Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Written as an entry for Crazykinux’s Blog Banter Special Edition: Why we love Eve Online contest. I hope that this illustrates amply why I love Eve. Without further ado, the entry:

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“…This is The Scope, and you’re listening to New Eden Today, with Jaqueline DeVries. Our top story this hour… as President Jacus Roden sets out his agenda to combat the “lurking corruption within the Gallente Federation”, a former Exotic Dancer claims that President Roden has had shady dealings with the notorious pleasure hub and casino owner, Kruul. Lindy Lovelips, now an “actress”, claims that Roden confessed his interest in the fellow to her, during a chance encounter…”

All the same, I thought, as I tuned out the latest report on yet another scumbag looking to lead. These politicians are a grimy bunch, for sure. Word is that this one’s a capsuleer. Not that that means anything, these days. It’s not like morality and long life sit well together. Immorality, and immortality. Better bedfellows by far. Still, some of us try to stay clean, to stay true to our word. Lies aren’t good for business, in the main. Not good at all.

I cast my eyes across the screen array, adjusting a buy order and a pair of sell orders. 0.01 isk. Again. The human mind struggles to comprehend more than a thousand of anything, they say. My augmented capsule-brain struggles to comprehend as little as 0.01 isk. Still, of such fractions are my profits made. Of such fractions is my empire made. I started with naught but a stipend from the university. A few small jobs later, I had the makings of my first mill. A couple of investments and a bit of margin trading, and my first bill approached. Now, who knows. Austin Enterprises has plenty, plenty enough for me. The markets of Dodixie, Rens, Hek and Jita have been kind.

The chirrup of an incoming convo focussed my mind. Arthur Miller. Bound to be a pseudonym. I answered nonetheless.

“Mr Austin, sorry to bother you. I was told that you could help. I need a ship and some modules quickly, and the markets have failed me.”

Straight to the point. It’s a good trait in business, bad in politics. I already liked this Miller.

“And what exactly are you looking for, Mr Miller?”

“A Pilgrim. I’ll link the fit I want.”

I scanned the info on the screen. Pricey, but easily sourced. Miller was in a hurry, and people in a hurry mean profit. Big profit.

“250 million isk, Mr Miller. And I’ll have it contracted to you at the hub of your choice within the hour.”

The Pilgrim Force Recon

“Thank you, Mr Austin. Hek, if you would.”

“My pleasure, Mr Miller. Austin Enterprises pride ourselves on our promptness. Have a nice day.”

A nice day? With a Pilgrim fit like that, I was certain that he would. Someone else, however, was going to have a rotten old day.

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“…and reports continue to flood in of unwarranted and lethal attacks on miners across New Eden, in what is being termed Hulkageddon. It seems that this “event” is being driven by several bands of notorious pirates, who seem to have stopped fighting one another, long enough to turn their malevolent eyes on the industrialists. For more analysis, we go to our piracy correspondent, Leo Theoronis… Leo, what do you have for us?..”

I flicked off the transmissions, as I approached the end of the warp. A fatty procurer and a slowbie retriever were already credited to me for Hulkageddon, but I was after bigger fish. Tommy the Cat is my name, and cats like fish. Yeah, fish! Mineral stuffed fish. Or something. Hey, don’t look at my metaphor funny! But big fish were my aim, so I’d set my sights on a Mackinaw. A big, lumbering exhumer, specialised for Ice ops, a Mack would look good on my killboard. Hence trawling the ice fields. These soft-as-butter mining pansies wouldn’t know what hit ’em!

I’d picked a Mack up on directional as soon as I’d jumped into the system. Pilot name ClaudiusV. Local told me that there were a few other in system with us, but I was banking on them being too chicken-livered to get in my way. The T-Cat’s got a rep, ya know. I figure a bounty of 20mil tells ’em all they need to know about the Cat. Cat’s on the prowl, and you keep outta his way, ya know!

As the warp shadows faded, I saw my fish. Hanging there, chewing ice like some space-stalled bottom feeder. Lovely Mack, the Cat’s got a present for you. I gunned the engines, turning my ‘rax towards him, and closed with a burn of the microwarpdrive. And ordered the ship’s ‘puter to get a lock. My hybrids heated up, ready to fry my fishie.

