The window in her quarters were framed with Gallentean faux bois, an organic shape pleasing to the eye and yet utterly inhuman. Real wood would have never been able to bend and twist as it did and even if it could no human hands would have been able to make such delicate carvings. It was in every way an artificial creation. An imitation of a craft long since obsolete and mimicry of a material that had no place in deep space.
The screen set inside this abomination was currently displaying space as seen from the surface of the asteroid. There was just one camera publicly available and as such she was only able to see the battered spacecraft for about nine percent of it’s elliptic orbit. Soon it would appear in the counterfeit casement again marking the completion of it’s thirty-fourth orbit. Having long since run out of notes to review, inventories to double check and processes to monitor remotely, Kinachi was beginning to feel impatient.
Faded markings identified the spacecraft’s name as “Maris” and once again it had reached the apogee of its orbit around the barren asteroid. The thrusters kicked in to compensate for a slight movement of the fix point and another cycle began. In twenty-three minutes the sun would set over the rim of the tiny asteroid and the shields would power up to protect the scarred hull. This time exposure would be minimal since the systems lone planet, a gargantuan sphere of black rock, would eclipse the ailing star soon after. The shields would power down yet again and there would be silence until the computer would state that the frigates position relative to the tiny installation on the asteroids surface was optimal for docking. Jaan tried to reassure himself that this time he would initiate the procedure.
Roughly half of the little lights indicating the fastest route to an evacuation centre were working. Their luminescence barely enough to let someone walk through the hallway without stumbling over piles of scrap leaning haphazardly against the walls.
The complex clinging to the barren asteroid had been built a long time ago as a storage facility for the felsic magma tapped from the once volcanically active planet drifting through this system in a lazy orbit. As the sun cooled so had the planet and the silicon rich substance had ceased to flow. Now the structure was manned by a crew fit for an installation one tenth of its size and most of the gigantic storage complexes dug into the rock beneath were sealed off. The dimly lit derelict hallway led to one such storage facility only this one was not as abandoned as the station reports would have you believe.
Thanks to her ocular filter the darkness was less than an inconvenience to Sophia. Her hiding place was quite another story though and while it allowed her to monitor both the elevator door and the entrance at the other end of the hallway it required her to maintain her vigil awkwardly pressed against the dusty floor.
While the main generator was shut down to avoid long range detection the ship was far from dormant. Even the mirage effect extended by the cloak generator could not completely obscure the multitude of impacts against the ships outer plating. A swarm of repair robots scurried across the hull tearing tiny chunks of rock from the armor and sealing off every dent.
Maintaining a position so close to the planet was hazardous at best since the dead world was breaking apart. The irony of describing a process that hurled splinters of black rock into space at sickening velocities as “slow” was not lost on the men and women crewing the obfuscated vessel. However perilous the position it was true that the sheer mass of the crumbling giant made their stealth complete. Checking again that his orbit placed the sad remnants of the volcanic globe directly between himself and the asteroid mounted station, Murash breathed a prayer of gratitude. He was completely certain that no one was aware of his presence and soon his patience would pay off. He would eliminate a pilot who had slaughtered faithful warriors by the numbers and given rise to a region wide legend.
Sophia twitched slightly in her cramped hideaway as the mechanism operating the lift broke the hour long silence. At the same time the door to her right opened and for a second she was staring at a reflection of herself in the surface of a highly polished knee-high boot before her quarry proceeded down the corridor. She forced herself to breathe slowly, ignoring the urge to seize the woman here and now. She needed photo evidence as well as solid data of an actual transaction before she could act.
She had spent years collecting material on the former Caldari Navy pilot who had made a career of building advanced ship for anyone who would pay. Pirates and megacorporations, capsuleers and empires. While it didn’t seem to matter to the reclusive mechanic, the amount of advanced weaponry making it’s way into dangerous hands did matter to Sophie’s superiors. She had been given the seemingly impossible task of detaining a capsuleer with an otherwise flawless security standing, connections with both the Caldari Navy, Ishukone and possibly several dangerous nullsec residents. Sophie had welcomed the challenge. She had never failed to bring a mark in.
Just when she had been contemplating welding a tractor beam onto her shuttle a raspy voice on the intercom informed her that her client had finally initiated docking procedures. She had worn the jade green finish covering the fingernail on her left thumb completely off but otherwise her appearance was up to standards. She adjusted the clip holding her hair in place and set off down the corridor to meet the man whose ship was her next project.
Multiple nuclear reactor units were being brought online in the workshop below. The fernite carbide composite armor plate, a cluster of plasma thrusters and a multitude of advanced electronic components was waiting in their containers.
During her long wait there had been plenty of opportunity to examine the ship that was pulling into the docking perimeter. It was a mess. It was junk. But she would fix that. She felt a rush of excitement at the thought. It would not be her first work on a Minmatar ship but it didn’t matter to her. This kind of task never became routine. Once the transaction was completed she would pull the old Rifter apart and the pilot would leave this station in an impressive Wolf class frigate.
