Friday fiction! Escape pod here!
Space distorted as the artificial wormhole opened up and swallowed his small custom ship. He was catapulted across a vast distance almost instantaneously. Upon entering the new system he rotated the ships camera back to the star he'd just come from and marvelled at the fact it would be over three years for the light that was bouncing off his ship seconds before he jumped to arrive at this same location.
He launched his scan probes and accelerated heavily before activating his cloaking device. He knew they were here somewhere.
"So what are our options?" Senator Yvesque asked from the head of the conference table. The assembled doctors, scientists and technicians all remained silent.
"Come on people. This is a device belonging to the Federation. Its a bit of hardware. A tool. There must be someway to shut it down. Are we sure all the avenues are exhausted?"
Doctor Arneche again explained that all the failsafes were built into the supplementary AI. It should have been able to over-ride Captain Hoyere's own decision making process after they gave it the order. However it had either failed or the Captain had found a way to ignore it.
"Is that even possible?" The Senator asked.
"Theoretically no. However Captain Hoyere is a first. No one has ever been so heavily modified and linked so closely with an AI. Capsuleers come close, but even they are not so closely intertwined. We are learning all the time with this new technology."
The room fell silent again. Nobody had any answers.
Ulkka lay on the bed recovering. That was a good one. The naked man next to her lay motionless, his neck twisted at a fatal angle. Ulkka always cast an eye over the Matari slaves trafficked through the outpost. As Zonelle's number two nobody ever complained when she took one herself and paid a derisory price. The Slavers simply put it down as an additional tax they were forced to pay for using this station as a stopping off post. She would take them to her quarters and use them. They never complained themselves. Ulkka was an attractive Caldari woman and few men would turn her down. The only problem was that these slaves did not know she was nicknamed the Black Widow. Whilst she didn't have the physical strength of the hulking Matari men she took back to her room, she was highly trained in combat. She always went on top and as she neared she'd snap their necks, the rush of the kill and their final perimortem twitching sending her over the edge. She twisted her head to see her communicator flashing red. She'd heard it vibrate several times over the last few minutes. She picked it up wondering if she should kill the person disturbing her when she had her 'do not disturb' highlighted.
"What!" she snapped.
"We have an intruder. They are killing anyone who gets in their way! We've lost nearly 20 men!" a terrified voice shouted down the commlink. Ulkka sat up quickly and grabbed the gun from the side of her bed.
"Where is he?" she demanded.
"It's in your corridor!"
Ulkka jumped at the ear-splitting bang. She looked over at her door. The fist shaped indent in the metal door protruded 30cm into the room. It was impossible, that should have shattered any man's hand. The next punch tore through the tritanium. She gasped as she saw the shining metallic hand start to pull the jagged hole wider. She grabbed a few shreds of discarded underwear and headed to her secondary exit. A small corridor that led to her laboratory. The screeching of tearing metal let her know it was coming. She burst into the labs storage room and slammed her hand on the door release for the main corridor. The door shuddered and made a grinding noise but it did not open. She tried again. The door opened barely an inch. She could see the bright light of the corridor beyond but it would not open further. She then saw the structure of the door was not right. It was buckled like something heavy had slammed into it. The heavy footsteps behind her made her back up the labs storage area. It finally entered the light. A robot, shining silver and holding a gun. The logo on its chest piece clearly showed it was the Federal Police. Ulkka glanced down at her own gun. An Amarrian solid-state laser. A devastating and cruel weapons against human flesh. Against that metal thing, it was useless. She dropped the weapon and placed her hands on her head.
"I give up! You can arrest me. I'm not resisting!" she said with a smile. She knew Zonelle would have her out on bail in hours and then she'd just skip.
The robot with its gun leveled at her and paused. Captain Hoyere looked at her smirk. He'd seen it before. The flashback came, just like before. A screaming woman pulled tight between two men. She was battered and bloodied already. The two men he now knew, and they were now dead. The woman smiled.
"This one burns and causes terrible pain." she said with that smile as she slowly dripped the liquid on the woman's naked form making her thrash and scream. This one..." she held up a different bottle "...you need to be more careful with as it eats through flesh quickly. For non-vital body areas only." The Caldari woman continued to expertly drip the acids over the screaming woman.
