrically charged shield particles as it passed. Several members of the repair team sat inside one of it's many lower launch tubes as they snacked on State Issue MRE packs, lost in a vast tunnel almost a hundred times their own height, which in space would reign the fire of Inferno Torpedos from the depths of the ship's core.

Beside it, almost overshadowed by it's immense size but equal in stature and importance in the eyes of the staff swarming around it, rested a Zealot class heavy assault cruiser. It's outer hull, scorched, blemished, seams buckled and surface plating torn away, still glistened in places almost in defiance of those who had failed to destroy it not an hour eariler. It would take a lot to make her spaceworthy again, both credits and work wise. The callsign "Devotion" was etched into the chrome plating of her single armored port side wing.

Ice blue eyes skipped across the other array of frigates and cruisers that scattered the hangar floor into the distance, the Gallente releasing the top button of his knee length deep black leather trench coat as his neck craned to view the far end of the hangar beyond. Nothing special in that direction. He smiled to himself, inhaling the scent emitted from hide of the new coat as he slipped his hand into one of it's deep pockets. They had failed again. Idiots. Six ships, five of which were heavier classes than his own, and still they had failed to bring him down. The gallente chuckled to himself, his smile giving way slighty to reveal bright white teeth as he scratched the stubble forming on the base of his chin, watching a group of kids peering over the rail not more than a few meters away.

There were five of them total, fresh faced and all but one Caldari, presumably family members of the station staff aboard. The fifth child was Matari, a heavily built kid, probably the same as his father, damn those bastards hit hard when they swung a punch.

The first audible pre-pubescent voice was heard as they moved closer

"No way man, I'm telling you, they have six launchers, and they can flatten a cruiser in one go man, I've see it on HoloVid, they're evil, nothing matches them."

The voice came from the smaller of the pack, a young, close cropped Caldari kid, no more than twelve years old as he stabbed the air toward the Raven lying in dock with glee. A second spoke up.

"Yeah what you want is one of the fancy Navy ones though, even more firepower. I'm gonna fly one of those one day, you wait, I'm gonna be famous just like my dad."

He beamed as he spoke, stretching his neck with confidence as he adjusted the collar of his neatly pressed white shirt. The kid was no more than fifteen, a typical well bred Caldari with the ambition of fame and fortune flying in defense of the Caldari State. The gallente chuckled as he eavesdropped, peering at the group from beneath a dark blue peaked hat. The matari was next to offer his expert opinion.

"Yeah whatever man, a Tempest class could flatten that mass produced State piece of shit in a minute flat. You ever seen GalNet? My pa lets me watch the Egger videos sometimes, straight feeds from combat drones showing what the ships really do. Those things don't stand a chance when you get out in the real world, with pirates and killers."

He laughed to himself, his voice had an air of maturity for his age, probably due to his build. The gallente glanced over with a smile, the young matari kid noticing his observer's amusement from a distance and eyeing him with a shrug.

The quieter of the Caldari kids shook his head as he spoke, his face frowned definatly as he swept his arm swiftly in front of him, he stepped forward toward the Brutor with almost a look of rage in his eyes, jabbing at the air as he spoke, much to the matari's amusement.

"That's a pack of shit, man pirates are no better than the Fedo's that clean the shit off the hull of an industrial. Some day I'm gonna be out there killing them all, they're gonna know the fucking name of Kekral Inama. They're gonna run from my missiles and hide, all of em."

He turned back to his Caldari brothers, as if addressing a board of directors, pacing as he spoke. The matari behind him could barely subdue his laughter.

"I got all those fuckers marked out, a list of names I'm going after. I'll kill em all, just you wait."

The Brutor once again cought his attention as he spoke, laughter in his voice.

"Sure hero, and who you gonna kill with your state issue Ibis, even if you DO pass the trials for a Pod? Man, you'll never make it out of a dock alive... who's your list of names... you even know what a pirate is?"