And then it all went dark. It took me a moment to see it. Hidden there between me and the ice. Silent, deadly. Pilgrim. I didn’t need to look to see what had happened. Neuts. Lots of them. And a ‘grim sat on my behind. Me? The Cat. Dead. In. The. Water.

Fish had a friend, you see. T-Cat had no friend. And soon, T-Cat had no ‘rax no more, neither. Torn to itty bitty space bits by the ‘grim’s Warriors. Damn drones. Damn cloaked ship. Damn.

But hey, ya know, plenty more fish in the sea.

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“…as State Executor Heth of the Caldari State responded to the attacks. “This continued violence against Caldari State interests will not be tolerated. Already we have dispatched forces to calm the unrest, and prevent it from spreading. Early information points to the action of Federation agitators stirring trouble, yet again. Lest we forget the actions of the Gallente at Malkalen…”

I stifled the urge to vomit, as Tibus Heth spewed his venom across the ether. A distasteful man, with hateful bigoted blood coursing through every one of his veins. As God is my witness, so I would open those veins and let his foul putrescence spill. But for now, his State is an ally to us; and the glory of the Empire was built upon the swallowing of the bile induced by such as he. Amarr Victor, may God send us victory. And may the lady be by his side. I know that one day there will be a reckoning, a weighing of the lady, Jamyl Sarum, and the faith. But for now, she is Empress, and God walks with her.

I roused myself from my interstellar theological musings, and pulled my focus back to the present. I had a job to do, and it was imperative that I have my wits fully about me. Miller needed to know what I had discovered, and delay would render the information valueless. I checked that the subspace transmissions were appropriately circuitously routed, and engaged the secure channel to him.

“Acturus, report”, Miller’s familiar style. To the point.

“Well, Mr Miller, it seems that the time is right. Our corporation will leave the alliance at exactly 18:00 tomorrow evening. At that time the TCU will go offline. That will leave the system open for you to move in.”

“Excellent, Acturus, excellent. How long will it take the alliance to move to secure the area?”

“I expect them to have their advance party in system within an hour or so, and then a main force to follow a couple of hours later. If you appear opportunistic and weak then they will commit a large proportion of their Caps to the field, in the hope that overwhelming force can be applied. They won’t want to let you take a foothold.”

“You’re sure they won’t suspect anything?”

“Absolutely. I already have the argument set up, our leaving will be seen as a fit of pique, not as a political powerplay. I will make sure that there are no jammers left in system. Have faith, Mr Miller; God will see us victorious.”

“Your God, Arcturus. Not mine. Still, I trust that all will be well. I shall see you when all this is over.”

“Just be sure that you honour our agreement, Miller. It would not do to cross us.”

“Have faith, Arcturus. Goodbye.”

I shook my head slightly as the communication was cut. A deal with the Devil in the name of God. May we be preserved…

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“…and in other news, Rassus Ratchet was crowned winner of the latest ISRC series, after a clean sweep of the last 4 races. The Minmatar pilots was “overjoyed and ecstatic to have shown all New Eden my racing prowess” and stated his intent to defend his title in the next series. In entertainment news…”

I shut the thing up. I have a soft spot for racing, but could care less which talentless synth-breasted harpy had won “Molden Heath’s got talent”. The Scope broadcasts kept me entertained during these times, but it was inevitable that they’d play some of the winner’s performance, and I feared for the cleanliness of my pod fluid.

Almost time. I was waiting for their fleet to assemble. They’d realised that we’d made a move on the system pretty quickly, and as Arcturus has said, their advance party had arrived pretty quickly. They’d cleared the system of our pilots; some of my friends were back at their med clones, where conveniently they had proper ships waiting for them. Their SBUs were online and they were gathering forces to reclaim the system. I understood that Arcturus’ argument had gone exactly to plan. They’d not suspected a thing.

So here I was, sat at a deep safe spot, all cloaked and waiting. the word would come, and then we’d rain hell down on them. And about time too, this lot had been a thorn in our side for eighteen months. We’d been losing. Pretty badly. Well, this’d show them.

And there was the word. Barking through my comms, goading me to action. I engaged my warp drive, heading for the spot just above the station that I had been assigned. The fleet interface crackled to life, as my fellows joined me. The station was clear as we arrived, and I kicked the cyno generator into action. I saw a number of my comrades de-cloak and begin their field generation too.

