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Family, Forever

Tamiya Sarossa
Resistance is Character Forming
#1 - 2011-10-19 01:12:18 UTC  |  Edited by: Tamiya Sarossa
I was bored during a POS bash once, which combined with my love of EVE and it's associated morbidity, led to this little piece. I'd like to cut it down some but wasn't in the mood for serious editing, so here goes:

It wasn’t natural, watching oneself die.

Her first death was still the most real. Like the second and third, it wasn’t as intimate as the fourth or the seventh, but it was still the one that she remembered most vividly. Watching yourself die could never be the same as experiencing it first-hand. But after you discovered that death wasn’t the end, it lost a lot of its mystery. Death was the final adventure. That was what her mother had told her brother to when their father died, and she had took it to heart. But there was no adventure for her now, she knew, not while her brother lived.

Sister, I am sorry, but I must kill you, he had said. His voice was loving and sad, wistful and comforting, and so very wise. That
was the last time she had seen him, the real him, as he stood beside her bed. She must have been sedated at the time, because she took her strange surroundings in calmly. His skin was white and hairless, shining like the antiseptic plastic of the room. Metal sockets showed on his shaved skull. But what she noticed through the haze of her thoughts was his eyes, which shone with an inner peace and dignity. She took comfort in his eyes. She knew those eyes. Those eyes would never hurt her.

If she had once had that same light in her eyes, it was long since lost. Her eyes in the mirror were dull and empty, which she found rather fitting. She looked down to the razor in her right hand. It was a strangely simple thing, the metal honed to an exquisite edge by uncaring machines in some distant factory. She felt a certain kinship with it, fancying that both her and it were unsuited to modern life, shaped by forces far beyond their conception.

She was told that some of the richest Gallente preferred to use these metal razors. She was told that to them, using primitive tools was a sign of wealth and status. Primitive, that is, like the metal razors she and her brother had grown up despising in the camps. She accepted this oddity, as she did all oddities now. She had long ago ceased marveling at the strangeness of the universe.

In the swirling reflections on the razor, she watched her Mammoth approach the blockade. She lay on the table where she had woken up, a viewscreen above her. Her brother had departed, but only after letting her know what was to come, and so she was not surprised to see, HERSELF, on the screen, wryly refusing the calibrated desperation of her brother’s pleas for her to stop her ship. It was odd, knowing that she, for that one impossible moment, was in two places at once. For some time after, she had wondered which her was the original, but had been too afraid to ask. And after awhile, it stopped mattering.

Her brother had bought her the razor without question when she requested it. He had given up trying to keep her safe after her fourth death, when she severed her torso under a closing bulkhead during a combat drill. There were too many ways to die on a starship, and afterall, death wasn’t that much of an issue anymore. The crew gave her a wide berth. She suspected this wasn’t a product of her brother’s meddling, but rather the little tiny truths that reached them about who she was and what she did. Either way, it suited her and it suited them.

She had been so certain of her cause then. The Minmatar rebels of the planet were her people, and they needed the supplies she was bringing. That the Republic had ceded this world to the Amarr in return for concessions elsewhere did not matter. What had mattered was that in doing so the Republic had disowned the rebels struggling upon it and refused them support. What had mattered was that the rebels refused to give up the fight, and that their own people, her brother, were blockading the planet in order to end their struggle. That injustice had mattered.

After the fourth death he had dismissed the caregivers and bound her to a floating metal machine, an octopus that grasped her head with tangled iron arms and kept her firmly grounded amongst the living. That was the only rule he imposed on her. She couldn’t harm the machine and thus try to end her immortal, unbroken consciousness. She had tried to break the rule, of course, but without success. The machine was tough, and if she touched it, or if he suspected she was going to, she’d wake on her bed, sedated and numb. And that feeling, of nothing, was the only thing she couldn’t endure anymore. So she left her silent guardian alone, knowing that it stood vigilant, ready to tear her consciousness away and deposit it unharmed in a new, intact self.

