Friday, June 19, 2015

Keres in the Machine

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

This is the opening two sections of a new novelette. It is a horror story and a cross between Law Abiding Citizen and Final Destination, obviously set in the Eve universe. Given some of the subject matter in here I thought it best to do it as a separate thing from the blog. PDF will be up next Friday. If anyone wants to volunteer to proof read it I'll chuck some ISK your way if you can do it by Wednesday (12k words so not that long). Just remember, if what has happened to Sansa and Jon Snow in GoT this season really upset you, this won't be the one for you. We have a lot of nasty people doing nasty things in here!

Keres in the Machine

Ebrens’ eyes fluttered open as the metallic silver cap slowly withdrew automatically. He heard the ripping of the velcro straps that held his arms and legs to the chair.

"How was it?" a voice asked.

"Amazing" he said croakily, still unable to see properly. "I wasn't just in the systems, I was the system. It is difficult to describe. Its not like a capsuleer type isomorph, you are pure data, your consciousness is at one with the code. It was incredible."

His vision started to return and his wife's face appeared before him. He smiled up at her.

"Can you lift your arms for me?" she asked.

He raised his arms up, then his legs as they went through the procedure. The chance of total mind-lock was very low, but it was always a risk. A person’s consciousness leaving the body and then returning always carried some danger. That is why Capsuleer training was so difficult. When your mind has expanded to cover an entire battleship it can be difficult to shrink it back down to a human body. Doctors Ebrens and Tyl were working on the experimental Entosis link. A high-tech method of planting a person’s consciousness into a computer without a physical hard-link. Capsuleers wanted to use them for hacking, but Ebrens was looking into other uses. Their modified version didn't project a consciousness, it physically relocated it. The body was still alive. Core brain functions in the brainstem were not affected. The heartbeat, the lungs breathed. However if the link was severed the body would be to all extents and purposes a vegetable. The person’s consciousness would still be alive technically in whatever it had been transferred to. Their work was on the very edge of what was considered legal. CONCORD had a remit to control all Empyrean technology and they were in that area. One of the reasons their small research company was being used and not some mega-corp that would have CONCORD inspectors monitoring them 24/7.

"We saw the test ship move a few kilometres, we assumed that was you."

Ebrens smiled.

"I couldn't resist. Not that I could do much more than boot it up and fire the engines currently. I didn't have access to some systems. We need to look at the link spread. I think we need to tighten it up. Focus the beam more." he said excitedly.

His wife laughed.

"Tomorrow darling. Let’s go back to our quarters now. I need to test everything is working on you." she said with a smile.


"A research outpost? As in scientists and laboratories and shit?" Ralken asked.

The Captain nodded.

"I know its not our usual heist but command has word they are working with some very valuable tech." the Captain explained. "We are going to steal it."

"What tech?"

"Something called antikythera elements. Apparently they have a decent stock in a secured hanger on the outpost".

"Auntie Kathera?" Ralken repeated.

Amda laughed. "Its not another relative for Ralken to shag is it?"

A plastic cup sailed through the air in response.

"Its Jove tech. Command want it, we're getting it. Plus a grade two bonus for you lot of fracking pirates."

A cheer went up from the assembled crew.

"So what's the plan Cap?" Maison asked.

The Captain started to run down the heist. The pilot who did the monthly supply run to the research outpost was on the pirate organizations payroll. He was the one who had found they were working on the antikathera element. As they had good intel on the outpost and it was to be an easy job.

"Right. Assignments. Ralken, your job is to get us in there. Our friendly supply-ship pilot planted a virus in their docking system when he visited yesterday. It'll see our transponder and give us docking permission without sending any notifications. Unless someone is looking out of the window, they'll never see us coming until we're inside".

Ralken was ex-Caldari Navy. A hotshot pilot who was dismissed for punching his wing commander in the face during a poker game. He'd been Kamaala's pilot for the last five years. An expert in frigate class ships, he'd managed to get them out of tricky situations many times before.

