Friday, April 10, 2015

Brew Eden - Gallente vs Caldari

Fiction Friday! Escape pod here.

Brew Eden - Gallente vs Caldari

Deni sat down at her desk, she was tired. The large office was quiet at this late hour and she'd been on her feet most of the day.The Nugoeihuvi Brewing Company had been selected to create a new beer for the State to enter into a brewing contest between the four empires of New Eden. As Head of Beverages it was her job to make sure that they won. She glanced at the clock on the wall. 22:45 station time. By the time she'd checked her messages and approved the next few days roster it would be close to midnight. Then she'd have to get back to her modest one-bedroom apartment on station and then be back at her desk by 06:30. Such was life for a worker in the Caldari State.

Deni opened her messages. She spotted it immediately. Another from her secret admirer. The messages had started two weeks ago. At first she had thought about reporting them, getting the tech guys to hunt the person down. However she had not. The messages were romantic, kind, loving. She'd ignored the first few, but her admirer had persisted. It was clearly someone in the company using an anonymous mail address. They knew too much about her day-to-day life so had to be someone she worked with, but who was it? None of her co-workers had given her any hints. This was unsurprising given the strict corporation policies about co-worker relationships. Basically you could have a love-life or you could work for the corporation, not both. Deni quickly fired off a flirty reply with a smile on her face.


The starship shuddered as the acceleration gate grasped hold of the vessel. Immense magnetic and gravimetric fields aligned the small ship before hurtling at the speed of light into the black void. This was an area of deadspace. A natural phenomenon where subspace interference did not allow formation of a depleted vacuum bubble. Therefore standard warp drives did not work in these areas. The only way to travel faster than light in this space was by using an acceleration gate. As these created choke points, it made facilities in deadspace easy to defend.

Gaull patted the briefcase he held securely in his lap. The Quafe executive had bargained hard for the samples he carried. Some of the finest hops from around New Eden. Surely the mega-corporation's brewers could do something special with these. He glanced around at his two 'assistants' who smiled seductively at him. Gaull smiled and nodded to them before he turned his gaze out of the small window of the executive shuttle. The ship had started to slow and it was dropping back to sub-light speeds. 4th dimensional drag slowing the craft so it stopped accurately within a 4km 'landing area' after being propelled over 100,000km in seconds. An imposing Megathron class Battleship dwarfed the tiny shuttle he was in. They were taking no chances. The Quafe Corporation were the biggest drinks manufacturer in the cluster. They were going to win this competition for the Gallente Federation. The shuttle engaged its thrusters and headed towards the small research outpost.


Next morning Deni arrived at the station brewery with a smile on her face. A dozen red roses had been delivered to her apartment during the previous day. Fresh flowers were expensive and in short supply on a Caldari space-station. Whoever her secret admirer was, he was keen.

Her first task was to check the four potential ales fermenting in the laboratory. The huge shining silver tanks reflected her image and she stopped for a moment, gazing at the Caldari woman staring back at her. 38 years old, never married and somewhat plain looking. Short black hair, a shapeless frame and a number of centimeters too short in her opinion. She sighed wearily. Whoever her secret admirer was, he had bad eyesight or this was some sick joke, probably played by those assholes in marketing. She knew most people saw her as a "Plain Jane" which was the one thing that troubled her about her secret admirer.

After sampling the brews in the four tanks and making some minute adjustments to the fermentation temperature she returned to the office. Logging onto her terminal she saw another message from the admirer.

"Beautiful Deni. I cannot go on any longer admiring from afar. I have booked a room at the Grand Nikko Hotel on deck 14. Room 223. I will be there at 2000 hours station time. I'll set the room code as 707070. If you do not come then I will know and you will not hear from me again. All my love. X"

Deni's eyes went wide. Was this really happening? Was it true love or a cruel joke. She glanced at the clock. She had plenty of time to debate that.


The scientists at the facility had received the hops with excitement. This was a facility that was famous for blending science with art. The secret site would see the creation of a new ale that would walk away with the grand prize at the Yulia convention he was sure. Gaull reviewed the latest news on his datapad sipping a vodka. News was perhaps the wrong word, intelligence was probably better. The Amarrian entry had been completed but their Master Brewer had been killed in a mini uprising by some slaves. The Matari competition leader was at death's door. An assassin with a poisoned blade had got him. The radioactive weapon made it sure that not even cloning his body could not save him. The radiation in his blood making a successful brain-scan an impossibility. His informant couldn't confirm it, but he was certain the assassin was Amarrian. Those two Empires had seriously damaged each others chances and left it in what he considered a two-horse race.

Now if only the Caldari's entry to the competition would have something go wrong they were home free.

Gaull finished his drink and left the outpost's modest bar on deck 2. The quarters he had for the night weren't very fitting for an executive of the Quafe corporation but would have to do as he had more meetings in the morning. He acknowledged that this was a deadspace research and development facility and not designed to accommodate people of his stature. He was used to five star service. He smiled as he neared the room. Knowing that the room wouldn't be up to his usual high standards he had taken steps to ensure the visit was not a total hardship. The two 'assistants' he had arrived with weren't Quafe Corporation employees. They were Satelles Girls' booked through a very exclusive agency. Hiring these women for two days was expensive, but he knew it was worth it. He would be having a very good time tonight.