The docking procedure was initiated and Murash was slowly beginning to run projections of how to best cut off his prey when it was to leave the station. A warp scrambler and several advanced drones capable of all but halting a ship in space was standing by. His acolytes were waiting at every gate out of the system. He was going to let the Minmatar scum perform the planned upgrade of his precious ship. It did not matter. Murash would tear open his adversary’s pod and use the sophisticated sensors on his ship to trace the signal back to Jaan’s clone bank. No matter who was providing shelter for this criminal, they would pay the price. Just as the female had when she had intervened in Jaan and Murash’s first clash many years ago. There were scores to settle here and Murash was going to make sure he collected every due. Deep inside his pod the Paladin smiled as he urged his Redeemer class ship into action.
Letting the station computer guide his ship towards the designated hangar Jaan accessed the internal cameras. Even though the life support system was running around the clock, even when he wasn’t piloting the ship, it had been years since anyone had been in the passenger section. He took the view of the different rooms in and for once allowed his memories to take hold of him. The chamber and the uncomfortable cot they had shared. The bench she had preferred over it’s four identical siblings. He hesitated for a second before calling up an image of the main cargo hold. There, behind the shuttle pad, their initials carved into a part of the exposed exoskeleton. He knew he was going to ask if it was possible to leave just that part of the hull intact.
The station and the asteroid continued to grow in size as the Rifter made it’s approach. The last flight of the Maris. On autopilot.
I have always prided myself on my hearing. Indeed my oldest friends have caught on to my fascination with complex sound patterns long ago. Music does not interest me. It is the resonance of a shield generator, the steady beat of a pulsar and the hum of machinery that pleases my ear. I did not, however, expect to find such exaltation in the cacophony caused by thousands and thousands of gargantuan armor components being stacked, moved and handled by my mechanical henchmen.
My workshop is now considered a section of the station in itself and I was pleased to discover that my Ishukone hosts has installed and equipped a considerable complex that can house not only the workers I employ but also the crew of my ships. I had not noticed how many human beings are now in my employ and it is rather daunting to learn that many of them live here with their families. I can, however, live with the idea of children roaming the corridors of a sealed off complex half a kilometer away as long as the kitchen continues to deliver my food directly to my office. It is peculiar how that the boy who makes deliveries to me seemed surprised when he saw me eat. It is only when I’m strapped into my pod that I do not require traditional nourishment. This little anecdote does illustrate the power of the capsuleer myth though. To them I really am an immortal.
Realising I have been wasting a lot of materials (and therefore mony) I decided to put the production of spaceship components on hold while performing the research required to reduce the amount of raw materials I use up.
This has left me with some free time that I have been spending getting used to my new Buzzard (a replacement for my lost Myst, a Heron).
I must admit that I feel quite uneasy piloting Myst II. It’s like traversing space wearing a tinfoil suit! I’m used to the secure and comforting feeling of Silver Wings’ armor and the peaceful resonance of the shield systems. Knowing a single salvo of missiles can take you out of action certianly makes you double check coordinates quite often.
Today a section of the hallways on the station had been sealed off due to an explosion that appears to have been set off by a Sansha Loyalist. The culprit will be happy to know that he, by his death, sucesfully has caused people to have to make a detour of several kilometers for an extended period of time. And they say that one man can not have an impact on the universe.
As I tend to let my mind wander when I walk I often stick to well known, but not always time-efficient, routes and as such I found myself walking past the lab. I was surprised and could not resist the urge to walk in and inspect the consoles. As expected all of the long term processes I am running was being tracked and the data stored in the specialized cores I have manifactured. None of that was unexpected, of course, as I monitor these processes remotely on a regular basis. What caused my surprise was the sudden realisation that it’s been weeks since last I was in here doing hands on work.
Even though the capsuleer training program spent considerable time preparing me for the loss of a sleep cycle, both with the initial chemical compounds as with implants, I still find myself at odds with some deep instinct when I’m nearing 40 hours of lab time. Usually I can maintain productive functions for as much as 63 hours, without stimulants, quite easily. But even when I’m flying Silver Wings, which is well capable of scorching the surface of a planet, I find myself hearing my mothers high pitch: “Roi! Time for bed now. Put down the reader“. Bothersome.
I have spent most of my time in the Ishukone labs for the past month. I was elated when finally my research started to yield very specific results. Being trained as a theoretical physicist I am still having some trouble not running off on a tangent when my work presents an interesting challenge. Still… forcing myself to think of everything within the context of ship engineering has its advantages.
Founded by Caldari megalomaniac Sansha Kuvakei, the Nation was created to be a personal vehicle for unfettered technological research and arms manufacturing, and sold to thousands of eager colonists as a new Paradise where every citizen is free to pursue their dreams. Deep in his secret facilities in the heart of Stain, Sansha melded man and machine to create unquestioning cybernetic slaves who he intended to serve as soldiers in the coming war.
When the Empires discovered the true extent of his work, and the threat he posed to civilization throughout the EVE cluster, they put aside their differences for one singular moment and united to purge Sansha’s Nation from the map. While they succeeded in destroying his colonies and the bulk of his equipment, they failed to decisively complete the job; Sansha’s corpse has never been found, the True Slaves were never truly exterminated, and in the intervening years their numbers seem to have started growing once again… “
Now Sansha’s Nation is launching incursions into otherwise secure space, CONCORD calls the capsuleers to arms and luckily I do not have to concern myself with this at all since EVE remains such a vast game where your focus is for yourself to decide. Currently I’m working on my skills at building advanced spacecraft and extracting resources from planets.