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"Adapt or Die" an EVE Short Story, by Ronnie Rose

Author
Minmatar Republic
#1 - 2017-02-13 03:08:38 UTC
Adapt or Die

Vove Apyson slammed his fists onto the conference table when Stie Alliacis broke the news to him, "The freighter you were waiting on, the Anares, she didn't make it. I'm sorry Vove. It's a big lost, its one that will cross Santimona's desk when she hears about it."

Vove's head hung low over the table, his shoulders hunched, "How did it happen?" he breathed.

"She was tackled at the gate to Ladistier. Then three Cyclone battle cruisers made quick work of her," Stie's voice warbled from the encrypted comms as he continued. "They must have known about her and planned an ambush..."

He followed up with another question, "Who was the corporation responsible?"

"Does it even matter?" snapped Stie. Silence filled in for Vove's response. "Look, the capsuleers act with impunity to their actions, and CONCORD turns a blind eye slapping them with a marginal penalty to their security status. Those capsuleers they don't care. They rarely come into high sec anyway, but know we operate across New Eden in low, null and even wormhole space. Our commerce is dying, Vove."

"The Anares loss is not about commerce, Stie. This is something else and its going to set the entire Sisterhood research back years. We lost a key piece of Upwell data stored on board - that was not easy to get our hands on...damn it..."

Silence again filled the space between them. Then Stie broke in - "I'll send you my report in a few hours. I'm sorry. Aeechee station out."

Vove leaned on the table for another moment, his thoughts were turning cartwheels. He's right. The capsuleers are at war with each other, constantly, and we're in the middle of them. And CONCORD? What a joke...anyone can bribe them so they can look away and let them slaughter each other in high sec. "Legal war, bah!" he exhaled.

Straightening up, he turned towards the observation deck in his office. The view of the red glowing nebula, light years away from where he stood in J-CIVJ VII filled the entire window from end-to-end. Nurseries for the stars.., he bagan to wander in his mind. Then the soft toned chimes preceding an intercom call announced itself, and the sentient computer, Aura, spoke from out of the air, "Mr. Apyson, a secure call from Director Sarpati's office is awaiting you. How shall I respond?"

We're not here to change the game, we're here to change YOUR game

Minmatar Republic
#2 - 2017-02-13 03:09:34 UTC  |  Edited by: Ronnie Rose
Wow, news travels fast, he thought. "I'll take the call." Vove strode back over to the table and touched its surface with his index finger. The director's image from the waist up appeared suspended above the table's black reflective top. "Santi, I wish I could say the pleasure is mine," he said as he sat down.

She grimaced, its her tell when she is about to discuss bad news. "The Anares. I heard about it."

"Did Stie tell you?" he asked.

"No. CONCORD did."

Vove pursed his lips in disagreement. Santimona continued, "As much as you dislike CONCORD, Vove, they have their uses." Then she sighed, "Anyway, it does not matter. The report was in my queue as soon as CONCORD decremented the security standing of those responsible. I even have their names. And CONCORD was to keep an eye out for the Anares and tell me immediately should something happen to her."

Vove began to rock in his chair, "Unfortunately, something did. Look, I know the Anares was important, I know it was something to do with Upwell technology, but that's all I know."

"Well," she began, "had you received the Upwell data chips on the Anares, and successfully decrypted it's contents, we would have had their entire strategic planning for the next two years in rolling out Upwell Citadels to the capsuleers. Named corporations, alliances contact sheets, funding lines, even comms port access codes. Data that would have allowed our operatives to produce the intelligence we need. Data that would have placed us as the proverbial fly on the wall."

A puzzled look crossed Vove's face. Santimona sighed again, "...an ancient Earth expression for being an unnoticed observer on important discussions happening in a room," she paused. "As well intended the Upwell Consortium might be to the capsuleers the introduction of Citadels presents more than just an existential threat to us. We needed to know what they had planned to negotiate our position in all that has happened. Besides, their cozy relationship with CONCORD does not suit me."

"So, you hate them as well?"

"I do not hate them, Vove. But, they are treacherous. They play both sides, however they use the law as a veil to cover their treachery."

Vove cut in, "Do you think its possible CONCORD was involved in the Anares?"

"What do you mean?" she asked.

"That they had a hand in the Anares destruction? Stie said the criminals must have known in advance."

Santimona gave a dismissive wave of her hand, "I think Stie gives the capsuleers to much credit than they deserve. They were likely the opportunist they mostly are, exploiting those they deem weak and trying to salvage for quick but meaningless gain - I do not even have to read the report to know what had happened, Vove. Besides, it's not what I really had called you for anyhow."

