Friday, January 18, 2013

Into The Black - Part 2 - The Agent

Fan Fiction Friday! You have a number of escape pod options this week if this isn't your thing!
  • Yesterday I posted a short summary of the CSM minutes. I recommend you read the whole thing but if you're adamant that you won't do the full 100+ pages then this is a bit easier?
  • Poetic started an interesting conversation about the local/intel issue. This has rumbled on and has been turned into a blog banter!
  • Susan over at GamerChick42 has wrote an excellent guide to faction war plexing here!
This is the second part of the Into the Black series. I just need to introduce a few more of the protagonists before the action starts to heat up!

Into The Black - Part 2

The Admiral was sat at the head of the dinner table. His 12 guests were the elite of Caldari society. Mega-corp CEO's, Navy brass and high level executives of the Caldari Provincial Directorate. Several conversations were going on concurrently across various groups around the table. From the attempted assassination of Tibus Heth to the estimated stock price fluctuations in the battlecruiser construction sector when the major manufactures issued their anticipated update.

Life was good for those seated around the expensive table. The war with the Gallente Federation had reinvigorated both the Caldari economy and the government. National pride was at an all time high and worker disputes were at an all time low. The only thing that irked the Admiral was the failure to secure the low-sec star systems between Caldari and Gallente space. They had complete domination a few years ago, and then the damn capsuleers had let it slip though their fingers. Now the more organised Gallente militia dominated the low-sec areas. However, given everything else, it was not something to lose heart over.

A smartly dressed aide slipped into the room almost unnoticed. He approached the General and whispered in his ear.

"Admiral. There is a priority 1 message for you. Keyword 'Turncoat'."

The Admiral went white. A priority 1 message on that project could only mean one thing. He felt cold at the thought of the possibilities.

"Ladies and Gentlemen. I am truly sorry but there is an urgent matter of State I must attend to. If you would excuse me."

The Admiral hurried out of the room as his guests enjoyed their deserts and conversation.

As he entered his office he locked the door, flicking a switch that also activated the electronic counter-surveillance package. He sat at his communications terminal and hit the activate button which also scanned his DNA for authentication. The text appeared.


The Admiral sat there staring at the monitor in horror. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. Protocol 99 was one of those fail-safes that needed to be put in place but nobody ever expected to ever use. The outcome was just too horrific to think of.

He acknowledged the message with a single word "Understood." and opened a new communications link. This new comms link was not the discreet and untraceable text only system he had just used. This was the official State military communications system and any orders he gave would be logged on the system. He wondered how history would judge him.

The screen filled with a man's face. He was wearing a the uniform of a Captain of the Caldari Navy and was stood on the bridge of a capital starship.

"Yes Admiral sir?"

"Captain, I am ordering you to Initiate Protocol 99. Authorisation Beta, Beta, six, nine, five, Kappa."

The captains face on the screen drained of colour. He paused taking in the enormity of that he had just been ordered to do. The captain pulled a small card from his shirt's top pocket and scanned down the rows of numbers.

"Sir, challenge. Gamma, 14, Zulu, Niner." The Admiral expected this. In fact if the Captain had not used a coded challenge to the order, he was planning to have him demoted to flying Badger class industrials. All Ship commanders should comply with orders from a superior officer without question, but the Captain of a Chimera class carrier had so much fire-power at his fingertips, one wrong move could result in a catastrophic loss of life. In case of a deception by the enemy, they needed to be sure.

The Chimera was the mainstay of the State Navy. The original design was for a bulk water carrier. In the first Gallente/Caldari war it had been refitted to act as a carrier and had performed exceptionally well. In fact one of the carriers had been able to play cat-and-mouse with the Gallente fleet long enough to allow the evacuation of Caldari Prime. As well as a full compliment of one-man fighters and a huge selection of unmanned combat drones, the Chimera could also carry several larger ships in her bays depending on the combat needs of the mission.

"Captain, response to challenge is alpha, alpha, four, five, delta." the Admiral already had the challenge response card ready.

"Sir, yes, sir. Initiating Protocol 99......" the captain paused, he looked unsure if he should say any more. The Admiral knew what the Captain was thinking so he finished his sentence for him.

