Friday, February 1, 2013

Into the Black - Part 4 - Plans

Fan fiction Friday. Escape pod here to Eveogander for a teaser on something that looks like it could be an interesting event.

Into the Black - Part 4 - Plans

The small shuttle approached the massive stargate. They were in a queue waiting for clearance. A group of capsuleers were passing through and traffic control had stopped everyone else.

Sabrine read the message again.

"Code 9. Level 100. That is not an extra 0. Good luck."

The message was from Captain Dorn, her boss. Code 9 was to say a job had gone horribly wrong and they all needed to disappear as someone was after them. It could be the authorities  it could be a Client. With the jobs the three of them undertook, most of the time a pissed-off Client would be worse than the authorities. Their contracts on the greyer side of black and white meant they worked for some nasty people. The level was usually an indication of the urgency. Level 1 was "don't really worry about it, we can deal with what is coming". Level 10 was "Get out now, change your name and run.". The fact he'd put in 100 and even pointed out he'd not accidentally hit the 0 key twice by accident meant they were in big trouble.

"So who do you think is after us?" Meekil asked.

Sabrine looked at the Matari man sat next to her in the cockpit. He seemed cool and calm as he always did in situations like this. He wore a sleeveless t-shirt that showed off his tribal tattoos that covered his muscular arms. Sabrine was his physical opposite. Amarrian, small, lithe with jet black hair.

"Its someone bad. The Captain doesn't panic. But this message...... It's not a single person. It has to be an entire power-bloc. The solo mission he was on, we don't know the real client. May be it was the Guristas. May be the Serpentis. Hell it could be Mordus' Legion for all we know. But whoever they are, they are all after us and it must be the high-up guys that want us. I just......."

Sabrine's voice trailed off as Meekil guided the shuttle towards the stargate. The cloaked Tengu was barely 10km from them, watching.


A seemingly relaxed Captain Dorn was sat at the bar drinking a cool beer with a very nervous Kara beside him. The Guristas outpost was hidden in a dead-space pocket within Caldari hi-sec. Captain Dorn looked right at home in the run-down establishment. Several tables were occupied by the local pirates. Dorn had assured Kara that they were safe. The Guristas faction was the more structured faction. However she still hated how they glanced over at her. Dorn appeared to be well known here so that alleviated some of her fears. However, they were still on a pirate outpost and she couldn't shake the feeling. A hulking Caldari man entered the bar and looked around. He spotted the two at the bar and started to walk towards them.

"Dorn you old dog. How are you!" the Caldari said happily as he embraced Captain Jorn.

"Jeb! Good to see you. What's it been? 3 years?"

"Aye. The holodisk run from Nourv! That egger came close to turning us both into frozen corpses!"

The two men laughed.

"So what brings you here?"

Captain Jorn held out his datapad it showed the schematics of his ship.

"The Blue Nova. It's hotter than it's namesake and a death sentence to anyone who flies it. I need to swap it. You can either give it to an enemy, but don't let him know it was you who gave it. Or reprocess it for scrap. I just need something else to fly out of here."

Jeb looked at the datapad and scratched his beard.

"I don't have anything with nearly a similar cargo capacity. Sorry mate."

"A frigate would do."

Jeb looked at him in surprise.

"You'd swap that transport for a frigate? It must be hot for you to make a deal like that! I've got a Merlin if that will do?"

Captain Dorn nodded and Jorn smiled at the fantastic deal. The two men shook hands and Jeb led them to see the new ship.

An hour later the Merlin class frigate undocked and warped away.


Meekil opened his eyes and was blinded by a brightly lit ceiling. He tried to remember what had happened. They jumped through the gate, got stopped by customs on a random inspection, been cleared and a Tengu had decloaked directly in front of them. They had hailed the ship and the comm had been answered by some form of high pitched screeching that the safety levels couldn't filter out. Then nothing.