Deni stopped at the hotel door and paused. What was she doing? Was she mad enough to actually go in there? She took a deep breath, hoping to slow her racing heart. It could be anyone in there from one of the company Executives to one of the cleaners. It could also be a joke. Love, disappointment or humiliation could be behind that door. She pulled at her short dress to straighten it. She only ever wore Caldari style trouser-suits and was unused to her current attire. The dress she was wearing had been hastily purchased on her way home. Something appropriate for a tryst with a secret lover she had never met. She wiped her sweaty palms on the material. With a trembling hand she extended a finger towards the door's keypad. Slowly and methodically she pressed the buttons until the door clicked and swung open. The corridor into the hotel room was short, but she took her time. The edge of the bed could be seen from around the corner. The rumpled sheets indicted there was an unseen person laying on it. Deni's breathing was quick. She rounded the corner and froze. There, on the bed, was Ulkka. The front desk receptionist from the office. She wore a short black satin nightdress and looked at Deni hopefully. There was silence as the two women stared at each other.

"Say something." the younger woman said, her voice unsteady.

Deni just stood there, stunned.

"I knew this was a mistake." Ulkka said reaching for her bag on the nightstand. Her voice sounding like she was about to cry.

"No. Wait. Just give me a minute." Deni said hurriedly.

"You wasn't expecting me!" Ulkka said. He voice still unsteady.

"I don't know what I was expecting." Deni replied "But, this was certainly fairly down the list of possibilities."

"I'll go." Ulkka sad sadly.

"Look. Just wait. This is a massive shock to me. Just give me a minute."

Ulkka sat up on the bed on her knees and looked at up Deni. Deni's head was spinning. Of all the possibilities, of all the people she could have expected, the quiet girl on reception was never an option. As she thought about it, things fitted into place. Ulkka was a relative new-comer and the messages started not long after she arrived. The looks and the smiles she gave Deni as she passed through reception. They were not what she thought. Other than one time at college, she had never looked at a woman that way.

"Say something." Ulkka said quietly again.

"I'm stunned." Deni said honestly "I really don't know what to say."

Ulkka knelt up on the bed and moved to the edge. The taller younger woman was now face to face with Deni. Tantalizingly close.

"I know I took a massive risk. I know you are unlikely to feel the same way about me. However, I had to do this." Ulkka whispered. She leaned forward and gently kissed Deni on the lips. Deni didn't respond. Her whole body was rigid.

"Even if this means I have lost my job and I never get to see you again, I had to take the chance." Again she leaned forward and kissed Deni on the lips. Again Deni didn't react or respond. She didn't move a muscle as the receptionists lips ran over her own.

"I love you." Ulkka whispered leaning forward for the 3rd time. This time Deni returned the kiss, falling onto the bed with Ulkka locked in a passionate embrace.


"SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET FRACKED OVER THIS!" Gaull yelled over the piecing sound of the alarm screeching in his quarters. The two Satelles Girls' had taken him to the edge of ecstasy but just before he tipped over, the screeching alarm had ruined everything. If this was a drill or a false alarm someone was going to get fired. And just not fired. He would make it his mission to ruin that persons career. They wouldn't be able to get a job stacking shelves for Caldari Provisions once he'd finished with them. The two women had pulled on robes over their skimpy lingerie and were waiting for him by the door. They entered the corridor together and he stomped towards the command center. He burst through the door and was confronted with pure chaos. Everyone was running around and shouting. He stormed up to the command chair.

"What in Divinities Edge is going on here?" he shouted. The facility commander snapped his head around.

"Director! What are you still doing here?"

"I want answers!" the furious director shouted.

"That is the evacuation alarm. What the frack are you doing? Get to your ship"

Gaull face suddenly dropped.

"The evacuation alarm?" he asked in a worried tone.

"Yes! The vessels guarding the acceleration gate reported a Capsuleer had engaged them. We've not heard anything for the last minute. You need to get out of here!"

"No. It must be a mistake. This is a Quafe facility. No pod jockey would attack us."

Gaull turned around to see the two Satelles Girls' walking quickly through the door and vanishing down the corridor.

"Good luck with that." he thought "The shuttle pilot won't go anywhere without me you cowardly whores!"

Gaull made a mental note to ensure that the agency sacked those two when he got back to the office.

"Sir!" one of the technicians shouted and pointed to the large view-screen. A Raven class battleship dropped out of warp-speed in a flash of light having traveled by the acceleration gate. The Quafe Megathrons moved immediately to intercept. The assembled crowd on the command center deck fell silent as the lumbering vessels opened fire.

"Put me through to the Empyrean." Gaull demanded. The commander nodded.