Vove arched his eyebrow with curiosity, "Oh?" he replied.

"Listen, I will be in Gicodel in two days. I want you to be there when I arrive. Sister Alitura will be joining us as well. I want to show you something."

His chair rocking slowed and stopped, "Can I ask you what this is about?"

"You may, but I will not tell you, not now at least," she replied, "Not even Sister Alitura knows."

"Crossing null sec into high sec can be pretty dangerous for anyone even for me."

"I know, but I want you to be there. It is important and it could mean the survival of SOE dispite this Upwell nonsense, especially now that we lost the Anares." Then she quipped, "Besides it is not any safer for me either."

"I'll be there," he said, and with that the director smiled, "Good." Her image winked out as the call ended.

We're not here to change the game, we're here to change YOUR game

Minmatar Republic
#3 - 2017-02-13 04:00:57 UTC  |  Edited by: Ronnie Rose
it was not like Vove had a choice and could have told Santimona 'no,' that he would not be there. Santimona Sarpati, CEO and Director of the Sisters of EVE said it could mean the survival of SOE. Vove knew the introduction of Citadels would shift markets into the consortium's hands, but he didn't think its impact would threaten SOE. He read the internal classified notes that projected capsuleers industrial activities would remain mostly in high security space, and that the null regions SOE controlled would continue to see substantially low activities. Even Citadel construction in wormhole regions like Thera was projected to be minimal. Everything would be bottled up in high sec space like some pressure cooker, and capsuleers would slaughter each other even more. "It's safer in null sec than it is in high sec," he mused.

Years earlier, the SOE sought to change that, "Give capsuleers the tools to explore New Eden and they will go," Santimona said. But no longer does she believe that. The tools discovered and developed from the SOE member corporation, the Sanctuary Applied Gravitation Laboratory in Thera, only fueled their internal destruction. Sure, sales of the SOE Faction ships remain brisk and capsuleers continue dedicating themselves to do needed missions for garnering loyalty points. But SOE is a humanitarian organization, not an arms dealer.

Vove placed his face into both palms of his hand and began rubbing. He turned his chair to the observation deck, and could see the nebula once again, but through his fingers. His 'nurseries for the stars' thought returned to him, as he sat pensively. The destruction of the Anares, the slaughter of capsuleers in high sec, the projections the Citadel construction will only further that destruction, the failed attempt to get capsuleers out and across New Eden, they were all somehow connected. The he realized the problem pointed back to what had happened with the Anares, the gates! he thought. If the problem of the gate campers is not fixed New Eden is going to implode with high sec exploding first. Vove saw the problem clearly now. High security space was like a balloon about to burst and the gates were its only relief, but being blocked. Somehow, someway we have to adapt, or we die

We're not here to change the game, we're here to change YOUR game

#4 - 2017-02-13 14:48:31 UTC
If you want to get a response to your ship idea, delete the story and post the ship idea.
If we want stories about Eve we go read them elsewhere, here we want the short version of your idea, the justifications for it, or the problems in game it would solve. Let the discussions that ensue tell the story.

For now and simply because I am not going to waste my time reading your novel to find the suggestion buried in it I say -1 to whatever your idea is.
Minmatar Republic
#5 - 2017-02-14 03:52:20 UTC
* * *

Sister Alitura intently studied the reports as she poured over the latest statistics on ship loses in high sec. The chart ebbed and flowed with periodic spikes and falls, but the trend was slowly becoming clear. Alitura mumbled under her breath “I’m doing CONCORD’s work now, pfft!” Her fingers raced across the touch screen’s translucent display dragging charts from one area and throwing them to another, rotating star maps, extrapolating ship and pod kill data from various regions. Finally, the trend was undeniable, conflict in high sec was increasing. The next question she naturally wondered was could this be sustainable?

She knew the increased violence had a direct correlation to the actions taken by CCP when they lowered the admission requirements for capsuleer recruitment. Off worlder requests have steadily grew from the colony planets throughout New Eden and recruits began pouring in eager to try their hand as a capsuleer, with promises of riches and adventure awaiting them. Once committed they would then take their first step towards immortality by shedding the coil of their planetary body and inhabit their first space faring self. But capsuleer life they soon learned, was difficult. Many times, new capsuleers were rudely awaken to the fact that they were simply prey to the predators finding themselves instantly transported to their new cloned body at their home station. Confused and disoriented, they would review the ship’s data log to learn it took but mere seconds for someone to target lock and blow them out of the stars. Their confusion further compounded by the false notion that high sec space was safe, when in fact nowhere in New Eden is safe. CONCORD would then dispense an offer for a ‘kill right’ to the unfortunate capsuleer. Still in a state of shock, the capsuleer dumbly nodded to the notice, and if they wanted to they could place a bounty on the head of the offender. All-in-all it was poor consolation to soothe the shattered psyche subjected to clone-jump trauma. Many would adapt to realize immortality made these daily escapades a game. For others, they were mortified and offended by what they had signed up for, while all around them the other pilots would cynically tell them “welcome to the game, but that is how life is now, capsuleer!” Fly and die, and fly again over and over. Alitura shuttered to think if she would ever become a capsuleer, I think if I should die it will be only once.

