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EVE Fiction

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"Escalation" - Pod and Planet Fiction Contest submission

Myrhial Arkenath
Caldari State
#1 - 2012-12-01 18:07:26 UTC
How could this have happened? It made no sense. All that was clear to him was what had taken place. He'd opened fire on what his systems identified as a Sansha invader, only to have the fleet commander shout down the communication line at him to check his fire immediately. Double-checking his target, he responded that he was firing upon a Deltole Tegmentum and wondered if the priority order had been changed. "You're firing upon a friendly, cease right now!", rung in his mind. Before he could will the guns of his Megathron to stop firing, the target was gone. He watched the spiked hull breach on several points before an explosion tore it to shreds. And then it all started to escalate.

First of all, he saw the wreck transform. It happened fast, like he'd blinked and suddenly there was something else there. This wasn't the wreck he'd seen moments before, the Neocom identified it as having been a Guardian. One of their Guardians, to be more precise. And with this one down, the logistics chain started to fall apart, while the defending ships groaned under the incoming fire. "Bail out! All pilots to evacuation point Alpha. We've lost the fight.", the orders came in. Noticing that his ship now too began to take a pounding, he initiated warp and escaped the scene.

"Everyone, set course for home base, dock your ships for maintenance and get out of your pods. You're to remain on station until further orders are given, take some r&r after this debacle. Except you, pilot Daniau Lestrange. You will meet me in my office on the double as soon as you've cleaned yourself up.". And then silence followed. The commander's icy attitude only meant one thing: she was furious. Following suit with those who had left no moment to pass for them to get scolded, he'd warped to the docking approach.

He paced down his quarters now. The commander would be getting impatient soon. She'll send security after him within the next ten minutes. And that would only make him look more guilty. Cursing the whole situation, he lamented how this had been a fatal blow to an increasing streak of bad events. One that had him resort to Sooth Sayer just to be able to sleep. But he'd not taken any close to the operation, and he most certainly was not asleep in his pod, or even at this time. A jolt of pain when squeezing his arm told him that much. It had to have been something else, but what?

A week or two ago the last event had taken place, the one that got him into narcotics. Whenever it was quiet, it was as if he started to hear communication signals in his mind. At first he had dismissed it as being a side-effect of not getting enough sleep to begin with, but then it became all weird. Instead of hearing what seemed to be comm chatter, which could be explained by the fact he spent quite some time in the pod and thus had grown accustomed to this kind of 'noise', the chatter started to become directed at him. Or about him. Like someone was having a conversation with a third party and neither cared he was there to hear it. And what the voices said was equally unnerving. They talked about the Master and his promised land, and the salvation of mankind. Often the word 'true' was used and stressed as well. It had taken him a while to catch on to the fact that his voices sounded remarkably like the Sansha that the corporation he was part of had been relentlessly hunting down since they openly started to raid planets across the cluster. Not only that, but in addressing him personally, they referred to him as being chosen and wondered if he could hear them.

At first the phenomena had caused him mild amusement. His daily occupation, coupled with fatigue, had manifested itself into a funny sorts of psychosis. He knew this was not uncommon in the case of sleep deprivation, and going on just a few hours a day, if he even took any at all, was harsh even on a pod pilot. For all the advances technology had made, this remained an essential waste of good time, as he liked to call it. But then it started to turn against him. Deciding to take some shifts off to catch some shut-eye, the voices snuck in as soon as he was quietly in bed, and started to grow louder. He tried to respond, aloud or in his mind, even focusing his mind as if he were in the pod and sending out a mental signal, but there was no reception. After three days of fruitlessly trading in shifts to try and get sleep that was never granted to him, he'd contacted a baseliner who was known to distribute regular narcotics to capsuleers. He could have simply asked his superiors for actual combat boosters, and avoid the risk of getting some bad product, but as synth sooth sayer wasn't something he would normally use there might be questions. And the last thing he wanted was to miss more shifts because supposedly his neurons were misfiring.

The sooth sayer helped. He learned to dose it so it would be enough to knock him out, but not enough to affect his daily performance. This also meant he probably wouldn't need another batch, as he hoped getting the sleep he lacked would quiet his mind and chase the phantoms within it away. They had proven to be stubborn, as every time he tried to go without they had returned. Until yesterday, that is. He'd tried to sleep without taking any as his supply was nearly gone, and unlike before the voices didn't come. He had wondered if they were tricking him up until slumber overtook him and he had awoken amazingly refreshed and well on time for the shift that he'd now just returned from. The one where it had all turned really bad.

