Friday, May 27, 2016

The Blue Flame of Revenge

Friday Fiction! Escape pod here. This could be a long series....

The Blue Flame of Revenge

Luminaire System
5000 years ago.

"Is it a sign?" the small boy asked looking up at the night sky.

The blue disk had appeared in the four days before and had grown larger with each passing night.

"It is my son." the old blacksmith replied also gazing at the translucent disk. In his many years he'd seen many things in the night sky, but nothing like this. A large blue translucent disk that had appeared in the heavens and grown larger by the day.

The planet, which in several millenia would be known as Gallente Prime, was a backward world. Whilst the original colonists from earth had been technologically advanced and arrived in starships, that knowledge had been lost. The collapse of Eve Gate had been catastrophic. The fledgling colonies had been unable to cope without the support from Earth. Most had died out, especially those colonies on worlds still being terraformed. Those that survived on the more stable worlds, like this one, had lost the advanced knowledge over time and reverted to an almost medieval society.

"We should head to the castle with the others. Our Lord will addresses us this night. He'll know what it means."

The man rose from the anvil he was sitting on and picked up one of the oil lamps that hung on one of the smithy's columns. The boy crawled up from the floor and followed his father into the village where the other villagers were all starting to leave for the castle, worried glances cast up high at the blue disk in the night sky. At the back of the group a bard scribbled a new song on a piece of parchment. He was confident their lord would proclaim it a good omen. A blessing that deserved a song.

At the same time, on a nearby planet in the same solar system, two armies clashed on top of a frozen lake. It was late in the day but the blue disk was just visible in the clear sky. Both of the fuedal lords had taken the appearance of the phenomenon as a sign it was time to crush their foes. Tensions had been building between the two for a long time on this island in the southern hemisphere of what would be known in the future as Caldari Prime.

"My lord!" the man in intricate armour entered the tent and bowed.

The man stood over the map table looked up. He was old and his long mustache was grey and hung down in points past his chin.

"What news general?"

"My Lord, you are victorious. As you predicated, the Eye of Heaven smiled upon us this day. We are mopping up the last of the enemy."

The old man allowed a smile to creep over his face.

"Excellent. Go to the scribe. Tell him your story whilst it is still fresh in your mind. Ensure our Captains do the same. This great victory should be recorded for all time along with the others!"

The armoured man bowed again, turned briskly and left the tent.

The leader followed him out, stopping at the tent flap. He looked up at the pale disk in the sky, pulling his cloak around him to keep out the chill as the snow fell. The valley below looked very different now. The snow and ice painted red with death. However the Eye of Heaven had been right, it was the right time to crush his foes.

A few days later the disk started to fade and within a week it had vanished. The event was told around the fires on both planets for decades after. However eventually it was forgotten, the only surviving references contained in a local song and the pages of a military strategy book of an ancient feudal lord on separate planets far apart... for the time.


Interstellar Space
3 Light-Years from Luminaire
Present Day

The red laser slowly cut into the rock. Gian watched from the laboratory console as the sample started to break apart. Chunks of raw veldspar dropped and bounced at the bottom of the sealed chamber. The basketball sized asteroid fragment then shattered and the pieces dropped from the centre of the clear containment cube with a bang.

"Great. More veldspar!" Gian muttered as the console analysed the rock.

She was an astrogeologist in the Duvolle Laboratories Exploration Division. However, she was currently on secondment to Thanan Industries. A private research firm. She'd been given the pitch by her boss. A decade ago deep-space scans had detected gravimetric anomalies in the Crux constellation. Thanan Industries had concluded that this space had probably contained a solar system but no star was visible. It had taken several years for a specially outfitted probe to travel to the area at warp speed. On arrival it had deployed a special beacon that acted as a cynosural field. This allowed their research ship, a modified Nestor equipped with a jump drive, to travel instantaneously to the point deep in interstellar space without taking nearly a decade to travel there. Apparently their main astrogeologist had been killed the week before the scheduled departure in an accident. The Nestor was due to travel and they were desperate for a replacement. Thanan Industries had offered a large sum of money to second Gian for a six month stint. Studying minerals in a system that had never been visited by humans before had been very appealing so Gian had agreed without hesitation despite the fact the vast distance meant she'd be cut off for six months.

They had been there a month now and so far they had found little but debris from some cataclysmic cosmic event. Something had happened to the system's sun. However hard evidence as to what was hard to come by. Her estimates that five thousand years ago there had been an incident, but the chunks of veldspar that the drones were finding were offering no more information than that timeframe and a massive explosion.

A blinking light indicated another sample had been delivered. She pressed a few buttons and the debris in the cutting chamber was swept away. Another chunk of rock was carried into the chamber by robotic arms and she started the laser cutter up again. Slowly bits of veldspar fell away and she consulted the active scanners. Nothing new, veldspar ore that at some point been subjected to a massive blast of heat. She glanced up and did a double take. Something blue was being revealed towards the centre of the rock. She looked at the scanner expecting to see isogen reported however the scanner registered the mineral as 'unknown'. Her curiosity piqued she started adjusting the scanners to concentrate on the strange blue crystal. As the last of the rock fell away the crystal was fully exposed. A smile crept across her face as the scans kept returning the same results. It matched no known substance either naturally occurring or manmade. She might have just made the astrogeological discovery of the century. She quickly logged the find in the system.

Deep inside the ships AI a subroutine woke. It had been waiting for a report that was similar to what Gian had just written. 'Blue crystal. Unknown mineral. Does not match any known materials."

