Thursday, 10 March 2011

35 days...

I stood looking up from the viewing gallery up at the monstrosity I was commissioning for myself, my hands gripping the mottled brown handrails tight as impatience came and went within me.

The room looked out into one of the many titanic docking chambers inside the Brutor space station, it's dark and distant walls over a kilometer in every direction almost leaving the whole thing enveloped in darkness. if it wasn't for the occasional window and the powerful robotic floodlights cutting the shadows with ease you might never quite grasp the level of organised chaos in that cold and busy Zero-G building site.

I let out a calming breath and put my hands through my hair, a habit I had quickly reacquired since hair had become a more convenient extravagance. For a long time I had, through a sense of practicality, ignored my appearance to save on the costs of cybernetics. It had left me a ghostly white skinned bald headed and sunken look not at all helped by my lazy and heavily ringed eyes.

I had made the change back to my original appearance for two reasons, firstly because the 'incarna' tech cloning bays were making it easy to take care of my looks, and secondly because my long time friend Pan Lu had described my head as an, 'angry albino penis'.

So I was my fair skinned, blond haired, blue eyed self once more. I felt totally out of place in a Minmatar station building the flying nightmare out there and looking this non-threatening and 'healthy'. I was anxious to get the beast built and prove that actions spoke louder than hair product.

Luckily my new project was the perfect tool for the job, a Marauder type battleship. State of the art, it's structural integrity field overpowered so much the whole ship lost it's familiar and almost warm orange glow and took on an angry and violent red hue. It complimented the black hull wonderfully.

The Vargur was ugly where I was now, well, handsome. It was aggressive and threatening where as the best I could show was maybe mild irritation, I was never a naturally threatening individual. I tried to ignore the fact that I was putting an awful lot of pressure on a flying rack of repeating howitzer cannons but hey, I'm Immortal, it's healthy to remind myself that I'm a petty human from time to time...

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Next stop, opportunity...

My engines screaming, the interface with my Rifter frigate filled my senses with complaint as I pushed and pushed them. Fourty-four Warp jumps, long ones, forming and collapsing warp bubbles, draining on both the ship and the pilot within.

The ship had reason to complain, I was being jumpy and skittish, as much as I've proven a capable pilot, I've never allowed myself to dive headfirst into nullsec before, not without an escort, or atleast a friend waiting for me.

As soon as I crossed into low security space I became frantic, and it might have saved my life. Out here you don't need a corporate sanctioned war target for a straight out fight, everyone will try with you. I constantly willed my ship into warp with tracking warnings flashing through my neural interface.

Pirates, corporate enemies, and some people who simply want to brag about killing an immortal. I dodged them all. This was not my element, and people who were used to this space always forgot to mention things that they assumed were common knowledge. I don't know if it's conceit or a sick joke, but they will mock you a thousand times before they will give you the golden rules of survival.

I almost head straight into a warp disruption bubble, I have no Idea how they work. I quickly change direction as yet more target alerts pulse in my head. I'm pretty sure I'm going to dock with a migraine if I make it to my destination at all. But I'm in null-sec now.

The frontier of the known world. Where the fingers of the major empires haven't the resources to stretch, but the infinite lifespan and opportunism of the Capsuleers do.

The Rifter complains less now, as each jump is a long silent glide at warp, and my sensors find fewer and fewer people in local. After all the horror stories I'd found that one of the truths was right, low-sec space is far far scarier than null-secs quiet tranquility. I just became more nervous, one thing I've learned is that complacency wins you a capsule flight home.

But now I was almost to my destination, and in welcome my sensors picked up contact after contact, all the blue of a friend and even in my interfaced state I felt my near lifeless bodies shoulders sag with relief.

Then there it was, a silver monolith shooting up, a homage to the skyscrapers planetside who tried to pierce the skies. It filled the view of my cam drones and towered like a spear into the void above my Rifter, filling me with awe as I emerged out of my capsule to gaze upon it from my cockpit. My human eyes could see it with less clarity, but this just made the sight more humbling.

I sent the docking signal to the neon blue and silver monument. And it welcomed my small craft in, a new home from which I could learn to fight. Not just other pilots but the true foes, the uncontrolled and unlimited Capsuleers of the free stars...