The next five minutes felt as an eternity, as I sat helplessly watching events unfold around me. The enemy arrived, alerted by the lighting of so many beacons, but we were already too many for them. Our bombers and the fighters from the newly arrived carriers ripped into their hulls. We lost a couple of the recons, but we had a fortnight’s supply of them from the trade hubs. The blue ice that Claudius had mined fuelled the Erebus that now jumped through my cynosaural field. I cheered every one of our ships that arrived; I cheered every one of theirs that was destroyed; and I cheered for our plan was working. I was as a child, the Miller-cool act dropped in the excitement of the moment.

After 5 minutes, my field collapsed, and control of the Pilgrim was returned to me. I drifted it away from the fleet, and re-engaged the cloak. I was going to watch the endgame.

Sure enough, the plan worked. They were outgunned, out-flown, and most of all out-thought. They lost 5 cap ships that evening. We lost none. They lost the system, and we gained it. Total victory.

As I turned for home, I let my mind wander. It dreamed of the next plan, and of the next victory.

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“Cromeaux Inc. – Who would you like to be today? Cromeaux are New Eden’s foremost suppliers of high quality clones. When it’s your mind in the balance, settle for nothing less! Our cloning facilities have been designed from the ground up with quality in mind, and we offer premium cloning services. Wouldn’t you like the opportunity to be whomever you’d like. A trader? A pilot for a major alliance? A racing pilot? Even a pirate or a spy? You owe it to yourself to take care of your mind, and offer it the opportunities it deserves. Gain immortality and the chance to realise your dreams with a Cromeaux clone. Who would you like to be today?”

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Please take a few moments out to read the other entries, all listed at:

http://www.crazykinux.com/2010/02/why-we-love-eve-online-contest-list-of.html

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A navigational puzzle

Posted: October 14, 2009 in Fiction, fun

This is a forum contest that I ran for Eve uni students on the forums during extended downtime a couple of weeks ago. I offered some cash prizes to the first unistas to solve it, and thought that people here might fancy giving it a go, just for fun. Feel free to comment, but please don’t give the solution away – I’ll pop it up here in a week or so’s time.

Hope that it provides some brief enjoyment.

Walter cursed as he caught his head on the bulkhead. Rubbing his now bleeding scalp, he hurried on towards the bridge of the small ship. The klaxons were starting to grate, and as for the dulcet tones of his ships computer, well, had the damned thing had a neck, he’d have wrung it by now.

“Emergency. Emergency. Proximity alert. Impact detected. Shield systems critical. Armour systems critical.”

Walter was convinced that she was mocking him with her calmness, so laconic was her delivery. He imagined for a second the supercilious sneer on the lips of the “voice artiste” as she offered the phrases into a microphone in the offices of whatever shonky outfit had built this fragile excuse for a ship. Breacher? More like Breached. As in hull. He imagined the attitude that said that any pilot foolish enough to fly this cobbled together half-ship got what they deserved, and that the “recording talent” wasn’t prepared to expend any more than the minimum energy possible to provide information and warnings.

He arrived on the bridge, and the problem was immediately apparent. A ‘roid. A big one. That his ship had seemingly ploughed straight into. And was now caught upon, one saily bit (what were those things, and what were they called?) impaled upon a rather nasty pointy piece of omber; or plagiowotnot; or whatever the stupid aggressive mineral was.

Walter punched some commands into the central computer system (that at least was working) and the thrusters gently fired, lifting the spindly ship safely away from the ‘roid. The klaxons ceased their incessant wailing, and the superior voice quietened. Walter peered at the nav computer screen, and was answered by a fritzing electron flicker, and the name of the current system: Aldrat.

Great, he thought. Not only is my stupid heap of junk bust up, but my chances of repairing it are limited if I can’t complete this courier mission. An echo of his mothers voice saying “Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose” was silenced by the image of her getting run over by a mining truck. Walter allowed himself the faintest of smiles.

Turning back to his nav computer, he tried in vain to bring up the autopilot route. Instead, he could retrieve nothing more than a sequence of numbers…

0.7, 0.8, 0.9, 0.9, 0.7, 0.7, 0.6, 0.6, 0.4, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, 0.4 -WP1
7, 10, 5, 3, 0, 2, 15, 8, 31, 6, 4, 6, 0, 5 -WP2
5, 9, 7, 5, 4, 6, 6, 8, 6, 4, 9, 8, 9, 4, 10 -Destination

Walter got out his charts, and sat down to try to decipher the codes.