"And may god forgive us for what we must do."


Colonel Rakata looked up at the beautiful face above him. Her visage was one of pure ecstasy. A glistening sheen of sweat covering her upper body. Her dark brown hair cascaded down over her shoulders and swayed with her movements. He ran his hands along the top of her stocking clad legs, thumbing the clasp of the suspenders. The rest of her clothes, and his too, lay in a trail between the door and the bed. However, she had kept the stockings on which had pleased him. He'd got lucky at the Casino in more ways then one. They'd met at one of the gaming tables that evening. He was winning big and she had come onto him strongly. Thankfully his wife was away with their daughter. Even though his wife was away, he'd taken the woman back to a discreet apartment he rented on the station off-the-books with cash. She must have been half his age the overweight and balding officer thought, not much older than his daughter. He knew it was the money and power that had seduced her, but he didn't care. She was, in a word, amazing.

She saw him staring up at her. Se slowed her rhythm, smiled and wiggled her hips bringing a pleasurable groan from him.

"What are you thinking?" she asked breathlessly.

"Well, I'm thinking how a lovely creature like you could end up in my bed."

The woman leant forward and took his head in her hands kissing him deeply. She pulled back slightly and tilted his head to the side so her lips were by his ear. She gently sucked one of the lobes before whispering.

"That's an easy question to answer. It's because you've been stealing your battalions combat weaponry and military supplies and selling them to the Serpentis Syndicate you naughty, naughty boy."

The colonel's eyes went wide with terror. Before he could react she pulled her head away and expertly twisted her hands. The general's neck snapped like a twig. She placed two fingers on his neck to check for a pulse. When she was sure he was dead she climbed off his body and easily dragged it into the bathroom. Even though he was three times her size she effortlessly moved him into position. Like many wealthy and powerful people, the colonel had a real water shower, not the sonic showers that were used by the masses. The woman slid his body next to the shower, started the water and sprayed liquid soap on the floor. She knew the military police investigation would be a formality. The head of the service was aware of the op as was the coroner who would perform the autopsy. But they had at least had to put the pieces in place for whoever would find his corpse. If a maid found the body like this she would immediately assume that he had slipped and broke his neck. That would plant the idea in everyone she spoke to. When the scene was set she looked at herself in the mirror. She ripped off the black wig and smoothed her short blonde, almost white, hair which had been messed up under the wig.

When she was happy with her hair she went back into the bedroom and retrieved her clothing from where it had been discarded between the door and the bed. She pulled on her short cocktail dress before making one side of the bed leaving the other unmade. She didn't have to wipe the surfaces as she'd altered her own fingerprints to that of the Colonel's before she'd left that night. If they did scan for fingerprints they'd simply find small partial prints matching the colonel's fingers and immediately disregard them. She stood by the door and surveyed the scene recounting her every movement since she entered. She was satisfied that there was no evidence that the colonel had anyone stay over. Any security camera footage on the deck would had already been hacked and doctored by the technicians on board her strategic cruiser which was cloaked off the station.

Just as she turned to leave her datapad bleeped. It was a message.

"Are you kids coming around for dinner? Father."

The code phrase for an urgent return to base for all active agents. She left the colonel's quarters immediately and headed for the shuttle bay.


Xin lay slumped against the side of the building in an ally. The skies had started to clear and it looked like the storm was dissipating. It might turn out to be a beautiful sunny day.

However, she knew it would not be a nice day for her. Blood dripped from her arm where the drunken maniac had bitten her. She'd been sheltering from the plasma storm in the walkway between buildings and never heard him approach her from behind. He had sank his teeth into her upper arm before she even knew he was there. She'd screamed for help, but it was only one scream of many as people fled the ravages of the storm. The maniac had simply staggered off after he'd bit her. She had been expecting to fight for her life. But no, he just bit her and wandered off. He'd clearly been extremely drunk, the way he staggered away, he could hardly walk. Plus he'd been injured. Probably fallen over several times, the drunken fool, she thought.