The other four caldari were amused by the battle of words thrown around, resting against the handrail as they talked among themselves, smiling and laughing as the two heros duked it out. The Caldari spoke up :

"Yeah man, I see em all the time on GalNet, throwing their weight around, thinking they're all the shit. I got every one of em marked down, and a Bane 'opedo with all their names on it. First I'm goin' for that Tekka guy, he's gonna feel the pain for makin the state look so bad. Then I'm goin for Tbone, he's gonna get it too. Then I'm savin the most pleasureable till last. I'm goin for Verone, and his bitch wingman woman. They'll all die sooner or later, and I'm comin home a rich man with a distinguished service medal and a crapload of Credits."

The gallente's smile broadened as he listened, the Matari child's bellowing laughter drawing attention from bystanders and passing commuters on the wide catwalk.

"You think you even got a chance? Those guys would tear you a new ass just by looking at you man, I've seen some of the stuff all three have been involved with, you'd never get past the first one, quit bullshittin' man. Not even a tempest could flatten those guys."

The first Caldari kid spoke up again, his peers egging him on as he did

"Whatever man, most of the Republic's fleet is built from the leftovers of everyone else anyway. Have you see the state of some of the trash they call ships? Man, they'd never pass a flight check in the State Navy."

The four other Caldari kids roared with laughter as the gallente kept his distance smiling at the war of words, knowing that one day the war between these kids would probably be fought with cruise missiles and heavy artilliery. The Matari continued.

"You wanna go threatening the wife of a known murderer, man gimme a break. Ethan Verone would board your ship and cut your head off before you could get outta there alive. You hear about the last guy who threatened his woman? He cut off his fingers so I hear, all of em, and sent him on his way. Told him if he ever come back he'd kill his whole family."

The larger of the Caldari kids gave the dark skinned Brutor a playful shove, speaking as he did so :

"I'll kill em all Rufo, and one day when you're going down in flames and the sticky tape holding your Tempest together starts to tear off, I'll be there to pick up your wreckage and sell it to Perkone so they can recycle it into cans for Starsi. Hell I'll even tractor in your pod and sell you to the Imperial navy as a dockhand, you'd do good lifting boxes with a vitoc habit, Mr Muscles!"

The Caldari group all burst into roaring laughter simoultanelously, throwing their heads back as the sucked in the freshly air-conditioned atmopshere high up on the catwalk, probably a lot different to that which the dock workers below were breathing.

The Gallente shook his head as he watched an automated loading crane thunder by, suspended from the ceiling by cablework thicker than a human torso, it's cargo swinging somewhere below out of sight. He knew what was coming and he was right.

No sooner had the Caldari got his final words out and began to laugh the Brutor extended an arm, his vice like grip tightening around the young Caldari's throat as he pushed him towards the edge of the catwalk. The gallente looked over, grinning broadly as she shook his head. Rufo moved his dark skinned face close to Kekral's has he hung his head and upper torso over the edge of the vast cavern below, the young Civire's feet clean off the ground as his hands scrabbled for grip around the broad powerful wrist that encircled his throat. His friends watched on.

"Some day, ya caldari fucker I'm gonna be shootin' at you. And you're gonna feel the pain. It's gonna be like this when you ship comes apart around you and you stop mockin' me. You're gonna beg me to stop. Hear me, ya bastard?"

"Ru...Fo.."

Kekral's face began to turn blue as the Gallente stood upright from his resting position against the frame, ambling towards the group slowly.

"Rufo, I... c... breathe, you..."

Rufo looked down at the pale Caldari's eyes, filled with tears and fear. His own were burning, almost singeing the skin off the face of the insolent bastard who'd mocked his bloodline, and him.

A lightly tanned, well manicured hand softly encircled Rufo's wrist and a voice came from beside him, soft and heavily accented with Gallentean.

"Let him down, I think you've done enough."

Rufo looked up at the Gallente, not much taller than himself, maybe 5'9, 5'10 or so as he let loose of the Kekral's throat, causing him to slump to the floor, clutching at his neck and gasping for air as his peers crowded to his aid.