"Tweeks. You'll head for the command bridge. Hack into the system, unlock the secure hanger and then delete any security footage and logs. We were never there. Use your delayed virus to make sure any logs of us leaving are also destroyed."

The two brothers nodded in unison. They were Caldari too, twins. They looked identical, dressed identical and even wore their hair the same. The Captain couldn't tell them apart. They had been arrested for hacking into the State Bank and stealing millions. The brothers had been lucky that the prison transport had also been carrying a lieutenant in the pirate organization they now worked for. When the transport was intercepted he had offered the twins a choice. Stay on the transport and go to prison or come and work for the pirates. Given they were twins and a pair of geeks the abbreviation Tweeks had stuck.

"Maison. You're with me and Mael. We'll head to the secure hanger and wait for the Tweeks to open us the door. Then we'll load the booty and GTFO."

Maison was Gallente. She had worked for the Serpentis Syndicate until her boss tried to stab her in the back. Quite literally. She had killed him and fled. Knowing she couldn't go back to the Serpentis she'd hooked up with this smaller pirate clan. Mael was Chief Engineer. Whilst the Tweeks worked inside the system, Mael worked on the system. He was as useful getting a couple of extra mega-newton’s from the ships engines as he was bypassing the security system of a locked door with a power-shunt. Between him and the Tweeks, anything could be opened.

"Amda, you're our eyes. Keep a look out on the scanner for anything incoming. We'll land 30 minutes after the last security patrol so technically they won't be back for nearly 12 hours. However, you see a couple of Atrons within 2AU of that place you holler OK?"

Amda was the only Amarrian on the ship. She had fled the Empire after killing her husband who had been chosen by the family. Amda didn't know much other than he was a violent drunk. One night Amda wasn't going to have another trip to the medical centre so had armed herself. His first blow that night had been his last, ever. A fugitive from the Amarrian Security Services she had slipped in Caldari space first and then into the Gallente Federation. Unlike the Caldari State, the Gallente would not extradite her. On a normal ship she'd be classed as the Science Officer. On board a pirate ship she was more a combination of scanner operator and field medic.

"What about us two boss?" Utren asked.

This was the bit Captain Kamaala wasn't looking forward to Utren and Varl were Matari. They had one job as part of the crew and they really enjoyed it. In fact they enjoyed it too much.

"Situation normal. No witnesses."

Varl jumped into Utren 's lap and kissed him excitedly.

Captain Kamaala had killed many, many times in his career. Some from range using the ships missiles, others up close and personal with pistol or knife. As a pirate operating in the space-lanes most were kill or be killed situations. Others were more execution style during his line of work. Ensuring no witnesses was sometimes required. However when he did it you simply got a bullet to the brain. It was not something he took pleasure in or did unnecessarily. Utren and Varl were different. They loved their jobs a bit too much. Utren was a Brutor. Six and a half feet of rippling muscle. He shaved his head to make him look even more menacing. Varl was the opposite. She was much shorter and very lithe. Graceful like a cat. However they were both borderline psychopaths. He only put up with their antics for two reasons. Firstly they were horrifically effective at what they did, killing. Secondly they terrified everyone who knew them. A handy pair to have on a pirate ship. There was limited danger whilst these two were on your side.

"How many boss? Any security?" Utren asked pulling away from Varl.

"Its why we are hitting it today. Two of the outposts crew are getting married and nearly all the usual staff of 30 are going planet side for the wedding. The two Lead Scientists are staying to keep the place running so that's all we are expecting according to the intel."

"Only two?" Varl pouted disappointingly. "That's cutting our fun time down a lot!"

"No guards?" Utren asked ignoring his whining girlfriend.

"No. They have a contract with a local security firm who send a patrol twice a day to check on them. We have their schedule so have a nice long window to get the job done. Now any more questions?"

The assembled criminals shook their heads.

Full novelette out next week.

1 comment:

  1. I'm intrigued and if you want me to proof read again, I'm willing