Friday, 21 May 2010

I slide my empty bottle away and lean back in my chair, rocking it with my heels as it precariously balances on the back legs. linking my fingers behind my head for some support I let out a relaxed yawn , its sound smothered by the hubbub in the stuffy but well kept bar I often frequent.

While many of my crew and some friends laugh and joke or just focus on their drink I take a moment to watch the door. I often take these moments, so much so that every scratch and smudge on the doors surface was very familiar with me. I play with the notion that some old friends will return and maybe even a few exciting new ones, capsuleers do tend to be a bit, colourful, after all.

The long running rumor was that one day Capsuleers would get a little more freedom on the empire stations. At the moment you needed to perform a few small acts or one big act to get twenty four hours of Independence in one. The rest of the time you rented a room or stayed aboard your ship. People didn't want demigods owning a piece of habitable space because he or she could own it, technically, till the end of life.

'The end of time', I pondered with a smirk and leant forward, righting my chair. It was this thought that always stopped me slipping into melancholy. Firstly with flights of fancy like buying all the toilets in a space station and having them legally paid for but unavailable forever. But mostly because forever was a long time to wait, and all the immortals I'd come to appreciate had every chance of walking back through those doors someday, preferably with drinks and a few hair raising tales from deep space.

I slid out of my chair and headed for the door, patting one of my new gunners on the head with a grin as I passed, he'd corrected the telemetry on a faulty sensor allowing me to will eight fourteen-hundred millimeter cannons to blow up three cruisers in three volleys. I was seriously considering giving him a recommendation for one of the capsuleer academies, if he seemed the sort to survive the infomorphic process.

Bumping through the doors with little attention so that they bounced back and forth on their hinges, I headed into a market area, eyes blinking a little to adjust to the bright neon lights filling the view. I usually left my optic augments switched off, I didn't need their multi spectral perfection reminding me that I wasn't an unstoppable space behemoth at the moment, preferring to accept that I was just a bit of an idiot with a like of drink, women and the unhealthiest kebabs known to man.I stopped for one before heading back to the hangar.

As I ate through it like it was my last meal I felt a transmissions pulse from my cranial implants. Since I reserved this means of communication for business only I accepted the call, having a transparent visage of my agent Ashin Puvenen fill my vision, not exactly fun viewing. He was as militaristic in appearance as a caldari gets, shaved head, body armour and the square jaw and miserable eyebrows typical of their kind. I always wondered why he chose to represent Corporation Police instead of the Navy.

'You know those things will kill you', he said, referring to the kebab he was seeing through MY augments.
'Firstly, Ashin. Just because I'm not using my augments doesn't mean you can, secondly don't worry about the kebab, I'm gonna go try and kill this clone with things far more unhealthy and illegal later. Thirdly, what's the job?', I said as monotone as possible, don't want him thinking he's a friend. He is, but he's earning it the hard way.

'Yeah well, hi, and's a job, possibly', he said almost apologetically. I knew where this was going.
'She didn't. not again', I offered, already rubbing my temples with annoyance. 'She' did.
'She did yeah, her old mans stopped offering the primo rewards for her but they are still pretty sizable...To her credit she hasn't snuck off with a crime lord for over a month now', Ashin said, trying to add humor to the occasion.

'She' had long since lost any claim to a name in the capsuleer circles, we just called her 'The Damsel', the most annoying spoiled little rich girl with daddy issues in the known universe. Her exploits were legendary, and so were the holovids of them.
Her claim to fame was A. finding herself the most depraved and powerful slavers outside the amarrian chapel sewing circle, B. Playing Damsel in distress and loving every minute of it and C. repeating the whole mess all over again after her rescues.

The pay was good, the exhibition of our skills in the rescues were well sought after and the chance to tangle with some real hard cases was a thrill. That didn't mean we didn't hate the little brat though.

'I dunno Ashin, I don't need that kinda irritation. Have you tried Korinne? Sera? The Police?', I added that last one for a laugh, the CPF don't do rescues for someone no matter how rich they are unless he is backing one of the major corporations, a total mockery of the term 'Police'.

'You said you wanted a job, it's what I have', Ashin replied in the same deadpan tone I used on him earlier, I had no doubt he had to deal with the same reaction from many a reluctant Capsuleer.

I sigh,'There can't be much of a rush, any idiot stupid enough to keep her 'prisoner' by now knows they are dead meat, so gimme a few hours and let me see what my crew think, it's their call this time'...