He tried to sit up but found his arms and legs were in restraints fastened to the the bed. He looked around. He saw Sabrine next to him on a medi-bay bed close by. Like him, she was secured by restraints. She had started to come round too.

"You OK?"

"I guess. Ow my head. Where are we?" she asked.

"Well the good news is that we are in a medical bay and alive."

"And the bad news?"

"We're in a strange medical bay and cuffed to beds!"

Just as he said that a door opened. Both craned their necks to see who had entered. They saw a petite blonde woman dressed in a black one-piece enter. Whilst she was strikingly beautiful, there was something in her eyes Meekil didn't like. He saw danger.

"Oh good. You are both awake!"

"Who are you?" Meekil asked.

"It really doesn't matter does it? You can be off this ship in the next two minutes if you'd like. All I need to know is where you were heading and will Captain Dorn be there waiting for you?"

The question answered everything Meekil needed to know. This woman was, or was employed by, the reason that Dorn sent the emergency run message.

"We have no idea where the Captain is."

"Oh come now. He sent you the 'get out now' message" the blonde woman held up Sabrine's datapad. "Where is the rendezvous?"

Meekil tried to think. He knew he had to be careful. Hold out and they were dead, give too much information they were dead. He needed a balance.

"We were heading to Amarr space. We don't know where the Captain is or where he'll head to. He'd find us."

"Really?" the blonde smiled. "You are running from the State so you head to our allies and claim you have no idea about your captains whereabouts. I find this all hard to believe."

The mention of the State sent Meekil white. He thought they were running from a crime-boss or a pissed-off corporation. How the hell had Dorn gotten an entire Empire onto them?

"Look lady. We had no idea who was after us. We assumed it was a criminal gang so we thought Amarr would be better than Matari space to hide in. We also didn't want to cross the warzone to get to Federation space, too dangerous. So we were heading to the Throne Worlds as that sounded the best place to hide from a angry crime-boss. And you don't contact Dorn, Dorn contacts you."

The blonde walked over to a terminal and started typing. The med-bay appeared to come alive with various machines booting up and scanner arms moving into position.

"You should know this med-bay is one of the most advanced in the cluster. We agents do tend to get ourselves into scrapes so we are provided with the best medical equipment you can get. It's all automated, these machines can bring you back from the dead and make wonderful repairs."

"Well in that case I feel very safe." Meekil said sarcastically.

"You shouldn't" the agent hissed menacingly "Because after a couple of hours of me working on you, this equipment will put you back together and heal you. So I can start over again. And when the machine can finally no longer help you, even with expert healing the body and major organs can only take so much pain, I'll move over to the pretty brunette here. So, let me ask you again. How do you contact Captain Dorn?".


The Merlin dropped out of warp in front of the stargate.

Kara was sat in the co-pilots seat behind Jorn. She marvelled at the massive construction looming before them. Whilst trillions lived in an age where space travel was the norm, very few got to see a stargate up close from the cockpit of a frigate. Shuttles and transport didn't offer the amazing view of the structure that she had right now.

Dorn keyed in the destination and hit autopilot. The computers voice activated.

"Dear pilot. You have set destination for a border-zone system. Whilst CONCORD still provide protection here, enemy militia incursions are common and the system should be avoided if possible. Do you still wish to set the autopilot to this destination."

Jorn hit the confirmation button and the frigate started to approach the stargate.

"Well that sounds like we're getting deeper into trouble" Kara said.

Dorn shook his head.

"If I know the State they'll have everyone primed on the high-security exits from Caldari Space. Our best bet is getting out through low-sec. And the best way to get out is through a system where they are more bothered about people getting in then people getting out. The Gallente Militia are banging on the States back-door  I intend to slip out the back window as they try to hold that door closed! Plus, I have an old friend there, and we need all the help we can get."

There was a tremendous flash of light and the frigate disappeared into the artificial wormhole created by the stargate.