Up on the ships bridge the Captain was reviewing the current drone deployments. They had 10 sample collection drones and eight were in space. One was unloading ore samples for the laboratories and another was in for repairs.

"Sir, we have an anomoly." Ensign Coverie called out.

Glad of the distraction the Captain rose from his chair and walked over to the navigation officers post.

"The Navicom has started calculating a FTL route on its own and the jumpdrive has started to power up."

The Captain looked at the screen and rubbed his chin.

"Shut them down. Find out where the startup commands originated from."

The Ensign's fingers danced over the control console.

"Sir, its not responding to my command codes and there is no authorisation codes attached to the spool-up command."

The Captain moved the Ensign out of the way and entered his own command codes. However the jump drive would not shut down. He looked at the navicom readout. It was certainly calculating a jump but to where? He returned to his chair and activated the internal comms system.

"All crew report to stations. We have lost control of the navigational systems and the AI is jumping us to a destination unknown. I want everyone ready to react to whatever is going on!"

A few seconds later the ship vanished into the artificial wormhole.


Dodixie System
Gallente Federation Space

"Slender pickings." the Amarrian grumbled walking down the line. The slaves stood with their heads bowed, staring at the deck plates. The small lights on the glave collars around their necks blinked various colours. The collars could be used to inflict pain, paralyse or kill at the flick of a switch.

"You want choice go back to Amarr. The slave markets on Oris in Amarr have plenty of choice. You want blackmarket slaves in Gallente space, this is what you get." the fat Gallente man replied. "Most of these here can help crew that bucket of bolts you have flying next to us, so you cannot go wrong if its crew you are after." The fat man stopped beside a young Matari girl "If it's something more entertaining you are after this one should tick all the boxes. Feel that skin, so soft and a steal at only eight large!"

The Amarrian looked at the line. Broken men and women in utter desperation.

"I'll take them all."

"Excellent! Transfer the creds and I'll..." a blaring alarm stopped the fat Gallente man in his tracks.

"What is it?" he yelled into his communicator over the sound of the alarm.

"Its that Hoarder sir! Its locked us up and has us webbed and scrambled. Not only that, its got enough firepower pointed in our direction to vapourise us!" the voice crackled out of the communicator.

The fat man turned to the Amarrian about to ask him what was going on but found himself staring down the barrel of a blaster.

"Order your men to stand down."

The fat man had no wish to fight especially with a gun in his face and ordered his men to stand down.

"You going to steal from me then?" he sighed.

"No. I cannot steal from something you do not own. Your bridge crew should have Federal Navy ships on scan, they'll be taking proceedings from here!"

An hour later Captain Sosa was back in his quarters on the Horder stripping of the Amarrian mask and robes. Slowly the Caldari man under the disguise was revealed. He showered and changed back to his normal clothing. Grabbing a mug of coffee he approached his desk as the communicator chirped. Accepting the call a small holographic figure appeared.

"I hear the Feds are rather happy with the conclusion of that contract!" Mordu stated. The head of the Legion wore an eccentric hat in the shape of a Rokh battleship.

"Yes, one less slaver is always good news, but a slaver operating in high-sec space outside the Amarrian Empire territory is a special catch."

"Good work there. I need to you to swing over to the system of Fricoure, the Duvolle Laboratories station there. They've put in a call. One of their scientists was seconded out to another company. They think they may have been duped and the scientist kidnapped. They want to talk to us about a locate and retrieve contract."

"We're only three jumps from there. Once the Feds are happy with the situation here we'll head over. What do we know?"

"There scientist was supposed to be helping out on a mineral survey for six months in deep space. So deep in fact, communication was impossible, we're talking interstellar here. Yesterday they received a partial message from the scientist. Its too early for them to be back, however the message originated from low-sec space between the State and the Federation. Therefore they think this company may have just kidnapped their scientist. They don't want the Feds involved nor their internal police. Something about results being published soon and no negative press. They want a quiet and low-key investigation by the Legion."

"Sounds ominous. We'll get there as soon as we are finished here."

Mordu nodded, his huge hat looking like it may fall off his head but it stayed put. The hologram vanished.


OMS System
Contested Space

Thanan reviewed the report. The theory had been correct. The project he'd spent over decade of his life working on was nearing fruition.

He looked at the holo-picture on his desk. A tear welled up in his eye. Soon there would be vengence. Soon he would find peace after so many years of pain.

Activating a secure commlink he waited for the recipient to accept the call.

"Is the ship secure?"
"Yes sir. Its docked and locked down."
"Nobody was able to get a communication out?
"We cannot be 100% certain sir. It took two seconds to lock the ship as it jumped back. Its possible someone sent a message before the ionisation weapon fired. However we knew that was a risk sir."
"We'll just have to hope the jump took them all by surprise. You have the item?"
"Yes sir. Its been transferred from the ship and is in the vault as requested."
"The crew?"
"As per your orders, the scientists have been transferred to holding cells. The others are confined to quarters on the ship."
"Excellent. Wipe the ship's computers and proceed with the next phase."

He disconnected the comm link and walked over to the bar. The bottle of Gallente vodka hovered in the air over a glowing disk. The repulsor field was not just a display device, it also kept the drink at exactly -2C. Thanan took the bottle and poured a healthy measure. Downing the drink in one he felt the alcohol warm his throat. He poured another measure and moved over to the window that looked into space. He'd had this outpost positioned so his office window looked out into deep space, into the Black Rise region and onward towards Caldari space. As he sipped his drink he smiled. Soon it would all be over.

To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. Good Morning and thank you for the read this week. Very interested in following this to where it leads.