Rufo looked up at the Gallente, his face partly obscured by the cap he wore as he spoke.

"Mister, don't report me to the security, the guy had me goin' all day and he won't let up..."

"I'm not gonna rat on you Rufo, I see stuff like this all the time... Plus, I'd hardly want to walk into the security office and tell em anything, with my track record."

The Gallente beamed from under the hat, white teeth shining in the darkness as he glanced down at the confused Brutor.

"I'll cut you a deal kid, eh? You don't tell em about me, I don't tell em about you, how's that sound?"

Rufo looked even more puzzled than before as he spoke warily.

"What you mean, mister?"

The gallente smiled, unbuttoning his long black coat and sliding one side of it behind his arm to reveal a 10.5mm caliber Caldari Navy Infantry issue automatic pistol in a pancake holster on the left side of his chest. That was not what cought Rufo's eyes as the coat parted revealing the Gallente's attire.

The jump suit worn by a pod pilot is what cought is eye, but this one was different. Black, with a scarlet stripe a couple of inches wide around the waist, the belt buckle emblazened with the corporate logo of known Exremist Pirate corp "Veto".

Rufo took a step back, his eyes tracking up to the gallente's smiling face, stopping only to realise the name on the armored breastplate of the suit. "Verone, Ethan".

By now the caldari kids were sure their assaulted friend was going to live, and had turned their attention to the new member of the party. They stood silently, eyeing up the Gallente as he spoke to Rufo.

"You know, you did pretty good there... they were what, 4 on one, and you still creamed the one you wanted to get. I like that."

His accent was still heavy, but he spoke with a soft, calm voice.

Rufo began to grin, his head held high as the four Caldari kids joined him at his side, Kekral still rubbing his throat, which was now reddened because of the heavy grip.

Ethan smiled as he spoke, glancing across at the young matari.

"You'll make it one day Rufo, and when you do I recon you're going to be a hell of a pilot with that kind of agression. That's the problem you see..."

He eyed up the four Caldari who listened in in anticpation.

"...people like these four are all mouth, no balls my friend. They'll talk..."

Ethan glanced to Kekral as he spoke, his eyes searching his expression as a loading hoist rumbled past behind him, the catwalk vibrating as he continued.

"They'll talk, but when they come face to face with what they talk about, they lose it."

Ethan smiled as he removed his cap, confirming his identity with the presentation of his characteristic pink fringe, constrasted against the rest of his deep brown hair.

"Keep doing what you do, Rufo, and one day you're going to make an excellent pilot."

He reached inside his coat, fishing around in the lining as he smiled, producing a four inch long flickknife. Careful fingers removed it from it's wrapping, the black ivory like hilt embossed in crimson with the Veto Corp logo.

Kekral jumped in his uneasyness as Ethan flicked open the knife with a defined click, holding it in his palm as he offered it into the view of Rufo. The blade was similar to that of a combat knife, serrated on the reverse side and painfully sharp on the front with a cuved tip. It also had the Veto logo diamond etched into it's surface.

Ethan turned to Kekral as he spoke, still with the knife in front of Rufo.

"And you, you need to rethink your attitude and cut the arrogance. A smart mouth is nice. But a smart and acidic mouth will get you killed. I was gonna let him drop you over the edge there, but I recon if you're going to come after me in a few years, well... I'd rather take care of you myself kid."

The gallente replaced his hat as he smiled to Rufo, buttoning up the front of his coat. He wiped the knife down with a hankerchief before snapping it shut, and holding it by the hinge end in the hankerchief, offered it to the matari child as he spoke. Kekral looked uneasy, his eyes cast down to the floor as he traced the outline of a random shape into the cold steel with the tip of his foot.

"Take it, you've earned it Rufo. Along with my respect. If you decide to take up the life of an Egger, and feel that working for me is something you'd enjoy... Well, I think you're resourceful enough to find me."

