Friday, September 12, 2014


Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

To be honest I'm not sure where this one is going. I have an idea and thought "Sod it, its a multi 'part-er', I'll let it run and see what happens."


"So, you think your having a bad day? You haven't got a fracking clue! If anyone ever receives this transmission our location coordinates are embedded in the signal. However I do not hold out much hope. We're fracked. Just for the record I am First Officer Esme of the Imperial Navy Science Academy Exploration Ship Sun of Amarr. Our current mission, our current failed mission, started 72 hours ago. This is my official record of the events that transpired....."


The Captain surveyed the bridge from his elevated chair. It was a hive of activity as they scanned the planet below. Dakba commanded one of the most advanced exploration ships in the Amarrian Imperial Navy. Their current mission was to survey plasma planets for a specific type of plasma. It was a relatively boring mission but the sensors aboard his ship were the only ones sensitive enough to identify the correct plasma in the maelstrom within the atmosphere. He thought about the mission, there was no challenge. Get into orbit, launch probes, wait, get results, flag positives and transmit to other ships whose job it was to drop into the atmosphere to collect the gas, rinse and repeat. Dakba had reached the rank of Captain relatively young. A combination of family connections and that he was also a very capable commander. The science vessel Sun of Amarr was his third command.

A subtle light flashed on the console mounted into his chair arm. He opened the priority message and read it. He double checked the authentication and then cleared his throat.

"Science Station, recall the probes. Helm set a course to the location I'm sending you. Maximum speed."

"Sir?" asked the First Officer who was sat next to him.

"New priority orders Number One. We are to leave immediately for a location in the Zororzih system."

"And what do we do when we get there?" he asked.

"We'll find out when we get there I suppose." the Captain replied.

Esme was also a capable commander, he just didn't have the family connections that the Captain did. He wasn't bitter, it was the way things worked in the Amarrian Navy. Living with it for his entire life meant that it didn't grate on him as it should. He knew he'd make Captain eventually, it would just take a little longer than if he'd had an influential Holder for a father.

As soon as the Science Station reported that the probes had been recalled and secured the ship aligned away from the planet and slipped into warp. The destination they were heading to required jumping through nearly a dozen stargates and put them at the fringe of low-security space. The last leg of the journey was a 28 AU warp to a point in deep space away from any planets, stations or asteroid belts.

"Science, anything on scan yet? I don't like this flying into the unknown." the Captain asked as he stared into the large viewscreen that covered the front wall of the bridge. Stars blurred against the rapidly moving warp tunnel."

"Not yet sir. We are approaching maximum scan range of the coordinates provided now Captain. Initiating directional scan for any ships or structures. I have a Armageddon class Battleship on a five degree scan."

The Captain turned to the First Officer.

"A deep-space rendezvous with a battleship ship? Interesting don't you think Number One?"

The First Officer didn't immediately respond. He was staring ahead at the viewscreen.

"Its much more interesting than that sir!" he finally replied pointing to the screen.

The Captain turned his attention back to the viewscreen and had to suppress a gasp. As the warp tunnel faded and the ship dropped to sub-light speed the glistening Command ship was visible, next to a pulsating spacial anomaly. Light appeared to bend through the strange bubble in space. The Bridge crew remained silent as they recognised what it was.

"A wormhole. They are not expecting us to...." the First Officers voice trailed off as he thought about the possibilities.

A beep signified there was an incoming comms channel. The Captain touched his control panel and the view of the battleship and the wormhole was replaced by the face and shoulders of an Imperial Navy Admiral.

"Admiral Ahrnot. A pleasure to see you again sir." greeted the Captain.

"Any you Captain. Sorry to pull you out here at such short notice but this mission is of the upmost importance. Your orders are to immediately go through the wormhole and warp to the third planet. You are to conduct a level 6 scan of the entire planet and return."

"A level 6?" the Captain stated in surprise "That will take a number of days. Whilst I am no expert in these wormholes, I understand they rarely last more than 24 hours?"

The Admiral paused and then nodded.

"That is correct. It is highly likely this connection will collapse before you have completed your mission Captain. You have probes and one of the most advanced scanning ships in the Cluster. After completing the survey of the planet you are to scan down any newly formed wormholes and return to Amarr space as quickly as possible."