Intelligence Offer Garret stood by the door, his finger hovering over the call button. He paused. The scream coming from the other side of the door sent a chill up his spine. Garret considered himself a good man. He was under no illusion's what happened in the intelligence community but usually it was enemy assets that were questioned in that room, or at least traitors that were knowingly helping them. People who knew what to expect if they were captured, not civilians. He didn't know what this Dorn had done, but looking through his records he doubted he was a Federation spy. His crew looked clean too, in terms of spying or treason. They were smugglers and petty criminals, but did they deserve this? Another agonised howl brought him back to the present and he finally depressed the button. He steeled himself. This new agent wasn't like the others, she was, different. As far as he could tell she would do anything for the State. Sleeping with the enemy or torturing innocent civilians appeared to be all acceptable to her as long as she achieved her goal. Garret didn't like her. After half a minute the light by the door changed from red to green and he pressed the open button.

He stepped into Med Bay 2 and approached the agent. He quickly surveyed the room without making it obvious. His trained eye picked up all the pertinent details in a single sweep. The Matari man on the other bed was already dead by the look of him, the Amarrian woman was still alive but was breathing heavily and barely concious. The Agent was turned to him after removing a thick pair of black gloves.

"What do you have Garret?" she asked coldly.

Garret swallowed. Her black-one piece was partially unzipped showing enough to make Garrat uncomfortable. He was getting used to this. This new agent would use any tool at her disposal to get what she wanted and unbalance anyone dealing with her.

"Well ma'am, I've gone back over the Captains history as you requested. Along with the files you provided we've also accessed every main database in the State to supplement his file. I found something interesting you need to see. Around three years ago the Captain was suspected of smuggling for a local criminal gang on the edge of hi-security space."

Garret handed over the datapad containing a local police intelligence report. Whilst the agent was inspecting the pad, Garret looked over towards the Amarian woman. He noticed a green plant of some kind in a bell jar on the trolley next to the bed that looked wildly out of place in the sterile and hi-tech med-bay.

"It's a Nahoolian Nettle." the Agent casually said without looking up from the datapad.

"Never heard of it ma'am." Garret replied trying to sound uninterested. "Just looks like a nettle to me."

"It was found by a Professor Hans Nahool on a botanical expedition to a temperate planet in W-space. Apparently the bovine that inhabit that planet have little or no nerves in their mouths. This nettle has evolved a sting which causes them agony if they eat it. I'll let you guess what the sting does to a human if it causes agony in a 2 ton cow that doesn't really feel pain" the Agent said casually "One leaf applied, shall we say scientifically, is usually enough to get most people to talk. Using more than one leaf at a time can be fatal. Unfortunately, as our muscle-bound friend over there found, eventually the body gives up against the onslaught of the toxin even with only one leaf over an extended period of time. The woman is proving just as uncooperative."

The agent looked at the datapad with a puzzled look.

"This report doesn't make sense. The local police suspect Dorn as been a low-level contractor to the gang but they have a real hard-on for arresting him." the Agent now sounded puzzled.

"Yes ma'am. I came to the same conclusion so I dug a little deeper. Please see the next file."

The Agent skipped onto the next file.

"The crime boss is a woman?" she asked surprised.

"Yes marm. Rather unusual I know. Now if you look down to the section on her partners and known lovers from three years ago."

The Agent smiled and slowly nodded her head. "Tell the captain to set course to that system now. That is where he is going. A border-zone system where he has contacts and friends next to a war-zone which we no longer control."

Garrett hurried out of the room as the agent snapped the thick the gloves back on and moved over to Sabrine. The Amarrian was still panting heavily. The agent lifted the bell jar and picked two stalks full of leaves.

"Thank you, but your help is no longer required."

Sabrine looked in horror as the agent approached her vulnerable body with the stalks.

Garrett paused as he heard the feint scream muffled by the closed door behind him. It was short reaching inhuman levels before simply stopping. He shook his head and continued towards the bridge trying not to think about it.


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