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A Wolf in Snake's Clothing - II

Kristof Roxton
Rosyme Industrial Federation
#1 - 2016-09-11 11:26:48 UTC
Clellinon VI, Obray, Verge Vendor
He awoke three hours later. Mya’s body was pressed to his beneath the silk sheets. He couldn’t sleep. His thoughts were not on her. He kissed her shoulder gently and deftly extracted himself from the bed. He made his way into the lounge ensuring that the door closed behind him.
He switched on the wall viewscreen and several options immediately popped up. The news channel was focusing on a recent senate vote to increase the tax on ice harvesting. He ignored that and skipped over the repair report to the Agent Finder. He found the one he was looking for, Seville Eyron. The Career Agent had procured some lucrative beginners work and had even provided him with ships, skill books and modules but from the stories he had heard from both his mother and father he knew his time with this Agent was nearing its end.
Seville had left a message to contact him, so he did. The Agent’s face appeared on the viewscreen almost immediately.

The Agent was a blond man of Gallentean descent in a crisp dark blue Federation Naval uniform. The Agent looked tired but his job was demanding at all hours and he was paid handsomely for it.
“Kristof Roxton, good to see you again.” Seville said with a smile forced from fatigue
“You have a mission for me Seville?” Kristof asked.
“I have finally tracked down Wolf to a deadspace zone in the nearby Luse system. He is still flying with Serpentis and we believe they may have a base in the deadspace zone. I have sent the co-ordinates to your NeoCom. Obviously you will receive the usual bounties on any Serpentis Rats you take out. I have been authorised to pay out 100,000 ISK for the destruction of Wolf and a further 140,000 ISK if you do it within 5 hours.”
“Consider it done.”

Kristof did not hesitate in pressing the accept button and then he terminated the connection. He would finally get to deal with Wolf once and for all, the raider who fled the solar energy array massacre.

Kristof did not know if the administrators at CAS really believed they were duping the Capsuleers. Perhaps they thought the Capsuleers didn’t talk to one another or perhaps the secret behind Wolf was not a secret. Certainly the majority of Capsuleers seemed to know.

Kristof’s hands ran over the keypad on the table and a holographic image of a dark haired man appeared projected from the table. Kristof sat on the comfy chair and leant in to study the data that was displayed in a black holo-window next to the image. The data feed came from the metal sphere that was wired into the table’s mainframe. The sphere was an elementary datacore that Kristof had picked up from a data site in one of his early career missions.

Wolf was a hardened killer with many kills under his belt including some careless Capsuleers. On the surface the official Gallente Federation files listed his bloody service to the Serpentis Corporation. Under normal circumstances Kristof would not have looked any deeper but a chance conversation with a Born Again after the battle at the solar energy array made him dig a little deeper.
The Born Again had been patiently listening to Kristof’s exploits and when the subject of the pirate Wolf arose the Born Again blithely stated that this would be his fifth time in killing Wolf.
Kristof’s interest was piqued and on returning to his quarters he had set to work on the elementary datacore and he soon found what he was looking for, it was a backdoor into the Gallente Federation mainframe. He had to thank the Federation for training him in the art of hacking. The gateway to the live Federation mainframe would be more heavily guarded but Kristof was no slouch in this regard. With the help of the protocols in the elementary datacore he soon found a way in.
It had only taken him seven hours of searching before he found the file, it was titled Project Wolf. So the Gallentean Federal big wigs were not very imaginative in their project naming, but Kristof wasn’t complaining.
The file had been created over two centuries ago and detailed a training program to help new Capsuleers get to grips with combat. The files had not been updated in a long while so Kristof made a copy to the elementary datacore and disconnected from the backdoor.

The test subject in the files was codenamed Wolf. If he had ever had a real name it was not recorded here. The man was a Serpentis Rat that had been captured by the Federation and implanted with certain behavioural chips that made him obedient, the sort of circuitry that is outlawed by Gallente Federal law.
The files detailed that his consciousness was split into a mass cloning project, each clone set to follow very specific parameters that aided Capsuleers in their training. The conclusions of the project lead, a doctor Mendula Prima, went on to recommend termination of the project as the mental stability of the clones was unpredictable and several had veered off from their programming.