"This is Director Gaull Ronier of the Quafe Corporation. This is a Federal facility. Leave immediately or there will be consequences." Gaull said loudly in a commanding tone. There was a collective gasp as the first Megathron exploded under a hail of torpedoes fired from the Raven.

"I advise you to immediately disengage. Aggression against the Quafe Corporation will not be...." Gaull was momentarily silenced as the second Megathron exploded.

"Nice try you Serpentis scum. My agent told me your new trick of disguising your facility and ships as Quafe. However I know the truth and the co-ordinates were spot on. Prepare to die!" a disjointed voice crackled over the speakers before disconnecting.

"Warning. Tactical lock detected." A computerized voice boomed over the bridge.

Gaull didn't need to be told a second time and ran for the exit. The first torpedo salvo from the Raven hit seconds later. Gaull was slammed against the side of the corridor as the outpost shook. He continued to sprint towards the docking bay. He would make this capsuleer pay for this aggression. The facility shook again as another salvo impacted against the outpost's shields. Gaull kicked off his expensive silk slippers and ran bare foot. He slammed his body into the dockbay door and let out a sob as he looked through the tiny reinforced window in the blast-door. The docking bay was empty. He had seriously underestimated how persuasive two Satelles Girls' could be with a low-paid shuttle pilot who would never ever be able to afford their services.

The outpost shook again and the lights died. Dim emergency lighting flickered, hardly illuminating the long corridor. Gaull stood there in the dark, terrified. Another rumble sounded in the distance followed by a grinding of metal on metal. He could hear a quiet hissing sound in the distance that seconds later became a roar of rushing air.

Not long later, the shuttle pilot was finding out why top executives in New Eden would happily pay one hundred thousand credits per night for two Satelles Girls' and Gaull was finding out what happens to the human body in the freezing vacuum of space.


Deni entered work the next morning with a smile on her face. That night had been an experience in more ways than one. As she passed through reception she noticed Ulkka wasn't there. She asked one of the other receptionists and was told Ulkka had not turned up that morning. Deni shrugged. Perhaps she had overslept, they hadn't slept much that night. She smiled again, recalling the previous night.

She entered the main office expecting to find some of her staff there but it was empty. She herself was slightly later than usual having got little sleep and having to rush back to her apartment to change clothes. She felt a small amount of foreboding. Something was wrong. She walked down to the brewing room. The noise coming from there indicated that's where all the missing staff were. She could hear raised voices. The smell hit her first, a pungent aroma of hops. Something was very wrong. She increased her pace and entered the room. A dozen concerned faces turned to her.

"What happened?" she asked.

"The temperatures were changed. Each vat was set to 200 degrees overnight. They are all ruined. Every entry, they are gone." one of her technicians said.

"Who set them that high?" she snapped.

"You did." a stern voice behind her said. She spun around to find the CEO stood there with a face of thunder.

"I did not!" she protested.

He silently handed her a datapad. The laboratories log files were open and they showed her fingerprint was logged resetting the temperature controls. This was confirmed by a DNA scan on the fingerprint reader. She saw the time, 3am. She was sound asleep in the arms of her lover at that time. Not that she could admit that.

"That was not me." she protested.

"Luckily for you the security section appears to agree. The cameras saw a taller, slimmer female with a hooded top do the changes. However we are interested to know how she got your DNA, your access passcard and your fingerprint." her boss growled.

Deni swallowed hard.


Banniskore was sat in his office in the CONCORD station in Yulai. It had been his idea to have a beer brewing competition between the empires. He was currently very much regretting the idea.

"Four official protests before the competition has even begun?" Banniskore said looking at the big screen.

His assistant Eran sighed. "Yes sir. One from each Empire."

"And they all relate to the brewing contest?"

"Yes sir. The Matari government claim the Amarrians sent an assassin to kill their top brewer. The Amarrians then claim the Matari purposely incited a slave uprising to kill theirs."

Banniskore held his head in his hands. "Two deaths over what was supposed to be a friendly beer brewing competition? Go on, surely it cannot get worse."

His assistant gave him a look that suggested it could.

"The Gallente claim the Caldari set a capsuleer up to attack their secret development center making him believe it was a disguised Serpentis outpost. This resulted in the destruction of their research centre and the death of a high-level corporate executive as well as nearly one hundred other staff. Finally the Caldari claim their master brewer fell foul to a Gallente honey-trap and resulted in the sabotaging of their experimental drinks as well as the subsequent suicide of the master brewer when she took the Caldari Tea Ceremony due to the shame brought on from the investigation."

"I'm guessing that the evidence from all four is pretty light."

"Spot on sir. Hot air is light. Its all conjecture and hearsay. Any court would throw their cases out in the opening arguments."

Banniskore groaned. "Get me a drink will you. I have a feeling this morning is going to be a pain in the ass."

Eran walked to the door and turned his head as he exited the office. "Anything in particular sir?"

"Anything but beer!"


  1. Are you using Yulia on purpose in both stories, or just a slipup? As far as I can find, it's called Yulai.

  2. Once more I envy your inventiveness!