She adjusted the makeshift bandage on her arm that she'd made from a strip of her t-shirt and looked around. She felt terrible, surely the emergency services would be here soon now the storm had ended. She looked up to the sky almost expecting to see a civil defence dropship hovering nearby coming to her aid. The sky was eerily empty. Usually there were always several ships arriving or departing from the city to be seen in the sky. Currently there was just blue sky with the odd wisp of cloud from the dissipating storm.

She looked to the main street and saw several other people staggering around. They must have been concussed by an explosion or hit by falling debris from a building. Surely they could not all be drunk like the maniac that bit her. She watched in horror as a woman who was staggering on the opposite side of the road lunged at a man who was running past. They fell together and when they rolled over she realised the woman had clasped her teeth onto the man's forearm. He was screaming and trying to get her off. Suddenly she simply let go, got up and staggered off. The man scrambled to his feet clutching his bloodied arm and ran off in the opposite direction.

Xin wondered what was going on but was having trouble concentrating. She screamed as a blinding pain struck her head. She clasped her hands to the side of her temples as the pain made her vision blurred. She collapsed on the floor, blood running from her nose and dripping down her cheek. Her vision cleared, she was laying on her back. She looked up at the now clear blue sky. Whilst her vision had returned, her head felt like it was about to explode. She felt hot, so hot.

She saw a small ship high above. Her husband was a starship maintenance engineer so she knew it was something like a small cargo transport. It climbed high until it vanished out of sight. A few moments later she saw another ship, slightly smaller, directly above her flying level above the city. She thought it had just appeared out of thin air but that wasn't possible but she swore it wasn't there a second ago.

Then there was a brilliant, blinding flash.


Twenty hours later the blonde agent was sat at a table in a secure conference room as her boss entered with two men. She was reading a local news report on her datapad that a State Colonel had slipped in the shower and had broken his neck on a planet many light-years away from her current location. Mission successful she thought.

"Good morning Chimera. This is Admiral Hakkana and Dr Lee." her boss said in way of introduction.

The woman simply nodded at the two men and didn't bother to rise.

The three men took seats directly opposite her. The Admiral cleared his throat.

"I'm told that you are the best covert agent available to the State. You'd better be. This mission is to neutralise perhaps one of the greatest threats to this corporation and to the State that we've ever faced. At 0900 hours yesterday a freak plasma storm hit the city of Hasasheena on Vaankalen III Whilst the planet is known for its plasma storms, they are usually only a category two or three, at worse. This was a category 8, which has never been recorded on a terraformed planet before now. That city was home to one of our bio-research facilities. The project they were working on was highly dangerous and during the storm, containment was breached. We believe two civilians escaped the facility and may now have information on that project that could destroy the corporation and heavily damage the State. Your mission is track down these two individuals, extract from them what they know and who they've told and to destroy any evidence."

"And what of the two individuals themselves?" the woman asked showing no emotion.

"I consider them evidence." stated the Admiral.

"Understood. Who are these targets?"

The Admiral produced two files and slid them over the table to her.

"First one is a secretary from the facility. She had minimal security clearance and before the storm we do not believe she knew the facilities real purpose. The man is a privateer. Due to the, shall we say the sensitivity, of the materials needed for the project we used shadow corporations to issue grey contracts to privateers to deliver the specialist cargo. That way if there was a problem with customs or they were caught in transit nobody could trace the materials back to us. He was making a delivery as the storm hit. Security footage showed that he entered the facility and came into contact with the secretary and it would appear, the research. They fled the scene together."

"So what was real purpose of the facility and what was the research?"

The Admiral looked at Dr Lee and nodded. The doctor looked solemn. He removed his tiny wire-rimmed spectacles.

