Friday, July 20, 2012

Fan Fiction - Freedom to Die (Jita Ripper)

As part of the Jita Ripper series there was a reference to Insorum in the first part. An ex-slave, who had been exposed to Insorum, was the first victim of the Ripper and I used this as the reasoning that his drugs didn't knock her out as long as he was expecting. Someone made a comment about this fact on the blog post saying it was unlikely she would be in Jita if she had been exposed to Insorum. To me it was not an issue. The idea was cooked up between me and Stan at Fanfest. I was going for a genetic disorder and medication. He suggested Insorum might have a lasting effect on the brain chemistry which I really liked the idea of. Anyway I posted a reply to the blog comment stating how it could have happened. As often happens with these things, I got thinking a bit deeper into the victims story and thought that it might make an interesting tale.....

Freedom to Die

So here I am. At the end. I cannot say that I'm not sad. To die before your 30th birthday is no achievement. However, this is it, this is how my life ends.

I was born into slavery. My parents were both Matari slaves on an Amarrian plantation world. I grew up as a slave, surrounded by slaves. We didn't mind, we didn't complain, we didn't know any different. The soothing Vitoc ensured our compliance and it made us docile and happy.

Whilst most children of my age played with toys, I played with tools. Uncle Wrench, that wasn't his real name as nobody knew his real name, taught me everything I know in mechanics. He was a kindly old Minmatar man who serviced the various generators and machinery at the plantation. Looking back, may be he has been my only ever true friend. On a daily basis I'd help him out as he tinkered with the equipment. At the age of 12 I could strip down and clean a TG4 Plasma Generator. By 14 I was helping service the drop ships that took the harvest away. At 16 we usually have to join our parents in the fields. However our masters had long known about my skills. I suppose it was amusing for them. The attractive female Minmatar mechanic. They may have laughed, but it was me they always came to when their vehicles developed a fault or some mechanical problem had occurred at the palace. So rather than working in the fields, I helped Uncle Wrench keep the plantations machinery and vehicles running.

It was a simple life. We didn't know any better. Slaves to the Vitoc, we had no choice. No, that's not correct. We didn't know we had a choice.

Then one day, they came. Our brothers and sisters, to free us.

I was trying to fix a ground-hauler that had broken down in the field with a full load. It needed to be back at the barn with its harvest before sun-down. It was a hot day, I remember that, I had my overalls unfastened and tied around my waist, my white vest top was covered in oil and sweat. Funny how certain things like that stick in your mind. I was laying under the hauler working on the engine when I heard a loud roar. At first I thought it was the hauler starting up, but then it passed. I heard a series of thumps as if something had fallen to the ground from a great height. Then the gas appeared. People panicked. We didn't know what was going on. Suddenly there were more roars of more powerful engines through the haze. Dozens of dropships descended on us. We were confused, disorientated. So use to blindly obeying orders we just followed them when they told us to come with them.

Next day when the effects of the Insorum wore off we were led into huge rooms by the hundreds. We were travelling in dreadnoughts, huge starships designed to carry hundreds of soldiers. The briefing rooms were as big as the cathedral back home. The situation was explained to us. Our history, the Amarr, the Vitoc, the Insorum, the future.

It was three days before it was my turn to be processed. By that time we had returned to a space station in the Minmatar homeworlds. Vast rooms with tables were laid out in empty hangers. Each table had an officer with datapad with a chair opposite them. In rows of hundreds, our details were entered into the system. Our names, family, age, bloodline and abilities. Apparently massive resources had been donated from somewhere called the Gallente Federation. I left the room with a bag of ill-fitting clothes, toiletries and a few hundred local credits in cash and instructions on where I could find work given my skills.

The starship docking bay was huge. Remember, I was just a country girl, a week before, I'd never seen any man-made structure larger than the palace that loomed over the plantation. You could fit the palace into this docking bay 10 times over and still have space to spare. I joined the back of the queue as instructed. It was almost all men, I had no idea where I was going. I just slowly shuffled forward with the rest.

At the end of the queue a man took my details and looked me up and down. I was getting used to that. There were not many women in these lines and those that were could hardly be described as attractive. I looked, and felt, out of place.

"Right, you've got a position of Engineering Technician onboard the Hoarder class Industrial starship 'Freedom'. Docking bay 3-4-1." he had said.

And that was it, having hardly spoken a word I had a job and somewhere to live. I followed the signs to docking bay 341. The next few hours were a blur. Finding the ship. Being greeted by the XO, being shown my bunk and introduced to the Chief Engineer. Apparently they had taken on 14 ex-slaves at this station. Mostly people skilled at engineering. None of us had any formal qualifications. It didn't matter we were told. We were all brothers and sisters on that ship. We were Minmatar.

Night after night I lay sleepless in my bunk staring at the ceiling. The work was interesting, the people nice enough. But part of me yearned to be back on the plantation. I knew that that life was a lie. The mutating Vitoc putting a rose-tinted glow on the fact we were nothing more than livestock to the Amarrians. But that didn't matter. I wanted to feel grass under my feet and breath clean fresh air again.