Kristof had read this file several times already and read it again for good measure. A quick check of the Gallente Federal Archives brought up the rather uninteresting career of doctor Prima, which ended in an unfortunate laboratory explosion. Kristof wondered briefly if that was more than coincidental but he dismissed the thought as he found that he didn’t really care. His focus returned to Wolf.

It didn’t bother him that Wolf was just a clone, one of many, and that destroying this clone would not put a stop to Project Wolf. In all honesty, immoral as it may seem to some, Project Wolf worked. This clone Wolf had been a particular annoyance to Kristof and wiping this clone out of existence would certainly be satisfying.

Lt Commander Kristof Roxton Broken Sword Initiative Corps of Engineers (OiC)

Kristof Roxton
Rosyme Industrial Federation
#2 - 2016-09-11 11:27:20 UTC
Kristof switched the viewscreen channel to the Docking Bay comms and ordered the prep of his Atron. There was no time like the present and he knew his crew could ready the ship for launch in the time it took for him to get to the docking bay. Kristof powered down the electronics and stashed the elementary datacore in a compartment in the base of the sofa. He left a note for Mya and put on a fresh set of clothes. He favoured black vest tops and combats currently so his wardrobe was mostly filled with them. Kristof headed out of his quarters in the direction of the elevator. His Atron crew would be bustling over his ship now as the elevator plunged downward to the endless tune played in every elevator in the Federation.

Finally after what felt like forever the elevator doors opened and Kristof Roxton stepped out into the bright light of the docking bay.

The frigate was of Gallente design. The Atron’s portside wing thrust out horizontally from the hull yet the starboard wing shot out downwards at a diagonal angle. It was not the prettiest of ships but it functioned. The vessel was held in an anti-grav suspension field at the end of a walkway. Kristof walked towards his ship. It was one of several ships that he owned. Since becoming a Capsuleer Kristof had travelled further than he had ever before dreamed of.

The man at the ship’s entrance snapped to attention, his blue and grey uniform was neatly pressed and his grey cap was aligned perfectly to the direction he was facing. Kristof returned the salute warily, he was still getting used to other people deferring to him in this manner.
“Mr Roxton all modules are working within capacitor limits. Ready to head out when you are installed sir.”
“Excellent Captain Roche. Let’s not waste any more time.”
“Is it Wolf sir?”
“Yes Captain.”
“Permission to inform the crew sir? They are all eager to pay him back for the array incident.”
“Granted, let’s go hunt the hunter.”

Captain Roche turned with military precision and led the way inside the ship, Kristof followed. The corridors were for the most part in darkness. They only illuminated with a soft orange glow when the internal sensors detected crew moving in them. So as Captain Roche led Kristof into the ship the way lit up before them. They quickly traversed several corridors to a private elevator which led to the heart of the ship. Captain Roche inserted his key into a slot near the elevator door and on the opposite side a panel emerged from the wall. Kristof keyed in the alpha-numerical sequence to open the panel revealing a thirty centimetre squared area filled with a grey-green gel. Kristof placed his hand onto the gels surface and let it sink in. The grey-green ooze engulfed his hand as it scanned his biometrics for identification. From above the elevator door appeared a mechanical orb which hovered over Kristof and emitted a dark green cone of light that scanned Kristof’s body.

Happy with the identification the elevator door opened. Kristof removed his hand from the gel which did not stick to him and closed the panel which receded back into the wall. The orb retreated to its alcove and Kristof stepped into the elevator. Captain Roche saluted him once more before removing his key which closed the elevator door and set it hurtling downward.

Within a minute the elevator had stopped and the doors opened into a small chamber. There was a single locker against one wall and a door which led to a decontamination area. Kristof stripped down to his grey briefs and stowed the rest of his clothes in the locker.
He headed into the decontamination chamber and once the door sealed shut behind him the chamber was flooded with a green gas that purged toxins and killed bacteria that would be harmful to him and the ship.
After a minute of exposure the gas was vented and the door opposite the one he had entered opened and Kristof walked through into a large circular chamber. His crew affectionately referred to it as the Heart of the Ship and in a sense that was true.

The hydrostatic capsule stood bathed in a cone of green light. The four meter long egg shaped capsule is what gave rise to the name Capsuleer. It was installed in the chamber, cables and metal data spikes ran from it and into recesses in the walls and ceiling where it connected to the ships systems.