Verone smiled as he glanced at Rufo, the four Caldari silent, awestruck as he reached forward and obtained the knife. He glanced at it, gripping it tightly in his palm as he smiled broadly.

"Oh I'll be an Egger some day, just you watch me!" Rufo beamed.

"I'm sure you will, and a hell of a one at that. Take care of yourself man."

Ethan smiled as he spoke, and turned on his heal to walk, the trails of his long coat whipping around behind him. He stopped after a couple of steps.

"Hey Rufo..."

The Brutor looked up from examining the knife with a broad grin, the four caldari crowded around him repeated his movement.

"It was only one finger... and he was Amarrian... he fucking deserved it."

Verone grinned, replacing his hat and winking to the young Matari as he turned to walk away, Rufo beaming back.

Seconds later he had vanished, the tails of the long coat trailing behind him as he dispersed into a myriad of dock workers and commuters on the catwalk, leaving the five children to think... and wonder.

The Black Envelope. Izo's Story, Part 1.

The Black Envelope.

“When did things get this bad?” Izo asked himself over and over again. “How could this have ever happened?” This one single question repeated itself endlessly, and it had done ever since he’d escaped them. “When did it start?!” The frustration was incomprehensible; a rage filled him as the ship he flew in began to shake, as it was descending out of warp. Izo began punching keys, setting a course to Essence, and to a new life.

- A few weeks before. -

Chapter One; An Unusual Meeting.


“Excuse me, sir?” asked a tall, smartly dressed waiter, with etiquette to match. “Are you Mr. Azlion?”

“I am,” replied Izo, shortly. “I’m a little busy… What is it?” Izo had not turned from the mobile console in front of him.

“There is a man here to see you, sir.” responded the waiter, ever polite. “He’s very persistent.” The tall man looked worried that he might have to disappoint the stern Gallente stood over by the door. Sweating slightly, and feeling uncomfortable, the waiter repeated; “Very persistent.”

Izo let out a long sigh, before tapping a few keys on his small, personal console, and closing the screen. “Very well, send him over.” Since Izo had become part of the family legacy – more to his father’s wishes than his own – he had become quite obnoxious. Few men could trouble him, and very few would wish to regardless. The corporation could clean any mess, so generally, people stayed out of his way.

“Mr. Izo Azlion, son of Ariavar Azlion?” said the heavily built Gallente, as Izo turned towards the man, before suddenly feeling slightly threatened. Izo took a second to judge the man, in his long deep green lined black suit, with a high collar meeting in the middle, with jet black hair with hints of grey showing, sweeping back to just below his shoulders, and eyes that contained a mystery locked behind a thousand doors, in their deep green that seemed to match the very suit he was wearing. He was slightly taller than Izo, as he stood to meet the man properly and being shorter than people had always bothered him, despite the young entrepreneur not being all that short, at six foot two inches tall, he had always enjoyed being able to stand above many people.

“Mr. Azlion?” the man had repeated, Izo blinked and shook his head slightly, before offering a hand in greeting.

“I am he, and who are you?” he replied, arm outstretched.

“I am a potential client. You need offer me no hand, nor know my name.” replied the unfriendly man, responding to the handshake as a needless gesture. “Take a seat.” He added, gesturing toward the chair Izo had just been sat upon. Izo felt uneasy, and didn’t make a sound, but simply sat down and waited for the older man, at around his forties, to speak again.

“Mr. Azlion I have an offer for you. I have followed you, your past and your dreams in life very closely over the last few years. I have seen you throw tantrums in your youth and I have seen you accomplish many great things. Congratulations on your pilots license, by the way. But I also have seen how you hate to be part of what your father calls the “family legacy,” and I am here to give you a way out from that.” The Gallente man said, leaning back in the soft leather chairs of the bar, waiting for a response. He was sure to get one.

“How do you know my name? How do you know my lifestyle and what could you possibly offer me that is more valuable than the wealth I currently have?” The impetuous personality that was Izo was beginning to tire of the riddles.