Poor Walter.

This is designed to be solved out of game, and I’d strongly advise the use of one of the out of game map sites.
http://evemaps.dotlan.net/ Dotlan
or
http://www.ombeve.co.uk/ Ombey’s
both come highly recommended.

I hope that this provides a little fun to wipe away those downtime blues…

Welcome to the ninth installment of the EVE Blog Banter and its first contest, the monthly EVE Online blogging extravaganza created by CrazyKinux. The EVE Blog Banter involves an enthusiastic group of gaming bloggers, a common topic within the realm of EVE Online, and a week to post articles pertaining to the said topic. The resulting articles can either be short or quite extensive, either funny or dead serious, but are always a great fun to read! Any questions about the EVE Blog Banter should be directed here. Check out other EVE Blog Banter articles at the bottom of this post!

This is my submission for the Blog Banter challenge, run by CrazyKinux. The subject is: “Last month Ga’len asked us which game mechanic we would most like to see added to EVE. This month Keith “WebMandrill” Nielson proposes to reverse the question and ask what may be a controversial question: Which game mechanic would you most like to see removed completely from EVE and why? I can see this getting quite heated so lets keep it civil eh?”

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Solar winds swept a multicoloured corona across the atmosphere of the first planet; coruscating light played like sprites dancing a whirlygig chase. I knew it was merely plasma, but the movement made it seem almost alive. An organic part of the lifesphere that we called a system. Random electrons and protons had never seemed so curious. Truly here was the work of God. The divine in motion, evidence for all of those unbelievers that a higher hand guided all things.

Still, I drew my gaze away and forced my thoughts back to the matter at hand. All around my compatriots waited. Serried ranks of glittering metallic craft , golden in reflected light, as we awaited the order to warp. This war had only been active a week or so, but had already seen many losses on both sides. Their losses were by far the pricier; command vessels, battleships and even that jump freighter. A smile played across my face at the memory. A fat, slow target, rammed to the gunnels with expensive electronics and valuable cargo. Surely someone must have forgotten to tell him that they were at war, for why else would he be snoozing in his capsule as the autopilot drifted his valuable vessel into the clutches of our fleet. Still, we’d had our losses too – a hundred or more firgates , destroyers and cruisers. Cheap, certainly, but still we felt each loss. This time we stood to cost them a fleet issue Tempest. Our scouts had tracked him across the region, and we knew where he was, and we had managed to tempt him out…

The comm unit crackled to life with the order to jump. Fantastic! He’d left the safety of the station and now we had him! The computer engaged the warp drive, as I readied for a fight.

I’d jumped to my optimals, a scant 10 clicks out from the target, and there he was. I recited in my mind the sequence, wrote learned so many years ago. Target, point, web… got him! My fellow tacklers had all done the same, and he was held. Our damage support were working hard on his shields, and all looked good. Shields at 50%… 30%… 10% – he’s into armour now! 70%… 50%… 30%… where’s he gone? Lazers sailed through space that he formerly occupied, yet we knew that his warp drives were jammed. Where…. oh.

The public comm channel filled with our fleet commanders voice… he did not sound happy.

“This is Amarr vice-admiral Clunes to Amarr Navy station control.”

“Yes, sir. This is Amarr Navy station, go ahead.”

“Do you have a Minmatar Fleet issue Tempest docked within? One that few moments ago we were fighting here?”

“Yes, sir. We do.”

“Would you care to explain to me, exactly, what you are doing, giving shelter to a war target?”

“Uhhh, sir. You know that we can’t take sides in this. This is a matter between your corporation and his. This is not a matter for the Amarr Navy. As long as he doesn’t attack any of you, he’s free to dock and undock as many times as he’d like.”

“But his corporation has declared war on us! Us! I myself have spent years working for you and yours, my loyalty to the Amarr Navy is beyond reproach, acknowledged by Kezti Sundara himself even! I have killed thousands of minmatar on your behalf, and yet here you are, telling me that you can’t, or won’t, stop this war target of ours from hiding in your station!”

“That’s correct, sir. Corporation policy, you understand.”

“Can’t we… Fleet! Engage, engage, engage!”

He was out again. Undocked and floating out of the docking bay! I repeated the procedure, target, point, web… and locked him down again. This time he reached 45% armour before he redocked.

