Thursday, November 22, 2012

An Eye for An Eye

Fan Fiction Friday! Your escape pod is here to Freebooted for the 41st Blog Banter. I'm actually having fun writing my entry to that one, my response will be the next post on here over the weekend.

This post is my entry for the Pod and Planet fiction contest. This is for the Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden which covers faithful lore and is not about in-game characters or alliances. 

I may do another entry next week. Simply because the guidelines state clearly that if you feature Tibus Heth with a goat in a compromising situation, it will have to be revised. Now to me, that's just a challenge. I think I have an idea. :)

Anyway, on with the proper entry......

An Eye for An Eye

The explosions resonated through the hull of ship. The four EMP warheads detonated against the armour plates tearing them apart and leaving a nine metre long scar.

"Armour is failing, how are we doing on those damn shield-boosters?" Chief Nikial shouted over the sound of the alarms in Engineering.

"Booster 1 almost reloaded. Booster 2 still has 35 seconds." Technician 1st Class Kara was at one of the control stations. "I'm trying to reduce the cycle time."

Engineering was a mess. Smoke and gases leaked from various broken conduits and minor fires were breaking out faster than the automated systems could cope. It had been a long battle. The two Hawk class assault frigates were fighting a desperate battle at a Caldari Outpost in the contested system of Enaluri. Wrecks of numerous Caldari Navy vessels drifted lifelessly nearby, the remnants of the outpost's defence fleet that the Matari Militia capsuleer had already destroyed. Both capsuleer ships appeared to be similarly equipped Close range rocket launchers for fire-power and twin Ancillary Shield Boosters for defence. The hungry shield boosters needed to be loaded regularly with expendable capacitor booster charges which took a full minute. This left a sizeable hole in the ships primary defences.

Another salvo of rockets struck the Minmatar Militia Hawk raking deep gouges in what was left of its armour plating. Down in engineering, the damage further up the ship caused a power conduit to rupture. Bright orange sparks rained down on the engineering crew who were struggling through the smoke to keep the ship in one piece. Their capsuleer had been disengaging the thermal cut-offs and overloading the ships systems to squeeze more performance out of them. This had only made the engineering crews life even harder as he stressed the ships systems to breaking point. Suddenly the constant ear-splitting noise of missiles exploding against the ships armour was silenced.

"Incoming DPS has stopped?" Nikial shouted in question. Whilst the missiles had stopped slamming into the ship, the noise from the various alarms was still making it difficult to hear.

"The Caldari target is still out there. Most likely his missile launchers are dry. He'll be reloading them. Shield booster 1 is loaded, our egger has already engaged it. We're out of the red! Shields are climbing. Armour status?" Kara shouted back.

"8% and holding, confirming the shields are back on-line  Our target is in worse shape, he's seen our shields are back on-line and he's making range. He's trying to bug out. Looks like he's faster than us. He's running!" The relief in Chief Nikial's voice was clear. A small cheer went up through the engineering section. Whilst destruction of the enemy vessel was preferred, they were so badly damaged that the crew didn't want to push their luck. In this case, a draw was acceptable.

Kara looked at her console in disbelief as a red dot flashed up.

"New contact! Hostile Stabber Fleet Issue on field! The Hawk is turning around and coming back at us!" she shouted.

Kara couldn't believe it. They were so close to surviving the encounter, but in their condition they couldn't possibly beat the hostile navy issue cruiser that had just dropped out of warp 60km for their position. She looked at the incoming scan results, it had five 220mm 'tech two' Vulcan Autocannons mounted on it's weapon hardpoints. Those six-barrelled weapons were probably already loaded with shield-shredding EMP rounds. Once it got within 10 kilometres it would tear their smaller frigate to pieces even with the shield booster running. She looked over to the engineering bay escape hatch, a red light above it signified the capsuleer had not activated the ships escape pod systems yet. This was a common tactic amongst the empyrean's. They didn't want their crew abandoning ship before the last possible moment.

"Get ready to run for the escape pods as soon as they're on-line  we're toast!" warned Nikial as if reading her thoughts.

"I'm diverting power from the shields!" screamed Kara "Getting the warp drive juiced so the capsuleer can warp us out."

"DON'T! We need the extra power for the shields to give us time to get to the escape pods!" Chief Nikail yelled. "The warp drive is useless with the Hawk's....... wait, the warp drive is spooling up, the enemy Hawk has not regained point. He's only 4k away, he cannot have realised he dropped point when he burnt out of range. That Stabber is not in point range yet! The capsuleer is warping us in three, two, one...... my god, we're away."