I had spent nearly two years on that ship when one day there was a sudden buzz about the crew. Jita! The centre of the cluster, THE cosmopolitan station, we were finally going there. The Captian said he had won an important courier job and he was going to arrive a couple of days earlier and give us all 48 hours shore-leave on the busiest station in the cluster as a reward for all our hard work.

I had been saving up my meager wages since I first joined the Freedom. Unless you wanted to gamble your wages away, which most of the crew did, there was very little to spend your wages on that ship. Shore leave was generally short and all of your basics supplies were covered on the ship. So I had saved. I knew what I wanted to do in Jita.

Of a night on board the ship we'd watch old Gallente holo-vids on an old TX-24 projector. One of the films, "82 Hours in Dodixie", had always been my favourite. In one scene the female lead sits at a bar in a revealing dress with every man in the bar staring at her, lusting after her, desiring her, wanting her. That is what I wanted. Class, beauty and desirability. A lifetime away from the existence I had on the 'Freedom' as a mechanic.

I was one of the first off the ship when we docked. I rented some quarters for the duration of the shore leave. The first night was bliss. A proper shower, a proper meal and a proper bed. The next day I went shopping. Three years of wages had given me a nice purse. I bought new clothes and shoes, even some fancy underwear. I bought makeup and hair and beauty products. All those products I'd seen on the holo-vid adverts before the movies, all those things that were pointless for an engineering technician on a Minmatar industrial vessel.

That night I dressed up and went to one of the upper deck bars and perched myself on a bar stool. I could feel their eyes on me, the men in the bar. I had done it, I was her in the movie.

A few men had approached during the night, bought me drinks, told me jokes, tried their best to win my favour. Towards the end of the night a smartly dressed man approached and offered me a drink. It was getting late, but I accepted. Tomlin was his name, he managed a number of ship hangers on station. Not the capsuleer ones though, just the normal starships like the one I crewed upon. When I told him what I did he laughed and said he didn't believe me. When he realised I was telling the truth he was shocked. He said that was no life for a beautiful woman. He offered me a job. A desk job, reviewing the maintenance reports for the various hangers and ensuring the maintenance teams were doing what they were supposed to. The wage was much, much better, and best of all I'd be living on a station with my own quarters. The price I would have to pay for this job offer was very clear, even if it was unspoken. I considered it a fair trade. That night I stayed at his quarters, and in the morning he gave me a shower, breakfast and an employment contract. After spending a quarter of a century giving my mind, body and soul to the Amarrians for free, giving my body to a Caldari man for one night in return for a way off that rust-bucket industrial was easy.

Over the next year I worked hard, climbing the corporate ladder. I'd like to say I won promotions based on my ability, but to be fair I used my looks and my body to my advantage. Yes, I slept with various managers. It didn't matter to me. I did what I needed to do to succeed. First was Tomlin's boss. He was easy. A sleazy Gallente man who made it clear he desired me on the first day. Next was the head of HR. He was a bit more difficult being a family man. But in the end I had both him and my desired transfer to the finance team. Unfortunately on my first day with them, my next target, the head of finance, was transferred and replaced by a woman. She was also Minmatar and had a reputation as a hard-nosed-ball-buster. I thought I was in trouble, my elevated position in the company at that time was certainly not based on my ability. However, I fell lucky in the end. Within a week I was in her bed. She liked it rough, she liked to be in control. After a few weeks of that, I was bruised, sore, but most importantly, promoted again.

Eventually I was made the Executive PA at the company and was sleeping with the owner. Well 'sleeping' is the wrong word, he could never spend the night as he had to get back to his wife and family. I didn't care. I had a great job, classy quarters, money and a great life. I had even started to buy some Minmatar antiques to furnish my living space. I thought filling my quarters with Matari tribal art and ancient weapons might help me connect with my ancestry, but it didn't.

Whilst my life was more than comfortable I wanted more. I knew I could seduce any man that I wanted. But in this universe it's not men that hold the power and the wealth, it's the capsuleers.

So I started hanging around the top end bars. Looking for a capsuleer. My ticket to the big time. Hooking one of them would make my current lifestyle seem more like my old life back on the plantation. I didn't care what he looked like, I wasn't looking for a 'good sense of humour' or 'great with kids'. I just wanted any capsuleer with his money and power. Eventually I found one, and I thought I'd hit the jackpot. But I was played, he wasn't a real capsuleer. He was a fake, a conman, a thief and very soon to be, a murderer.

So here I am. After rising up from nothing and making something of my life, I am now fallen. I am naked, laying on the cold metal floor, with a knife sticking out of my stomach. My 'winning ticket' is busy looting my room of anything valuable, ignoring my pitiful pleas for help as I slowly bleed.

I know that I'm dying, it won't be long now, but at least for one year, I got to live.

1 comment:

  1. I have enjoyed the Jita Ripper arc very much - even though a stupid fire prevented me from joining the conclusion. Well done, and thanks!