“Vice-admiral Clunes to Amarr Navy station control”

“Yes, sir?”

“He did it again, did you see that?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well…?”

“Well what, sir?”

“Well, are you going to kick him out?”

“No, sir, I’m afraid….”

“Wait! look I’ve just used the neocom to check his standings… you don’t even like him!”

“No sir – this pilot has accounted for a fair number of our people in combat operations over the years.”

“So, let me get this straight… he is an enemy pilot, in a formally declared war with your allies, who are sat outside your station; and you won’t turf him out?”

“No sir. Corporation policy dictates that we let him dock and undock at will, as long as he doesn’t attack anyone. That we hate him makes no difference. That he’s at war, makes no difference. That the war is with our allies, makes no difference. He’s free to dock and undock whenever he’d like.”

“That’s insane! Do you hear me? Insane!”

“Sir, it is not for me to make value judgements on the sanity or otherwise of regulations. Rules are rules, after all.”

“Now, you listen to me, you little…”

I switched the channel off to avoid the inevitable volley of abuse.

Twice more the Tempest undocked, letting us waste valuable energy and time, before redocking. Each time his laughing was audible over the public channels. The more he laughed, the more it felt as an affront to all Amarr. And the more that the Vice-admiral swore. I’d suggested that the station control might be amenable to a bribe, but it seemed not. We’d tried to lure the enemy into shooting at us, but of course he would not. Our fine work with the corporation that controlled the station seemed to count for nothing. We even tried bumping him out of docking range, but the ring on the station was far too wide, and whilst we were able to move him, he was always able to dock.

After three hours, we gave up. These docking games were neither productive nor fun. We went home. I understand that the Vice-admiral was in a  rage for weeks.

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So there we go. I think that this illustrates the mechanic that I’d like to see removed. Namely, the ability of targets in combat to dock. I don’t care whether they have aggressed or not, I think that if you are fighting, you should not be able to dock. Perhaps, standings could be used to influence this. If you are +5 or above with a corp, perhaps they’ll let you dock if you are under attack. But anyone below that can’t dock during combat. The mechanics that allow docking games are flawed, frustrating and should be removed or changed.

Eve hi-sec war is a slightly flawed mechnic in and of itself – but I can see the reasons for it. Docking games simply add a layer of frustration to it, that is both unecessary and not fun.

Thanks for reading.

List of Participants:

  1. Diary of a Space Jockey, Blog Banter: BE GONE!
  2. EVE Newb, (EVE) Remove You
  3. Miner With Fangs, Blog Banter – It’s the Scotch
  4. The Eden Explorer, Blog Banter: The Map! The Map!
  5. The Wandering Druid of Tranquility, “Beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, beacons, mushroom, MUSHROOM!!!”
  6. Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah, Kill the Rats
  7. Mercspector @ EVE, Scotty
  8. EVE’s Weekend Warrior, EVE Blog Banter #9
  9. A Merry Life and a Short One, Eve Blog Banter #9: Why Won’t You Die?
  10. Into the unknown with gun and camera, Blog Banter – The Hokey Cokey
  11. The Flightless Geek, EVE Blog Banter #9: Remove a Game Mechanic
  12. Sweet Little Bad Girl, Blog Banter 9: Who is Nibbling at My House?
  13. One Man and His Spaceship, Blog Banter 9: What could you do without?
  14. Life in Low Sec, EVE Blog Banter #9: Stop Tarnishing My Halo
  15. Cle Demaari: Citizen, Blog Banter #9: Training for all my men!
  16. A Mule in EVE, He who giveth, also taketh away?
  17. Dense Veldspar, Blog Banter 9
  18. Morphisat’s Blog, Blog Banter #9 – Randomness Be Gone !
  19. Facepalm’s Blog, EVE Blog Banter #9: What a new pilot could do without
  20. Memoires of New Eden, You’re Fired
  21. Kyle Langdon’s Journeys in EVE, EVE Blog Banter #9 Titans? What’s a Titan?
  22. Achernar, The gates! The gates are down!
  23. Speed Fairy, EVE Blog Banter #9: Down with Downtime!
  24. I am Keith Neilson, EVE Blog Banter #9-F**K Da Police
  25. Ripe Lacunae, The UI… Where do I begin… (Eve Blog Banter #9)
  26. Clown Punchers, EvE Blogs: What game mechanic would you get rid of?
  27. Estel Arador Corp Services, You’ve got mail
  28. Epic Slant, Let Mom and Pop Play: EVE Blog Banter #9
  29. Deaf Plasma’s EVE Musings, Blog Banter #9 – Removal of Anchoring Delay of POS modules
  30. Podded Once Again, Blog Banter #9 – Do we really need to go AFK?
  31. Postcards from EVE, 2009.07.02.00.29.06
  32. Harbinger Zero, Blog Banter #9 – War Declarations & Sec Status
  33. Warp Scrammed, Blog Banter 9 – Never Too Fast
  34. Ecaf Ersa (EVE Mag), Can a Tractor Tractor a Can?
  35. Thoughts from an Accidental Minmatar Revolutionary, EVE Blog Banter #9 – Aggression timers, WTs and Stargates
  36. Mike Azariah, I don’t put much stock in it…
  37. Rettic’s Log, Blog Banter: Overview Overload
  38. A Sebiestor Scholar, [OOC] EVE Blog Banter #9: Slaves
  39. Diary of a pod pilot, [OOC] EVE blog banter #9: Because of Falcon
  40. Roc’s Ramblings, Blog Banter #9 – Taking Things Slow
  41. The Gaming-Griefer, EVE Sucks, But I Love It: The Memoir of a Masochist
  42. Letrange’s EVE Blog, Blog Banter #9: Bye Bye Learning Skills
  43. Lyietfinvar, Remove that monopoly
  44. Sceadugenga, Blog Banter #9
  45. Industrialist with Teeth, EVE Blog Banter #9