"Admiral. Again, please forgive my poor knowledge on wormholes, but as I recall it is not possible to know where the wormhole leads exactly. Scan results will tell us if it leads back to this star cluster, but we could emerge in the middle of the system of Rens or just off Luminairre."

"That is a possibility I'm afraid." replied the Admiral "And it is imperative that the data you collect does not fall into enemy hands. If you do end up returning to Matari or Gallente space you are to make it back to Amarr by any means possible. However I must reiterate, that data must not fall into anyone's hands! Good luck."

The Captain nodded and the Admirals face vanished. On the exterior he was calm, but inside he was furious. They were being ordered into a dangerous enough situation as it was, wormhole space was not particularly safe even for Capsuleers never-mind a lightly armed science vessel. Then to suggest they may be dropped in the middle of enemy territory on their return and have to evade the enemy Navy and hostile capsuleer militias was a step too far.

"Captain, as First Officer it would be remiss of me....."

"Save it Number One." the Captain cut him off "I assume you're going to say this course of action puts the ship at too great a risk. Well I agree with you, but orders are orders. I'll note your objection in the log directly under my own! Helm, take us into the wormhole and then immediately warp to the third planet. Science, I want all probes dropping the minute we land. Get the lot out there. I want a new Imperial Navy record setting for the quickest time to perform a level 6 planetary survey. Tactical, sound the alert. I want everyone on their toes."

The golden science vessel slowly started to approach the wormhole was the Command ship aligned away and jumped to warp. It was almost as if the entire ships crew were holding their breath as the ship slowly breached the even horizon.


The crew were on edge. During the first 18 hours it had all been routine. The scan was going well and they had not encountered anything out of the ordinary. The planet was a temperate one and contained what appeared to be abundant life. First Officer Esme had the bridge as the Captain was resting.

"Sir. I've been getting some strange readings on the directional scanner." one of the crew reported.

"What is it Ensign?" Esme asked.

"I have been getting some ghosting. The scanner picks up something in orbit with us and when I go to do proper scan of the signal there is nothing there."

The First Officer rose from the Captains chair and went over to the scanner console. The Ensign had left the logs up and he was right. An object had been identified in close proximity on the broad-spectrum sweep but any attempt to scan the object resulted in no result. Esme scratched his head.

"That's odd. Could it be a sensor malfunction?" he asked.

"Possibly sir. But its weird that it appears on a set course. If I plot all the ghosts we've got then it follows an orbital path. Its strange sir. I'd have said it was an object in orbit but there is nothing there."

"Strange. Keep an eye on it."

Esme returned to the chair and look out of the viewscreen. The space he saw was alien to him. Nobody really knew where this collection of solar systems was located. There were many theories. The simplist was this was just another part of their own galaxy, the wormholes taking vessels that passed through them thousands of light-years away. Other theories claimed this was a distant galaxy or even an alternative dimension. He was still thinking when the ship shook violently.

"Report!" he shouted.

"Sir we've been impacted by something. Nothing on scanner. Hull on decks three through eight in sector two are showing breaches. Forcefields holding but the internal monitors say we just lost 34 crew sir."

Other stations relayed their reports. It wasn't good. Engineering reported that serveral important plasma conduits had ruptured and and systems along the port side of the ship were not getting sufficient power. Helm stated their orbit was deteriorating and main engines had been knocked offline as the drive-reactor had gone into emergency shut-down. It was restarting now but they would be without engines for a few minutes. The Captain came running into the bridge.

"Sir, we've been struck by an unknown object. What ever it was it didn't show up on our scans. We have 34 crew dead, sector two is badly damaged and the engines are down following the drive-reactor rebooting." the First Officer said.

The Captain nodded and took his seat.

"Science, recall a probe and positition in 200 metres off our fore-port quadrant. Helm as soon as the engines are back online stabalise our orbit and plot a course back to the wormhole. It might be still there, no way we want to be emerging into enemy space with a damaged ship. Engineering, ensure power routing is stable and that the DCU has sufficient power to keep those breach shields up." ordered the Captain.