“The proposition I have for you, Mr. Azlion, is worth more than any amount of Interstellar Kredits imaginable. It is to be set free. But we cannot talk of it here. Read this, meet me at another date.” The Gallente man stood up sharply, the steel legs of the chair scraped loudly against the marbled patterned surface, but few people took attention to it. From the inside of his suit jacket, the man removed a black envelope and placed it aside the personal computer that Izo had been working on, and the work on the computers screen that seemed so important moments ago, was reduced to mere paperwork. The Gallente smiled a sly smile, before walking off; his shoes could be heard tapping on the floor as he walked with a slow but long stride. As the door slid shut and the strange man was out of sight, Izo stood up and gathered his belongings, glancing around the bar for any unusual faces, before walking with perhaps a noticeable haste about him, black envelope in hand.

Chapter Two; A Confusing Opportunity.

Traveling home, chauffer driven of course, Izo reflected on what the man had said. “I am here to give you a way out.” He had said. “A way out?” the thought spiraled round in his mind like that of an all too often seen Quafe advertisement. Without noticing, Izo had put his hand to his left side, tempted to find out just what the envelope contained…but not here. He would wait.

Rain began pouring from the dark skies, the sun had set, its deep red sank into the seas far west of where he lived. Pedestrians ran from shop to shop, hoping to find sanctuary from the soaking downfall that happened all to often. Izo stared out towards the people trapped in the repetitive “nine to five” routine and sighed. The black stretch pulled up outside the tall apartment block, and Izo slumped back into his seat, and slowly turned his head towards the direction of the driver, who was glancing back towards him.

”Sir?” he commented, probably gesturing that Izo should get out, as his shift was now over.

“Yeah… I know.” The young man ran his hands through his short black hair, and stepped out of the limousine into a puddle, and the drenching rain. “Ah shit…” he said, slamming the car door behind him, then walking towards the main automatic doors of the huge, Caldari grey, apartment block. He clutched the envelope tightly.

Later that night, he could bare it no more. Despite the determination to resist, he had it in his hands again, and was tearing the paper that encased what could be no more than junk mail. Out of the black envelope Izo pulled a high quality piece of paper, the texture was like that of a Wedding invitation, the text, though, was no light hearted offering. Nor was it a demand. Izo read it aloud, alone in his apartment.

Mr. Azlion,

Our eyes have watched you for some time now. They have seen you develop from a child, into a pre-formed template of your father's creation.

We have seen you succumb to the trials and tribulations of the Caldari lifestyle, a model citizen, something your father always wished you to be.

I realize how you feel Izo, and I am here to give you an opportunity. Our family is here to embrace this... life you lead, and show you true freedom.

Freedom without morals or boundaries, freedom that is your own and of your own creation. In our family, you chose your own path to walk, and your own destiny. We give you the right that so many lose at birth. The right to free will.

I, Mr. Azlion, am here to show you the door that leads to this freedom. I can also provide you with the key. It is you who needs to open the door and step outside.

I offer you a life outside of the restrictions of the Caldari State. I offer you a life as a freelancer, and a part of my family.

If this offer appeals to you, you can find us at Haine V - Moon 11 - Ishukone Corporation Factory, I will meet you there in person to discuss this offer of complete, limitless freedom.

All you need do is dock... We’ll find you.

Warmest Regards,

Ethan Verone
Chief Executive Officer
Veto



The rain pattered down upon the large windows, as Izo placed the paper upon the coffee table next to him. The words hung above him, like a carrot. “Freedom,” as the letter had said, confused Izo. Contemplatively rubbing his typically large Caldari jaw, Izo wondered what he could ever mean, and decided that, in the morning, he would ask his father. Reading through the smoothly written, short but enticing letter over and over, Izo began to feel drowsy, and before long, simply slept in his smart attire, facing the window and the increasing violence of the storm outside.