Chief Nikial slid down the bulkhead onto the floor in exhaustion as the Hawk entered warp.

"Good work on that power divert! I think I owe you a drink when we get back to station!"


Back in Nennamaila station the crew have been given shore-leave until the next morning. The repairs to the heavily damaged ship were being undertaken by the stations starship maintenance crews and the capsuleer had given his own crew the day off after their narrow escape. Most of the Hawk's crew had headed straight for the bars near the hangers which were not too busy at that time. Nikial and Kara were sat in a booth sipping their drinks quietly, reflecting on a close call.

"Look Chief...... I'm quitting."

Nikial took a long drink and slumped back in his chair.

"Can I ask why?"

"Today is a good example. What if that Caldari Militia capsuleer in the other Hawk had re-established his warp scrambler on us? That cruiser would have torn us to pieces Would we have made it to the escape pod in time? We were at 8% armour in a Caldari assault ship. What would it have taken, one volley from that Flabber? Two at the most? Our capsuleer didn't even think about calling for abandon ship even though we were so close to going down initially."

Nikial swirled the whisky in his glass around with the ice, thinking. He didn't reply. 'Flabber' was a slang term for the Republic Fleet Stabber. The cruiser, modified by the Matari Navy, was fast and could deal out substantial firepower. He was well aware how close they had come to being killed today. A simple mistake by the enemy Hawk pilot had gifted them the escape.

"There are worse ways to die than in the destruction of a starship, but not many Nik. Roasted alive by zero-G fire or death by the vacuum of space. You know what happens to you when you explosively decompress right?" she continued.

"Yes!" Nikial sharply cut in before she started listing what happened to the human body in the vacuum of space. It was covered briefly in the starship engineering courses mainly to frighten the students into doing their best at all times. It was not a pleasant way to die.

"Well I have savings, I think I'm going to travel for a bit. Take a year out. See more of the cluster. Enjoy myself."

"I'll be sorry to see you go. You're by far the best I've ever had. You'll be missed, especially by me." Nik replied with a sadness in his voice.

"I'm sure you'll find another suitable Tech to replace me." Kara said.

"I wasn't talking just about Engineering skills."

Kara blushed and smiled.


"Is that the target?"

Two men were sat at the bar drinking wine with their backs to the two engineers. They were both staring straight ahead, not acknowledging each other. One was an older man whose ethnicity was hard to place. The other who had just spoke was younger and clearly Amarrian.

"Affirmative. The woman is a grade alpha target. Minmatar militia engineering crew for a capsuleer. Our source said she was one of the main reasons a Matari Hawk class ship got away in the Enaluri system earlier today from our allies. She is the primary target, the loss of her skill-set will be a major blow for the capsuleer and the Matari militia. Even though she is the lower rank of the two, her abilities have been highlighted as an issue. The man sat with her is the Chief Engineer, grade delta target. Obviously any Matari officer rank loss is good for the cause, however, that woman is the primary target."

"OK, will see what I can do. I still think we'd achieve more going after the militia capsuleers themselves in-station."

"Oh, and how are you going to get close to them? The capsuleers are too well protected for now. Plus the fallout if it was found we were assassinating empyrean's would be damaging to say the least. Orders are to go for the best of their crew until that changes. And make sure it looks like an accident. We don't want a repeat of the Heydieles Moon 19 incident again."

"OK, whatever you say."

With that the Amarrian slipped off his bar stool and left the bar leaving the old man to his drink.


Early next morning Kara was reading the draft mail again. Her quarters were dark as Nik was still asleep in her bed. The green glow from the computer terminal at her desk was the only light source. She hovered over the 'send mail' icon. It was addressed to her Executive Officer and tendered her resignation with immediate effect. Finally she clicked the send icon and the mail vanished. She had done it, she'd gotten out alive. Something very few long-term capsuleer crew can claim.

Suddenly she felt movement behind her. A pair of lips kissed her gently on the neck. She giggled.

"I need to grab a shower" Nikial said, running his hands over her chest from behind.

"Want me to join you?" she purred leaning her head back to kiss him.

"Better not" he replied as he caressed her "I'm already late and if you get in there with me, well, then I'll be very late."

"In that case you're a complete tease!" And with that she swatted his hands away from her chest. He backed off to the bathroom raising his hands at the elbows in mock surrender.

She went back to checking her mails as she heard Nik climb into the shower cubical and shut the door. After a minute he called her name. She smiled.