The bridge was a hive of activity. Within minutes the Science Station reported that the recalled probe was in position and the Captain ordered its visuals on the main screen. The Sun of Amarr could be seen in the distance, a black shape against the planet they were orbiting. The Captain ordered the image magnified and the screen was suddenly filled by a picture of the ship.

"What in the name of the Empress is THAT!" the First Officer exclaimed looking at a large black sphere embedded into the side of the ship.

"Sir, I'm not getting any readings from it. I know something is there as there is a perfect hole in the sensor readings, but its absorbing whatever we throw at it." the Science Officer stated

The Captain ordered further magnification on the object and the black sphere was enlarged.

"Its so.... black." one crew member observed.

"Its absorbing everything." the Captain mused "Not even light is bouncing off its surface. Thats why we cannot get a scan on it. Science, search the databanks for Sleeper technology and see if anything like this has been discovered previously. Expand the search to include Capsuleer data too. Get Engineering to get a crew suited up. I want a team to go and look at that thing and see how we are going to get it off us!"


Hahida was breathing heavily. He hated EVA and the Chief Engineer, who hated him, knew it. Therefore he was one of the team of three slowly walking over to the huge black sphere embedded in the ship. The hull plates were buckled and walking in the mag-boots was slow. Hahida had been on the Sun of Amarr for 18 months. He had originally got on well with the Chief. However, Hahida had slept with one of the other technicians not knowing it was the woman the Chief secretly lusted after. Since then he'd got every shitty job the Chief could find.

The suits sensor suite displayed its readings overlaid on his visor. There was a large empty space where the sphere was. The sensors were getting no readings off it at all. It was like a black hole.

It took a total of thirty minutes for the team to reach the sphere. They slowly walked around it relaying what they saw back to the bridge. It appeared glossy and should be reflective, but all light hitting the surface appeared to be absorbed. There was nothing but blackness when you looked into it. The scanners refused to believe there was anything there. They just reported it as a depleted vacuum.

Hahida walked around away from the group and saw a tiny flaw in the surface. He didn't say anything to the others and approached the anomaly. It was like a ripple in the surface. As if someone was dropping in visible pebbles into a black pond. Slowly he extended his hand and touched the surface. There was a glow and a roar. Milliseconds later Hahida was vaporised.

On the bridge the Captain and First Officer were watching intently on the viewscreen. Hahida was hidden under the curvature of the object so they never saw him extending his hand to touch it. All they saw was the orange glow as the unseen engines of the sphere fired. They also felt the effect as the alien engines burst into life against the buckled hull of the Sun of Amarr. The ship vibrated heavily knocking several crew off their feet. Alarms sounded as the sphere's engines ripped into the ships superstructure. As the strange craft slowly moved away, the damage could be seen for a few seconds before the power failed and plunged the ship into darkness. Suddenly the vibrations stopped and a eerie calm fell across the ship.

"Engineering, report!" the Captain called out into the gloom of the bridge.

"Sir. We are in bad shape." The Chiefs voice was distorted through the comms system. Explosions could be heard in the background. "I only got a partial reading before main power went down but the logs paint a bleak picture. Whatever that thing used for propulsion was hot. It nearly burnt all the way through the ship. I doubt anyone can get between fore and aft now. We cannot use any propulsion as it will rip the ship in half. Not that we could light the engines, everything is offline. The ship is crippled sir."

The Captain terminated the comm link and thought. A few whispered broke out on the bridge as the crew started to suggest ideas between themselves. Suddenly everyone fell quite and exchanged worried glances as the ship shuddered. A few gasps and murmurs started as the ship shuddered a second time.

"What in Divinities Edge...?" the First Officer said.

The ship started to vibrate violently.

"That Number One, is us skipping on the atmosphere. With no power, no engines and no control, you should say your final prayers as I am." the Captain stated slumping back in his chair.

Hahida looked around the gloomy bridge, lit by the emergency lighting. All disipline had been lost. Some crew were panicking. Others just sat and cried. He could feel the increased heat as the ship plummeting into the alien planets atmosphere.

"Send a distress call." the Captain shouted over the noise "Tell anyone who gets the message we're going down."

To be continued......

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