The sun arose, and with a bright glare, it climbed above the skyline of the city that stretched as far as the eyes could see. Especially at 5:53am. The intense red glow that was the star blazed through the windows of Izo’s apartment. Awakening with a yawn and a stiff neck, not to mention a crumpled suit, Izo stood and cracked his neck from side to side, trying to waken his exhausted body. Glancing at his watch he mumbled at the time, and began to dress.

Chapter Three; A Broken Heart.

Izo headed to work with a certain determination. Chauffer driven, as per usual, he arrived at the impressively clean factory five minutes before work officially began. He knew his father would already be here, and with the envelope once again grasped in his hand, he headed up towards his fathers office – right next door to his own. Without knocking, he pushed the button, sliding back the silver and wooden door, and walked in.

“Father I must speak with you.” He said, respectfully, something he had always had for his father, who had been extensively involved with his education and maturity over the years. As any good father should, thought Izo.

Looking up from some paperwork, he smiled at his son. Ariavar had always been proud of the way he’d bended his son into the family business. Before his father’s intervention, Izo had always wanted to leave. Recurring horror stories of how people that moved away failed, or were secretly hunted down for abandoning their state, bent Izo to the will of his father, to the will of the Corporation. “What is it, my boy?”

“A tall Gallente man approached me at a bar I frequent last night, and handed me this.” Passing the note over, the boy – at least still in his father’s eyes – Izo sat in the chair opposite Ariavar. Watching as his father read the short letter, Izo noticed something change in his father’s expression. A hint of anger could be seen in his eyes, though he tried hard to deceive his son about it.

“And what about it? It is no more than a pathetic lure. You’re the son of a rich businessman, deeply involved in high tech weapons productions, what’s to say someone isn’t trying to lure you into a trap, to potentially your own death.” His father claimed, with a stern look upon his face, before standing and walking around his desk towards a locked cabinet. “Your sister left for the flight school academy today…”

“…I decided I’m going to go and meet the man.” Izo said, cutting his father off, as Ariavar fiddled with an old archaic key, unlocking the contents of the miss-fitting cabinet.

“Your what?!” his father shouted, as he turned round, with something within his hand.

“I’m going to fly out tonight and meet the fellow. The journey should only take a few days but it might mean I can…” his father cut him off. Pulling him out of his chair and thrusting him against a wall, feet off the ground.

“You will do no such thing.” He spoke, quietly but enraged. Izo looked into his eyes and saw what could be a rage or a fear, but he could not be sure. “I will not have my son walk to his own death!” But Izo just hung there, confused, overwhelmed by his father’s strength. The small case that had dropped in the moment was now open, containing a small, engraved knife. No longer than a five inch blade, and a handle just big enough for a single hand to grasp, it added to the confusion. “No son of mine will leave the State; you will not tarnish the family name! Did you not remember what I taught you!?” he yelled, his loud booming voice filling the large office and no doubt attracting attention outside.

“You taught me fairytales, father!” Izo retaliated, still pinned against the wall, “You taught me how to be contained by the State and the authorities that patrol it!”

Arivar dropped his son, and turned back towards his desk. “You know not of how much I wanted to protect you, of how much effort I put in to have you follow my footsteps! And for what?! To be betrayed?! To be left behind like an old expendable asset?” His slammed his hand down on his desk, and with a loud bang and vibration, a cup of coffee shuddered off and shattered on the clean marble floor. “If you go and follow this pathetic venture of yours, you may never come back, and I will not support you any longer.”

Izo stood still, reflecting on the information so ruthlessly passed to him. Why was his father seemingly so afraid to let his son take a simple trip into Gallente space? Whatever it meant, he was going to find out, and to do so, it meant leaving. He spun rapidly, with nothing more than a “Fine,” and began walking back to the door. He heard his father stand and walk around his desk, half expecting to be pulled back and pressed against another wall. The footsteps stopped but shortly after the sound of metal cutting through air passed his ear, and in the metal that acted as the doorframe, the point of the forged titanium blade had sunk itself into the frame.