Alitura turned her attention back to the report. She was almost finished with her work that Santimona had asked for, but she had some lingering questions about the subject. “Aura, what do we have on predator-prey and population studies?”

Aura replied, “There are over 3 million eight hundred thousand studies to include ancient Earth records.”

“Hmmm. What about Utopia population studies?” she asked.

“There are over five hundred eighty thousand references available.” Aura responded.

“Any that you would recommend, any thing renowned?”

Aura answered, “I believe you might find of interest a late ancient Earth study that was performed in a controlled environment on a common rodent indigenous to its planet.”

“Explain.” Aura gave a summary that piqued Alitura’s interest. “Aura, please prepare this Calhoun study for my neural transmission. I want to know more.”

Alitura picked up a thin, silvered metal band called a neural inductor and placed it on the temples of her head. She tapped it on the side and in a few seconds knew of the late 20th century Mouse Utopia study and its grim predictions. She took the band off and placed it on it’s stand, and New Eden is hardly a utopia, she thought. Then she smiled a wry smile as she connected the irony to CCP, Crowd Control Productions.

We're not here to change the game, we're here to change YOUR game

Minmatar Republic
#6 - 2017-02-15 01:34:04 UTC  |  Edited by: Ronnie Rose
* * *

On board the SSOE Hope, Vove sat in the passenger chair, en route to Gicodel. The Hope is SOE’s executive transport ship, agile very fast and with specialized counter measures for defense, but without armaments. For these reasons it did not bother him whenever he was traveling through New Eden, but it did not sit well with him either. The standard protocol afforded by CONCORD to all senior corporation executives when traveling through high sec was to reduce the response time to a few seconds no matter what the security rating was for that system. It’s the reason why a “gank” on a senior corporate ship in high sec was unheard of, and why whenever an executive corporation ship was in trouble CONCORD would stop sipping their hot cup of Quafe and get off their asses.

He was wearing a neural inductor and passing the time by viewing a journal on Ancient Earth Expressions & Colloquialisms, recommended by Aura. The neural transmission rate was set to ‘normal’ in order to retain the information he was learning. The process of learning by neural transmission was similar to the way capsuleer pilots would learn their skills except through their spinal ports. For the capsuleers, skills could be learned by accelerated means much faster than practiced, but the information was not retained very well, hence normal to near normal neural transmission rates were set to retain the intricate skills needed for piloting their ships.

Vove was contemplating the meaning of one expression from the journal, and could not fully comprehend it. “Aura, what does the expression ‘sitting duck’ mean?”

“ ‘Sitting duck’ is an expression to mean openly exposed and vulnerable to attack.” She responded.

“No. I know what it means, but what does it mean by the word ‘duck’? Is it being used as a verb to avoid something by lowering your head, or something?” he asked.

“The word ‘duck’ is used as a noun in the expression. It is a reference to a particular kind of aquatic bird, or water fowl, hunted for game or sport on ancient Earth.” Aura answered.

Hunt? He was confused even more. “Show me,” and Aura sent an image straight into his visual cortex. A still picture of a bird with an oddly shaped beak floating on water appeared. “Aura, is there any video on hunting a duck?” Aura streamed a video signal of ducks in flight. A strangely dressed man with some sort of weapon raised it towards the bird, and immediately it fell from the sky. “Aura,that duck was hardly sitting ...” he sardonically said.

“There are over forty five thousand video references of a duck being hunted,” Aura patiently replied.

“Then how about showing me one that suits the expression ‘sitting duck’ and with some audio, please?” Vove impatiently asked.

Aura played a video of a duck moving slowly on the water, it’s webbed feet could be seen paddling itself forward. Suddenly, a blast was heard and the duck vanished in a furious splash of water, followed by a cloud of feathers drifting away. The aquatic bird floated lifelessly on the water’s surface.”

“huh...sitting duck,” he whispered.

We're not here to change the game, we're here to change YOUR game

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