Welcome to the first ever edition of the EVE Blog Challenge! The monthly EVE blogging extravaganza inspired by the “Blog Banter” and created by AnMiTh.  The EVE Blog Challenge is about story telling, and relaying our experiences in EVE in new and exciting ways. The stories/posts that are created are both, long and short, detailed and not so detailed, but it is always fun to see everyone’s interpretation of the source materials. Questions or comments should be directed here, and if you are interested in signing up to participate go here.  Anyone can submit source materials, to do so email them to us here.

And don’t forget to read the other EVE Blog Challenge posts that will be listed at the bottom of this post.

This months source materials were submitted up by AnMiTh from EVE Guru.

The sun glistens off the side of the Piety as she slowly glides through space towards the station orbiting Amarr. This has been the end of a long journey, you had to go through the fire and brimstone of hell, but yet you made it in one piece. Those in the Inner circle were right when they said it would be tough, they were also right when they said you would be rich.

The ship glides to a stop as the station’s docking computer takes over control of the Piety. Before you are even ready to exit your pod the request is sent to your computer… “They” are ready for you in the meeting hall, they are anxious to hear about the journey and the status of the mission that you are on.

You pause, thinking towards your first trip back to the homeworld since the change; you know that it will soon be time. All the training, the practice, and the painful drawn out procedures, all of them will soon culminate in this, your destiny. A destiny that may well prove fatal.

A whirr and clunk, followed by a series of beeps, raise you from your reverie. The inner circle is waiting, and there is danger in leaving them waiting any longer. The walk to the meeting hall is not long, but there is still a hesitancy in your steps, your unfamiliar legs still seem reluctant to obey, as if the flesh fears the consequences of the mind’s intent. You concentrate on smoothing the motion, trying to let the footfalls flow, as you remember from before, from your natural body. Natural? Well, as natural as your body has been since that first cloning. Since you swapped your own sacred flesh for immortality. Right, left, right, left… try not to lean too far forward, nor too far back… the thinking makes it harder, not easier; it’s almost as if the animal instinct should have control, but this flesh suit lacks that instinct. Is this the price for growing people?

There is a functionary waiting for you at the meeting hall. A small unassuming man, nondescript in almost every way, except for a slight limp. You wonder whether he too has undergone the procedure, and briefly consider asking, but dismiss the thought quickly. No way to tell who knows what. The hall itself is empty, but you ensure that your hood hides your features, just in case.

“Follow me, miss”, the man beckons and limps towards a side door. You follow, aware of your own deficient gait.

They are all there, the Inner circle; just as they were on the day that you were recruited; just as they were on the day that this destiny was begun. Faces obscured in a variety of different styles; hoods, veils, masks. The subtext makes you smile.