“Your sister told me to give that to you. She left early this morning. Her flight was at six. Said to say she loves you. At least someone does, huh? I wonder how she’d feel to know you think nothing of your family name… Now leave.” Ariavar Azlion, son of Xri Azlion, turned his back on the son he wished so hard to be proud of, and walked back towards his desk, and the view of the city. Meanwhile, Izo had pulled hard on the blade and gazed at it as his father had told him. The blade was of a waved design, and the hilt fitted comfortably into his hand, as if it had been designed for him, but how, he had no idea. There was also an inscription round the solid base of the hilt. It read; “Do what makes you happy. Love, Sari.” He left the room with no more than a sigh, and placed the blade within his pocket.

Cleared for publication by: Ander

The Birth of a Pirate

I know who I am. I know that I exist in this world. I have known this for the past two days... Because two days ago I awoke as a clone. But who was I before then? I cannot tell you... for that is lost to me now.

Something happened, something wrong. Terribly wrong. It didnt happen as it was suppose to, I was suppose to 'die' and awaken in another body, a body exactly the same, though this body is missing something. Something important. My memory.
What happened to cause this? An accident?

This is an answer I will never know, as all of the scientists around me are dead. I killed them, I killed them because they wouldnt tell me what went wrong. They wouldnt tell me, so I killed them.

They are dead... I might as well be too.
Was it wrong of me? It dosnt feel like it should be. That is what I felt when I killed the first one, so I didnt stop, eventually I found a sidearm, and it was much easier... Much faster... It was only a small medical facility.

It is silent now. I can hear my pulse. I sit at the porthole and stare out into space. Who was I before this tragedy? This 'other person' as I have come to refer to myself as, with a cold grin. Was I like this before? It dosnt matter now. I have become something else.
"Something without a conscience apparently" I say to the dead around me.

Do I want to fix this? Was the other person better then what I am now? I look down at my body. Is it this clone?

I find my folder. It dosnt say much, just who I am, along with useless medical information. It tells me my name is Sebu. Great, who cares? I dont.
Something strange jumps off the page at me. A numbered clone designation. This information is obviously two days out of date. Why wouldnt those bastards update it?
As I ponder this I realize I have been wandering, lost in thought. I find myself in the clone storage section of this structure. I am standing infront of a glass pod, containing a clone. I stare into my own eyes... for the clone is me.

I dont panic, though I find this strange. Why is there still a clone of me?

I put the gun to my temple and pull the trigger. I open my eyes to brainmatter splattering on the glass. Mine. I feel more then hear the thump of my body hitting the floor.
The fluid drains, the glass dome opens, my new body is weak, I slump down to my knees in a growing puddle of my own blood.

It is clear to me now, I still dont remember who I was before two days ago. But I understand that I did not die two days ago and awaken as a disfunctional clone. As there are destroyed implants sliding slowly down the glass along with the brainmatter and pieces of skull.

Cleared for publication by: Ander

Waiting is the Hardest Part

He dreamt of the sea.

As a boy he dreamt long and hard about those stories he heard. The tales long forgotten, passed around with the uncertainty of oral traditions that should have died at the closing of the wormhole. Those tales of men who, countless centuries ago, waged war on anyone who came between them and their love - the sea. The sea meant freedom. And now the sea is black and instead of waves, there are stars. Instead of storms, there are magnetic fields and blackholes. Instead of treasure galleys, mining haulers. Countless days and nights he gazed, ever upwards, waiting for that time to meet his bride to be - the black ocean.

And now the sea seems less glorious. Instead of leading men into battle, capturing the boats of lesser men, and imbibing in the treasures of space he was here - mopping up rats who meddled in empire space, running wine to Federation executives born into wealth. Left to wait. Luckily, this is a man of patience, one who has learned the lessons of history. Soon enough his own Calico Jack would fly and the seas would fear him. Just a few more weeks in this pod. A few more days soaking up databits and old-fashioned experience. Just a few more days.

'Yo ho, yo ho...'


Cleared for publication by: Ander
Good luck :-)