As Kristof approached the small vessel a piece of the capsule’s hull separated from the bulk as it opened for him. He moved inside and sat in the black leather chair and the capsule closed around him plunging him into darkness. He didn’t need light to see what to do, he had done it enough times now. First he found the cerebral link and inserted it into the process socket embedded at the base of his neck and he relaxed leaning back in the chair. The link connected him to the capsule’s transneural burning scanner that mapped his brain ready to transmit the data back to the cloning facility should the worst occur.

A web-harness descended from the ceiling of the capsule strapping him in and a thin tube snaked downwards and entered his mouth. Like all Capsuleers he had trained his gag-reflexes so this didn’t bother him. Once inside his throat the tube expanded blocking off the airway so the tube alone was providing oxygen and it also prevented the Capsuleer from drowning. Similarly two proboscis wormed their way up his nasal passages and a visor lowered itself across his eyes.

Then the capsule began to fill up with a sickly green fluid. Kristof was quickly submerged in the ectoplasmic fluid and he could feel his synapses flare as his mind expanded into every facet of the ship. An overview appeared on the right hand side of the visor’s interior, the main area of the visor showed a view of what was outside the front of the Atron and in the bottom left of his visor were the communications channels.

Lt Commander Kristof Roxton Broken Sword Initiative Corps of Engineers (OiC)

Kristof Roxton
Rosyme Industrial Federation
#3 - 2016-09-11 11:28:38 UTC
Bottom centre of his visor showed a HUD detailing the strength of the Atron’s shields, armour and structure as well as monitoring the capacitor. To the right of the HUD were details of the modules installed on the Atron and to the left were various options to view an inventory of the cargo hold, scanning and camera options, the autopilot function and more besides. He could operate all of these things with a single thought.

For frigates like the Atron a crew was unnecessary when piloted by a Capsuleer but Kristof liked having them on board. He could feel their minds too. They were as much a part of the ship as the systems were.
The crew were exhibiting heightened levels of adrenaline, Captain Roche must have informed them of their target. Kristof sent a gentle push to Roche’s mind and the Captain ordered the frigate out of the docking bay. Kristof could feel the ship come alive as they moved towards the station’s exit. The flow of electricity around the ship was its life blood and Kristof could sense it all around him, if he chose he could redirect it to where it was needed the most or shut it down completely. There wasn’t an aspect of this ship that Kristof did not have direct control over. However he relinquished the control by choice to his crew, they were all highly skilled individuals.

The Atron sped along the designated space lane, deviation from the lane would likely end up in a spaceship collision and that wouldn’t end well. The space traffic in Clellinon was phenomenal. Systems that housed career agents were usually busy.

The frigate cleared the station perimeter and Kristof could sense urgency in the crew as they secured themselves in place. Then the female voice of the ship’s artificial intelligence announced that the ship was warping to the Stargate. Encapsulated in the ectoplasmic fluid Kristof could not feel the acceleration of the ship but the external display on his visor blurred into a vortex with a countdown display of the distance.

It took less than a minute to traverse the system and the vortex shifted to an image of the Gallente Stargate that would propel Kristof’s ship across the void that separates the stars. The length of steel hung in space like a sentinel at the edge of the system. One end of the gate boasted two large rings that glowed with an eerie blue light. The frigate moved into position for the jump lining up with the two rings that would accelerate the warp drive capabilities as the ship passed through them allowing interstellar travel.

Kristof had done this jump many times but he was looking forward to this one. This Wolf clone needed putting down and he was going to enjoy doing it. The A.I. announced the Atron was jumping and again the ship accelerated to warp. Kristof could feel a slight vibration through the ectoplasm, it was likely a fault in the microfilament network assembler, he would need to fix that when he returned.

As the ship sped into warp the overviews on Kristof’s visor blanked out for the duration and time passed quickly. It always did in warp space. As quickly as the Atron had entered warp, it reverted to normal space, this time in a different solar system powered by a red giant.

Lt Commander Kristof Roxton Broken Sword Initiative Corps of Engineers (OiC)

Ragged Starkiller
Minmatar Secret Service
#4 - 2016-09-13 12:13:14 UTC
Very nice mixture of storytelling and world mechanics.