“Sit!”, the order is barked. You do as your are commanded, lowering your head as if a slave. “Take off your hood.”

You do as he says, and you hear a slight gasp from several of the circle.

“She looks just like Evie!”

“A masterwork!”, the approval is clear. You smile slightly; thinking perhaps that the pain, the long hours of agony were worth it. Your soul-stuff is all that remains of your old self; the flesh suit that you wear now is someone else. Evie Utulf. Daughter of Ana Utulf, former governor of the Ammatar Mandate. Ana Utulf, who some scant months ago had defected to the accursed Minmatar Republic, and with it had plunged the mandate into chaos. Your “mother”.

That had been one of the things that most stuck in your craw. The need to forget your family. You’d always been close to them, to your father in particular, and that you now were to have to give them all up for the glory of the empire was a sadness. And an irritation. It bothered you more, even, than giving you up. Your personality would remain, but submerged, hidden beneath this new person that you had to become. This traitor. Ammatar, Minmatar, thing. But the empire called, and you answered. Your reward will come later.

They’d talked much of rewards, on that first time here. The Inner circle. Of financial incentives, of loyalty, of faith and love. You’d smiled throughout, knowing that this was so much window dressing. The real reward will come in the afterwards, when your soul stuff is eternally blessed by God for the purity of your actions. Their plan seemed good. Since the defection of Utulf, the Mandate had struggled, until Ardishapur had been put in place by the Empress. Yonis Ardishapur, royal heir, had settled the situation and calmed things down. And now, as the business of the empire continued; the Ammatar Mandate was leaving behind its trauma. And forgetting. And the Minmatar republic was escaping unpunished. This could not be allowed, and the inner circle reasoned that, should a relatively high profile former Ammatar make an attempt upon the life of a royal heir – well, that should bring some righteous vengeance down upon the heads of the godless tribesmen.

That was where you came in.

In your capacity as Evie, you would now make an unsucessful attempt upon the life of Yonis Ardishapur, leaving he and his fuming. You would be captured and would confess – to involvement in a conspiracy strecthing back to your mother, and the leadership of the Minmatar republic. The attempt could then be used as the pretext for war. You would, of course, be executed – but they knew nothing of the med clone, a clone of your former self, hidden away in a distant system.You’d been assured that this would be safe – that you would never be found – that the authorities would not realise what had happened. With that clone, lay a fast ship, and several billion ISK. Your reward, such as it was in the here and now.

“Tell me about your mother…”

“Let me tell you about my mother…”

“Who else has planned this with you? Who are the conspirators?” the inquisition continues. The Inner circle wish to be sure that the training, the mind alteration, the hell that they have subjected you to has planted the seeds deep.

“Why? Why? Why?”, the questions come thick and fast, and you snap back answers at them. The lie is as the truth now, the indoctrination has its hooks sunk firmly into the tissue.

Finally, the questions cease. A contented murmur all that remains, and you are dismissed. Sent from that place for the last time.

Two weeks later you sit inside the hangar, high in the structure of its ceiling, awaiting the moment of destiny. Your fingers grip the pulse rifle lightly, cradling it as if it were your child. It’s plasteel handgrip feels solid, real, a point of anchor in the world of fiction. Lies within lies threatinging to take your identity and with it your sanity. You know that your last meeting with the Inner circle was convincing. You know that it was enough to keep them unaware. You know that they trust you.

Far below, the final preparations are being made for the disembarking of the heir. The Inner circle agents had ensured that the security sweep had left your hiding place untouched, and had rerouted security subroutines sufficient to give you your chance. The plan is that you will be captured after the unsucessful shots. The plan is that you’ll confess. The plan is that you’ll miss. Plans change. Plans can be changed. Changed as you are. Changed as you have done.

The Inner circle won’t like it when they hear that Yonis is dead. The Inner circle won’t like it when they find that their assassin has escaped. And they really won’t like it when they find their money gone too.

You touch your comm-unit, silently issuing the autopilot orders to your waiting Anathema. You raise the rifle to your shoulder, sighting the emerging royal heir, and slow your breathing to a standstill.

You pull the trigger.

———-

Other Great “EVE Blog Challenge” Posts –

  1. A Mule In EvE, Been a long way back home
  2. Declarations of War, Internal Unrest
  3. Into the unknown with a gun and camera, Evie
  4. EVE Guru, EBC #1
  5. More to come….

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