"Obviously I don't need to tell you this is highly-classified. It is called Project Turncoat. As you will be aware, Sansha's Nation has perhaps the greatest mind control technologies in the known universe. Their True Slaves have no free-will of their own. They are utterly controlled by Sansha Kuvakei. Project Turncoat was set up to acquire this technology and reverse engineer it for battlefield use. Acquiring the technology was easy. With all the Nation incursions going on, spec-op teams were able to isolate and capture a number of True Slaves on colony abductions and also recover some bodies from capsuleer engagements with Nation forces in space. The plan was to develop our own version of the control nanite. Imagine it, a heavily fortified facility on a planet defended by the enemy. Their ground and air defences are almost impregnable and we need the facility intact. Previously as orbital bombarment would be out, we'd throw conventional forces against them until we were overran them at a massive loss of life and equipment. With this tech, a small unarmed stealth drone could fly overhead, release the nanites and not only would we have the facility in the name of the State, we'd also have gained a fiercely loyal defence force. Or how about a battlefield where 20,000 men on each side are squaring off against each other. One fly past and not only have we won the battle without losing a single soldier, we've gain an additional 20,000 men, their vehicles and their equipment."

The woman didn't bat an eyelid. She just sat there calmly taking everything in.

"Whilst the idea was sound, we lack the technology that Sansha Kuvakei perfected. He uses both brain implants as well as the nanites, we needed a system that didn't require the implants. It wouldn't be an effective weapon otherwise. After two years of research we could not replicate the mind-control elements without the Sansha implants. This made the nanites useless for battlefield use. Our test subjects simply became mindless animals. Motor-neuro function was severely limited and as a weapon system, the nanites were less than useless. We already have nanites that can kill or disable better than these, we wanted to control. The test subjects simply staggered around not knowing what to do. A further failed attempt to stimulate sections of the brain to try and trigger the mind control led to an unexpected break through. A batch of test subjects became unbelievably violent. The aggressor functions of the brain went off the scale. Two technicians were badly injured before we realised what was happening. Furthermore, the nanites which we used were self replicating and could be passed on through saliva. The two injured technicians became infected and themselves became these aggressive, erm, monsters is perhaps the best term to describe them. They have a strong instinct to feed but do not appear to like human flesh. This is when we realised that the project may have failed the original goals, but we had created something special. A bio-weapon unlike any other. A virus or disease can be quarantined, its effect negated by curfews and preventing contact with the infected. This weapon gets up, walks around and actively finds people to infect. After the first bite of a victim it simply staggers off to find another hoping the taste of their flesh is better. It cannot learn so will just go around biting everyone it can. Everyone bitten turns into one themselves within minutes. With no treatment the bites will become infected and the majority die within a week from blood poisoning, if not dehydration. We created an active bio-weapon system that seeks out targets yet still burns itself out eventually."

Although the doctor sounded solomn when he first started speaking. He was sounded enthused and proud by the time they are finished.

"So the two targets are not infected?" the woman asked.

"No, we don't think so. We'd have heard about the spread of the infection. We are sure they got off-world. Due to the plasma storm it was hours before we could implement the containment protocol. In that time hundreds of ships evacuated from the cities numerous starports. We have used satellite imaging to look at what is left of the main starport adjacent to the facility. It is mostly destroyed now, but we could see no evidence of wreckage of a ship in the hanger bay that the target's vessel was in. It is chaos in that system and we have been unable to get the flight logs from the nearest station at planet 1, moon 3." said the general.

"Any chance they are still within the containment protocol you mentioned? They could be still in the city hiding. I thought you said this cannot be contained?"

Now it was the General's turn to look solemn.

"It can't. The containment procedure was not a standard city-wide quarantine type. As soon as the plasma storm had died down sufficiently a Manticore stealth bomber, modified for atmospheric flight, was launched from a carrier in high orbit. It dropped a high-yield plasma bomb on the city. Several experts and investigation teams were lined up ready to state the city's power plant's main reactor went critical and with the atmospheric effects of the worst plasma storm in living memory amplifying the power, it levelled the city."

"I see. If that is all gentlemen." the woman picked up the files and left the room with purpose in her stride.

As soon as the door closed the doctor turned to the Admiral and the other man.

"Are you serious? You are sending HER to contain this problem. She looks like my 16 year-old daughter could beat her up."

The other un-named man who was sat next to the Admiral smiled.

"Doctor, you don't know who am I, you don't know who she is and the two targets won't know what hit them. I cannot tell you more than that, but trust me when I say that beautiful, petite woman is the most dangerous weapon I know of, after high-yield plasma bombs.......... and that monstrosity you created!"

To be continued......

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