CEO of Ghost Festival :: Executor of Naraka.

Myrhial Arkenath
Caldari State
#2 - 2012-12-01 18:07:40 UTC
Frustrated, he slammed his first against the metal wall of his quarters. Why him? He loved his corporation and he took pleasure in his occupation. He'd been almost happy when the Sansha had suddenly come out and shown what they had secretly been preparing for, as it had given him a reason to leave his dreary occupation as a mission runner for the Federation Navy. It had felt as if the jobs had started to repeat themselves, like the cyclic nature of history on a smaller scale. Fetch this from there and deliver there, shoot Caldari or Serpentis or sometimes those Angels who's beautiful vessels he secretly regretted destroying, blow up a structure and rescue something or someone from the wreckage and so on. Almost like the simulations during capsuleer training, except that he knew that reality did not repeat itself to the letter like virtual reality would. Yet it had been enough for him to resign and ally himself with a new group of eggers, one that shared his passion for thwarting incursions. Some were in it for the pay, others for moral reasons, yet others because the combat tactics involved were generally of a higher level and required them to work together as one unit, something which is ironic for those who use technology to replace what conventionally would take a bridge crew.

That the pay was grand he had learned soon enough. During his first month with the corporation, an officer had approached him to check up on his progress and handle the formalities of transitioning from recruit to full member. While his own account balance started to look like something he'd never dared to dream of, he had received a small package as a gift for his exceptional performance. Not like he had really tried to do anything special, he just enjoyed his new lifestyle so much it was a pleasant byproduct of his drive. Opening it he had found a set of implants inside. Not just any set, as he already had the best learning implants in his skull, together with top notch hardwirings. No, there were the high-grade variant of the so-called Slave set, a kit of implants that made the armor on one's ship even more effective and thus able to withstand more impact.

Curious really, how everything had been about the Sansha since he came here. Or was it? A sudden sense of dread overtook him, like the temperature in the room suddenly dropped. A Sansha vessel that turned out to have been a friendly one, Sansha communications in his head, Sansha implants residing in his skull. It was there it had all started, those damned implants. He'd felt off ever since he had those in. But he had blamed it on account of having slightly diminished senses in return for his ship being able to take a larger beating. After all, CONCORD had approved of the use of Slave implants together with other pirate technology. Something like using their technology against them where deemed safe. Just like those Machariels, Vindicators and Nightmares in fleets that preferred to counter damage with shields rather than deflecting it by armor.

A sudden beating on the door interrupted his internal train of thought. That was security no doubt, come to take him in for questioning. It was too late, he'd run out of time and he had no proof what so ever to defend his realizations. Looking at the low table where he had left the remaining sooth sayer, his eyes fell on his sidearm. Banging at the door again, this time louder, and something was being shouted. No doubt a warning they'd override the lock if he didn't open immediately. In a few swift steps he was at the table, and the gun within his hand, pointing it at the door. As the door swung open and security staff gained entrance to his refuge, he suddenly felt like he was no longer in control of himself. While his conscious mind filled with panic, he unwillingly moved his arm and rested the barrel of the gun against his temple, and without further delay pulled the trigger. Before the pain had even registered, his now lifeless body fell to the floor.


"The autopsy confirms that there were traces of the sooth sayer drug in his blood. As you will be able to read in the formal report, the tests we ran indicate he'd been a user for some time, as his body shows sign of prologued exposure.", stated the pathologist. "While all this leads to the logical conclusion that his abnormal behavior in recent weeks, up to the climax before his suicide, was caused by this drug, I'd like to just bring up the Slave implants in his head. While I cannot present any proof in regards to this, it is an odd coincidence that someone who mistakes a friendly for a Sansha flies around with their hardware in his head.". The DED agent in charge of the case looked at the woman before bursting out laughing. "Yeah, right, and I suppose next you will tell me the Sansha ordered him to turn on his brethren, and then to take his own life?", he mocked. Before the pathologist could even given an answer to that, the agent thanked her for her work and put away the autopsy report. "Damn Sansha", he thought to himself as he walked out. "Making everyone paranoid. One would almost start to fancy things when exposed to such nonsense. Next someone will start to claim they've seen a Jovian. Hah, that'd be refreshing, we've not had one of those crazies in a while.". And just so, the case of Daniau Lestrange was closed, archived as yet another capsuleer who'd become a victim of the lifestyle.

CEO of Ghost Festival :: Executor of Naraka.