"He's obviously changed his mind!" she thought.

When she entered the bathroom she found Nik still in the sonic-shower with his hands on his hips staring through the transparent door.

"Very funny!" he said.

"What?" she asked.

"Locking the shower door remotely. You going to keep me here as your prisoner?" he smiled "Seriously, I need to get back to the ship! I'm on duty in 20. Let me out."

Kara looked puzzled and hit the open door button on the cubical. Nothing happened.

"Seriously Kaz, I need to go."

"It's not me." she protested "Give me a minute."

She went to the main control panel. The sonic shower was still running and the door to the shower was locked-down for some strange reason. She tried to stop the shower and open the door at the main controls but they wouldn't respond. The almost inaudible sound of the sonic shower started to grow.

"What are you doing?" Nik asked sounding worried.

"Its not me! The controls are not responding."

The whine of the sonic shower was growing louder and louder. Nik placed his hands over his ears.

"Shut it down!"

Kara started keying in over-ride codes but still nothing worked. The sonic shower suddenly increased in volume exponentially and Nik screamed in pain. Kara spun around to see him fall to his knees. The sound hurt her ears but she knew that was nothing compared to what Nik must be feeling. The cubical was designed to dampen the sound of the sonic shower and the sound-waves were also directional.

"Help me!" Nik pleaded as his forehead started to blister. The noise increased further and wounds started to appear all over his body as the high-frequency sound-waves started to disrupt skin and flesh. Kara rushed into her quarters and grabbed a chair. She pulled it into the bathroom and swung it at the cubical door. It didn't even scratch it.

Nik was curled up in a ball now screaming in pain. His hands were pressed tight against his ears but flesh was falling off them. Several finger bones were visible through the disrupted flesh. Kara swung the chair again and again but it was hopeless. She turned around and aimed a leg of the chair at the wall-mounted control panel and charged. There was a slight crack. She hit it again and again. Finally the leg punched through the control panel and it erupted in a shower of sparks and blue smoke. The noise from the shower died instantly.

Kara span around to help her lover but froze as she saw the shower cubical. The sight of the bloodied skeleton laying on top of a pool of liquidised flesh and organs made her pass out.


"So a real-life, 100%, mad-as-they-come, psychopathic furrier-boiler then?"

"Absolutely! Apparently she programmed the sonic shower to increase it's power 300,000% and changed its frequency to that which would dissolve soft tissue. Not an easy job but she apparently was a brilliant engineer. Man, I wouldn't normally say no to a piece of ass like that. But given what she does after she's had you. Sheeeesh! This patient will give me nightmares for a month!"

"Well who knows, she may be cured some time down the line. Looking at her treatment schedule for the next month, they are going to pump enough juice through her brain in electric-shock treatment to power up a Caracal!"

The two medical technicians in the psychiatric wing of the secure facility looked at the screen in silence. A heavily sedated Kara was strapped to her bed in the small room she would be calling home for the rest of her life.


"So you would call that a success then?" the old man at the bar said without turning his head.

The Amarrian drank his wine, also without turning. He mulled over the statement a minute before answering.

"Yes, as I see it, we got lucky. OK so the intended target is still alive but she's as good as dead. Locked up in a mental health-care establishment pumped full of more drugs than your average Gallente rock-star. Plus the Matari Militia have also lost a Chief Engineer too. And to top it all, nobody is looking towards us as suspects."

"Lucky? Well I'm not sure I see it that way. The only luck you had was that the police on this station are Caldari and sympathetic to our cause and didn't really undertake a thorough investigation. Your frack-up in killing the wrong person could have put our operation at great risk if they'd looked into things carefully. But, thankfully for you, my superiors don't agree with me. Your payment has been sent and the Council sends it's thanks for, what they called, a job well done."


"She was framed then?" the hologram paced around the XO's quarters.

"Yes sir. Our team conducted a discreet investigation of their own. It would appear that the shower controls were infected with a computer virus from the stations own main engineering bay. It wasn't too hard for us to discover, so either the local police are either incompetent or....."

"They are Caldari." The capsuleer interrupted "They'll go with the conclusion that assists the Amarr in the war against us in Matari militia."

"Yes sir. We assume the female technician from your Hawk was the target, the Chief was just unlucky in.... well, in getting lucky that night, if you get my meaning. So what do we do now?"