(To be continued if I can be bothered to rescue that douche again).

Thursday, 20 May 2010

I navigate my little Reaper frigate silently through the void, deliberately skimming the nearby asteroids just to keep my hand in as it were. This little ship I called 'Driftwood', it's hull design was suprisingly fitting for it's title. There was almost no symmetry to it and it barely had the power to run a full compliment of civilian modules, yet something about it's 'back to basics' nature always appealed to me. So occasionally I would find myself hiding in the asteroids, daring someone to test the little clunkers limits.

Almost on schedule a pair of guristas frigates drift into this belt. They tend to hop round and around the system, hoping to snare some fool who either doesn't know how to defend his ship, or worse, doesn't know how to not look for trouble.

Luckily for them they just found some idiot in a Reaper frigate making a direct line for their left flank, spitting civilian gatling gun rounds that won't have a chance of scratching their shields until I'm close enough to swap insurance details like in the holovids.

They accelerate and the one frigate drifts off as the other leads me deeper into the asteroids. It's a classic buddy system. I chase like an idiot, trying to down the one frigate, a Merlin class (really nice ship) as it dodges and weaves through the asteroids with some skill. It's 'buddy' meanwhile is locking assorted missile goodies on my glowing exhaust.

I get in close behind the merlin, it's downward swept wings are almost totally obscured by its proportionally huge thrusters as it twists and rolls, trying it's best to confuse my tracking computer, I pepper it with my weak guns, being far t0o persistent on his tail, it's the only way my pathetic weapons will eat away his defences.

A subtle jerk runs through my bones as my ships intertial dampeners shield me from feeling the force of a missile right up my rear, the buddy flying a Kestrel class missile boat launches missile after missile even as my target spits back at me with hybrid blasters.

I corkscrew a little, more to avoid direct hits that to avoid them outright, I'm pretty good with energy shield theory, almost a master so I know I can keep them both out of my hull as long as I'm not an easy target. My gunnery skills are good but not great and so I take on a grim silence as I will my guns to fire more and more paltry rounds into the merlin, dissolving it's shields like rain weathering a rock.

The Kestrel is barely even moving now, hanging just outside the asteroids and letting its missile guidance systems do all the dodging and weaving, and they are suprisingly good. But it's not enough, the Merlin is starting to feel the rounds chewing it's hide, it's beautifully fabricated engines start to warp as I pummel the armour like dough being hit my a hammer.

Eventually one engine just can't take the stress and blows, throwing a spiral plume of plasma into space as the Merlin careers out of control, I think every asteroid is going to be the pilots grave as it skims and grinds across them but it keeps going. I almost expect to see the pilot eject a capsule or bail out in a space suit, but no such luck, the poor pirate explodes brilliantly as it's antimatter supply gets free of its magnetic containment.

I almost lose focus watching the display but thump after thump into my shields reminds me that I've become an open target, and my shield meter lights up in complaint as I almost let them fail, I turn around fast, and close the distance between me and the Kestrel spraying it with barely greater effect than on the Merlin.

My paltry shield booster somehow managed to correct my mistake and my shields start to stabilise as the Kestrel pulls away, it knows I can't kill it quickly but I can kill it, and it knows when it's beaten.

As I watch it slip cleanly into warp with barely a lick of damage but a heap of troubled thoughts, I know I've atleast taught the pilot a valuable lesson, the ship doesn't make the pilot...Not always atleast.

Still, the final fight was anticlimactic, I need something to test my immortality and this frigate has to explode some day, so I look with interest on reports of a drone hive being built barely an astronomical unit away...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

I lay on my bunk and winced as a stream of under the breathe obscenities hissed their way through my comms system. Somewhere, maybe twenty hyperspace jumps or more away, Korinne was cursing her abilities as she fought a desperate battle between her allies in the Black Rabbit Alliance and whoever they had chosen to pick on this week.

I knew she knew her comms were still on, and knew it was the least of her concerns. She was a girl totally open about her flaws, but incredibly reluctant to show her greatness. If she was in a good mood I was under no illusions that she wouldn't turn the channel off, it was just her way.

Wether or not she could bring herself to admit it, she had grown, in terms of statistics she had absorbed almost as much information as me due to her augments, even with her temporary hiatus planetside. But she had something I did not, and she was already growing, leaving me in her shadow.