Snapping back to the present Hoyere formulated his next move. Ulkka smiled again as the robot swung the gun away from her direction. Hoyere placed his hand on an adjacent keypad and an eery whitish light shone onto the console. After a few seconds Ulkka stumbled. Was the floor moving? She flinched as the first two shots rang out snapping her eyes shut. When she opened them she saw he had not fired at her. A fine spray of liquid streamed from two storage tanks he'd just shot. He swung the gun back in her direction. She flinched as he fired again. The shots hit the tanks behind her where a viscous green gel was now leaking and pooling on the deck behind her. A final shot sparked against the deck plates, igniting the gel. No fire suppression engaged. She knew that it must have disabled it. She looked for answers as the robot turned and started to walk back to her apartment.
"No! Wait! You cannot do this!" Ulkka screamed as she realised what it had done.
The robot had clearly disabled the fire suppression system and also had hacked the outposts leveling thrusters. It had put the entire outpost on an incline against the artificial gravity. The fiery gel that was slowly flowing towards her proved that. She looked ahead. Her only escape route was back into her quarters. However the robot had expertly punctured the acid tanks. She'd need to run through the mist to get through, she knew that was almost impossible to survive. Unless she was saved in the next few moments, she was going to burn to death one way or another!
"This is illegal!" she screamed at the robots back. It stopped giving Ulkka a hope she'd survive this.
"My name..." the robot paused, not turning "....is Captain Hoyere." it finished before disappearing into her quarters leaving her alone. She sobbed as she knew help was not coming.
Hoyere stood in the room waiting. He eyed the Matari Brutor on the bed. He'd already scanned him on the way past. Dead, his neck snapped. Other than the dead body on the bed, there was nothing to show these quarters belonged to a sadistic killer. Everything was neat and it looked like any professionals room. A 3D imager rotated scenic pictures of New Caldari.
A couple of minutes later Ulkka entered the room. She was on the floor pulling herself along with her fingers. The skin of her body was a mix of bright red flesh and yellow blisters. She looked up. Her eyes were gone as well as her lips and nose, eaten away by the acid. She crawled using her memory towards the shower cubicle hoping to wash the burning acid off. She made it another metre before she collapsed gasping. She tried to speak but only bloody foam past through her snarling teeth. Then she was still.
Hoyere looked down at the woman responsible for causing so much pain. His bio-sensors showed she was now unconscious and that her life signs were dropping. A single gunshot rang out and then there was silence.
"I still think its a bad idea. Planetside has less escape options!" Zonelle said as he paced up and down sweating.
The room was opulent. Amarrian marble floors were flecked with gold. The furniture was Gallente. Matari tribal art worth millions was dotted around the room. Whilst a casual observer would have noted the lack of Caldari influence it was actually there, you just couldn't see it. The villa's defense system used the best the Caldari had to offer. A Ishukone shield system protected the building from anything short of an orbit bombardment from a dreadnaught. Hidden in bunkers outside railguns and even a small missile battery meant that dropships and armoured ground assaults would be difficult.
"Sir, we need armour piercing rounds against that... thing. We cannot use them on a ship or outpost. That thing is coming for you and it will find you. We need to be somewhere we can tackle it. That means here planetside." his new number two replied.
Zonelle knew he was right but he still felt trapped. Armour piercing rounds on a ship were asking for trouble. There were a hundred and one ways a stray shot could destroy a ship in space.
If only Ulkka was here. He always felt safer when she was around. However she wasn't. She was dead. A semi-liquified lump of flesh on one of his outposts. The reports were laying on the coffee table. Three of the five that put Captain Hoyere in his 'Hell Cell' were dead. Not just dead or executed, they had died horribly. Explosive decompression, cooked slowly in a starship reactor and finally death by acid. How did the Captain plan to end his life? The same way Zonelle had finished of the Captain's wife?
"Have been able to track down that scumbag Jorerout?" he asked referring to Hoyere's ex-partner.
"No sir. He went to ground and hid well after he handed over Hoyere. He was a cop, I'm sure he knows how not to be found. Plus ten mill is enough cash for you to vanish."
"We need to find him." Zonelle growled. "I'm sure that walking Quafe can is leaving me for last. We need to know when Jorerout is down."
To be concluded....