"Keep looking. Find out who did this, find the Caldari or Amarrian sympathisers and report back to me. This was a targetted hit. Put in a request that an agent needs to deal with my incarcerated crew member. Don't go to the Tribal Liberation Force, they are too..... well...... direct. Last thing we want is half a dozen Brutors charging in with arc cannons blazing. Use our former associates, they can do it discreet. She needs to be out of there now! But make sure it's a clean one. It needs to look like she escaped. We don't need any more trouble with local law enforcement."

The XO nodded and the capsuleer disengaged the hologram and vanished.


It was late on the station and very quiet. Corporal Jona was bored out of his skull. He was just imagining a scenario in his head where he defended the station single-handily from an invading Sansha's Nation task force when his concentration was broken by a message on his terminal.




The shuttle bay, to which he was manning the guard room, might be a target for an escaped prisoner looking for a way off station. He unclasped the strap on his holster just in case. Fantasies started to form in his mind of him taking down the dangerous escaped patient, the reward, the medal ceremony, the promotion. He drew his weapon quickly a few times, pointing it at nothing but thin air in various directions.

His daydreaming was cut short as he saw two maintenance techs walking down the corridor towards the guard room at the hanger entrance. One was pushing a large mobile diagnostics and ship repair unit on a hover-platform. He initially tensed, but then relaxed when he saw they were both men and the unit wasn't big enough to hide someone inside.

"Evening!" the first one said cheerily when he approached the window. He slid his clipboard into the small hatch. Corporal Jona took it and read the job card. The other tech was messing with the mobile repair unit and didn't approach the guard room window.

"Two shuttles, both with the same type of engine intake damage?" Corporal Jona asked.

"Yeah." the technician replied sounding bored. "Some fracking eggers were having a battle on the undock and one got his ass handed to him. He had a hold full of raw veldspar and that shit got spread out all over the damn place. We've got about 40 ships in station with engine intake damage from flying through the debris field including these two shuttles in your bay. Seriously man, my wife is fracking livid, this is date night and I'm working double-shifts with everyone else!"

The guard scanned the papers without really looking. He was actually concentrating on the security camera monitors and drifting back to imagining his medal ceremony if he captured the escaped patient.

"Yeah, shit happens. Just make sure to leave the same way so I can log you both out." he said absently.

"Sure thing. We shouldn't be more then half an hour. Mack! Get that unit rolling to the first shuttle, I'll inspect the second to see if we need anything extra."

With that the second tech pushed the mobile diagnostics and repair unit into the hanger as the guard went back to the bank of monitors and his daydreams.


As soon as the maintenance techs were in the hanger the lead technician pulled a small device from his belt and pressed a button. The body of "Mack" shimmered and faded. The holo-projection that surrounded Kara's body vanished.

"What are you doing!" she whispered angrily. "The cameras! He'll see me!"

"Don't worry, the cameras in this hanger have been hacked. They are showing the same holographic projection we used to hide you on the way in. All he'll see is the 'Mack projection' on the screen just as he saw it with his own eyes when we walked past his office."

Kara relaxed a bit. However, she'd not been fully relaxed since this man had sprung her from the mental ward and explained what had happened. How she had been set up, and that he'd been sent to get her off station.

"So what's the plan?" Kara asked.

"Simple. You'll get into the shuttle in dock-port 14 and wait there. A pilot will be along in the morning and will transport you to Villore system. I've got new ident papers and cash for you as well as tickets on an InterBus shuttle from Villore to Dodixie. Then you are free to do as you wish. We've also been doing our own investigation into the killing of the Chief. I'm visiting the shuttle in dock port 25 at the other end of the hanger and will be placing a present for the Amarrian contractor who killed Chief Nikial and framed you. Then I'll disable the hover-platform and walk out of here with the Mack hologram at my side, tell the guard the hover-platform has died and we'll need to bring new parts in the morning to move it. Then I'll be out of here too."

Kara smiled at the man with her. "Who are you? I didn't know the Minmatar Militia had special forces other than those who blew down doors and shot first with big guns."

"The man smiled. Lets just say your capsuleer didn't always fight for the Matari militia and some 'owed favours' were called in."

Kara gasped making the connection to the man's dark looks.

"Your a member of the Black......"

The man just smiled and held up his hand to silence her. "Sorry miss, I have no idea what you're talking about."

"OK." said Kara "You won't admit to who you are, I understand that. But, I have a request before you stash me in that shuttle."

The unknown man cocked an eyebrow at her quizzically. "When rescuing people in your situation they don't usually make requests you know."

Kara just ignored the comment.

"You said you know who did this to the Chief and framed me?"