She leaned on the sink and pressed the razor idly to her wrists, letting the memories flow.
Tamiya Sarossa
Resistance is Character Forming
#2 - 2011-10-19 01:12:27 UTC  |  Edited by: Tamiya Sarossa
The Amarr had come to her, masked in their righteousness, and told her to break the blockade. And she had accepted. If the Minmatar let her ship through, they would be in violation of the treaty, and the Amarr could refuse to concede the planets they had agreed to. If the Amarr refused, the struggle in this area would renew, and the Republic would support the rebels in their continuing fight. For those rebels, she knew peace was the enemy, and that shared enemy brought her and the Amarr together.

She wondered if he was watching. It was a silly question, of course - he was always watching. But she wondered if in that moment his thoughts were focused on her. She didn’t know, really, if he even thought about only one thing at a time anymore. His command of the ship was so precise that she suspected that his awareness was no longer a single conscious stream, but rather a tangled forest of tributaries, merging and splitting as needed. She imagined, in fact, that he was paying her just the right amount of attention, an amount calibrated to perfection for watching the suicidal sister you loved.

When she heard her brother was in charge of the Republic fleet, she knew that this was her moment. They asked her if he would kill her. She said no. He loved her. She knew him, and she knew she was right. So they gave her the supplies, the weapons, the ship. And that day as she lay there on the bed, her brother standing silently nearby, she knew she was wrong. Her human brother loved her, and would never hurt her. But her brother was not human anymore, and his love was a far more grand and terrifying thing.

He had offered to make her one of them. She had declined. He had offered her everything except death. She didn’t even know if she wanted death anymore - for awhile, it had been her only goal, but lately it had started to lose its luster. She suspected that was why he was doing this. She had tasted oblivion a dozen times, and come back for more. But maybe after two dozen, or three, she’d lose the urge, and his job would be done. His sister would be safe, even from herself.

She had asked him once, before the sixth time, about the others - the ones who had followed her into the abyss aboard her ship. Did he save them too, secretly record their consciousnesses to save them from themselves? She asked the question to the walls, and he answered quickly, as he always did. My resources are not limitless, he said. You and you alone are my sister and I love you eternally, he said. That was the first time she had used the razor. He said nothing while she died.

There was a purpose to everything he did. Every contingency was planned for. She was told that not all eggers were like him - some still liked to walk amongst the living, feel the pleasures of the flesh, and live, truly live, vivacious and free, as her brother had been in their youth.

She had also asked him that, and he had said that what she had heard was true. She had asked him why then was he so cold when had once been so warm and full of life, and her brother had paused for awhile before responding. A pause was an eternity for a being whose life depended on millisecond responses, but she doubted that he truly needed to think - the pause was a concession, a calculated pause to let her see the humanity she still looked for in him.

It was the deaths, he said. Dying changes how you see things. He had never told her how many times he had died, but from his redacted service record she guessed it was close to a hundred. Recently, though, she had been catching up, and that thought cheered her. She wondered if he had avoided death over the past year for her sake. Probably, as strange as that was. Her brother’s love was as far beyond her understanding as the mysteries of death had once been.

Thinking back, she wasn’t sure when she started screaming. Her brother did not hesitate when her ship crossed the blockade line. She doubted her other self had had a chance to realize that she had been wrong. Only a capsuleer’s boosted thoughts would have had time to process the firing of the howitzers before the blossoming clouds of plasma consumed her vessel. But she did know that she couldn’t stop screaming until her throat was too raw to make a noise and only whimpers emerged.

And as the swirling vision of the explosion faded, leaving only her dull eyes staring back at her in the razor, she slit her wrist.

She had used a surgical laser on her throat, that first time. She hadn’t wanted to draw out what she thought was the end.

Of course, it wasn’t the end. Now she preferred the razor. It was more personal.

She woke up, as she always did, on her bed, her memory seemingly unbroken from the moment she had collapsed to the bathroom floor. Her brother loved her to much to ever let her die. He might kill her, but he would never, ever let her die.

It wasn’t natural, watching oneself die.

But it had become natural to live forever.