"And you know which is their shuttle and you are placing an explosive on it."


"I'm assuming you know my background. I have a better idea than a simple death for that bastard."

"OK" said the man with a smile. "I'm listening."


The Amarian's craft undocked from the vast station. His small ornate shuttle with its golden hull was in stark contrast to the vast grey Caldari construction it was leaving behind.

With that woman loose on the station he didn't want to hang around and there was every chance his employers would ask for their money back. Best to make a hasty departure he had decided. He plotted a course to Gallente space and started spooling up the warp drive. His payment for that job would buy him two weeks of pleasure in Federation space. Whilst the men that paid him wanted the Federation destroyed, along with the Minmatar Republic, he didn't care for politics. He simply killed for money. And the best place to spend it and have a good time was in the Federation. He laughed to himself thinking what the pious men who paid for the hit would think of their Empire's money being spent in a Gallente pleasure resort, sampling the sins they were trying to stamp out throughout the cluster.

The shuttle slipped into warp and the Amarrian slumped back in the cockpits single chair to relax. It didn't last very long, almost immediately he realised something was wrong. The shuttle wasn't in warp to the Hikkoken stargate as he'd planned, it was heading for the sun. Did he make a mistake? Did he select the wrong gravity-well by accident? Was he so caught up in his fantasies of the next two weeks that he accidentally selected the sun as the 'warp-to' object?

As the shuttle dropped out of warp he selected the appropriate stargate and was about to hit the warp command when he saw the ship was aligning, it was changing course on its own. It appeared to be setting a course parallel to the sun. At this point he knew that something was very wrong and selected manual control. The helm didn't respond, he activated the warp drive, but nothing happened. Suddenly the low shield alarm went off. He looked in shock. Nobody was attacking him. Why would the shields start to drop? He wiped the sweat from his brow. He needed to calm down, he was panicking. No, he thought, he wasn't, not yet anyway. Then the realisation hit him, it wasn't his nerves that were causing him to sweat. It was the heat due to the lack of shields and proximity of the sun! He quickly grabbed his tool bag and opened the engineering access panel under the pilots console. As he opened the small access door open, he heard a dozen small "pops" all around the cockpit. He pulled the door panel away to be confronted by a thin wisp of smoke. Before his eyes, the electronics in his console were dissolving. A small clear cylinder connected to a tiny grey box had burst open. Both items shouldn't be there and he knew exactly what they were, nanites. The container had been attached to the access panel door and when he opened it, the trigger had gone off and sprayed billions of nanites all over the internals of the flight console. The microscopic robots had instantly started eating away anything they touched. He knew the other popping sounds he heard were similar devices doing off, remotely triggered by the activation of the first one. The reason he knew this was simply because it is the sort of thing he would do. One in the navi-com, one in each of the backup systems, even one in the door controls. He was brilliant at electronics, but not even a genius could fix what had already been eaten away. He was now trapped in the cockpit, dangerously close to a blue star with no controls, no shields and no way to escape. It had to be her he thought. She'd rigged the ship to fly to the sun and drop its shields. She'd also booby-trapped the cockpit to prevent him undoing her work. The heat was starting to get painful.

He sat back down and laughed at the irony. An assassin, assassinated by the target he was sent to kill. He reached under the console and went to retrieve a blaster pistol from its hidden holster secured under the flight control desk.

"Sorry lady, but no way I'm going to slowly roast to death." he said aloud. Maybe she had planted a camera in the cockpit so she could watch, may be she didn't. He didn't know and certainly didn't care.

He placed the blaster to his temple and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened. He idly tossed the gun to one side not even bothering to look. She'd clearly thought of everything.

Trapped in the cockpit with no way out and no way of ending things quickly the Amariran put his feet up on the controls, lit one of his favourite Matari cigars and started watching the sun get closer as the cabin temperature slowly rose.


  1. Really loving your stories, been reading your blog for a good while now. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks. Not many things put a smile on my face when the wife is clothes shopping. Your timing was impeccable. :)

  2. Excellent !

    (Bit of a revenge theme with you ... anyone we know? =Þ )

    1. Rules of the competition was no reference to in game characters or corps. But yes, the start is based on an in-game fight I had :)

  3. Just found this and really enjoyed it, going to have to go back and search for the previous ones. Keep it up, these are good.

    1. Thanks. All 40+ I've done are listed under fan fiction in the top menu.

  4. Nice story. I liked how the pistol turned out to be empty, that was a neat one. I'd have done the same.