It started small, she started to take risks, flying her boats into low security space, actively looking for foolish or naive miners to exploit. It was trouble she was after, much like our mutual mentor Dossie. It seemed to be a trait in capsuleer women, they had all seemed to develop an urge to throw everything on the line for kicks. I knew one pretty extreme woman named Dax 'preemptively salvaged' a third generation experimental caldari strategic cruiser just for the hell of it.

I knew it was only a matter of time before Korinne picked up the urge.

I rolled sideways on my bed and absorbed all the cursing and spitting filling my quarters, I knew even if she didn't that she was always going to be a few steps ahead of me, wether as a gleaming metal weapon or a fallible and precious woman. I was even glad of it.

I reflect on myself and feel the successes of my friends only elevate me more. And then I decide one of these days I would follow her and the others into the dark depths of space. After all, it's where all the best and worst stuff happens...
'I heard he's just some sort of really convincing AI simulation', Seraphina added as yet another mercenary cruiser broke apart in the wake of her ships collosal thrusters.

Her shields were gone long ago and to an inexperienced space the multi-megatons of punishment being slammed into her armor plating would have been horrifying. But Seraphina Oriana was not inexperienced, and her cool demeanour and idle chatter was not interrupted by such 'relatively weak' attacks.

'Y'know, you violate a docking code or eject that bloody damsel girl into space and he instantly tells us off, how can he be a real person if he's so damned fast!?', she continues as her ships armor plates are twisted by explosive forces only to whip back into place as if never hit by powerful magnetic anchors and the most advanced nanoferrous reassemblers on the market.

Her ship was eclipsed in my view as an equally impressive vessel drifted over my Heavy assault Cruiser. It was a Rattlesnake class Battleship (as impressive as Sera's Golden Amarrian design, though I'd not admit it too her face), piloted by my mentor and twisted genius friend Dossie.

'I heard he is more like a 'they'. A bunch of clones of some really successful deckhand that are always on call, I don't think an AI is going to be so easy to manipulate by any woman otherwise', she says in a blatantly fake and sickly sweet tone that inspires a chuckle in Seraphina.

They carry on the discussion as two Raven Class Battleships try a broadside action against Sera, their frightening arsenal fully capable of crippling most ships, even those of many capsuleers. But Dossie, Sera and maybe even myself had evolved far to much. Our minds were in every facet of our ships systems, we could adjust our shields to the perfect harmonics to dampen the blasts, polarise our hulls to negate damage, I'd even seen these two collapse a warp bubble and powerslide their Battleships sideways towards a Hyperspace gate on the knife edge of survivable decelerations. It was quite a sight.

'I think it's more likely that 'Scottie' is just an honorable title given to the deckhand and they practice the accent', I add as our combined guns make a mockery of the first Ravens shields.

'Well that's just boring', Dossie and Sera reply in unison as the Raven explodes in a halo of light behind them...
I flick a switch and my flight chair shifts from underneath me, all my weight supported by spinal and cranial jacks that draw me inside the capsule behind me. It's a strange sensation, almost, I imagine, like going back to the womb. I've heard it's the trauma of this reversal that is one of the hardest things for people to accept. I never had a problem, capsuleer's are who they are because they can mentally adapt to things like this. I smirk as the capsule swallows me and the 'pod goop' envelops, wondering if this means that 'mommy issues' are what make or break a potential pod pilot.

I feel my eyes blink a few times as I adjust to my other state, that of a ship in space, swarming with camera drones viewing it from every angle. One judders as it tries to blink, then it, or rather I realise I'm not operating on that level anymore. I'm in my element, the ship, with senses that can track to heat of the universe almost to the dawn of its creation, and power to end thousands of lives with a thought.

I survey my hull, I'm well maintained. A friend of mine, Dossie Kielle has recently did me a favour and saved me a trip to the repair dock with her drones. I upset more of my camera drones as I try to roll my eyes with amusement. She's polished and chromed a small patch on my otherwise oxydized hull.

'I'm not gonna clean this rust bucket for you too, hugs-Dossie', scrawled in 12 foot tall letters along my starboard side. I laugh and remind myself to grind that hull plate free of grafitti along Scotties dock bay doors.

Noone in their right mind expects a demigod to be responsible with their powers, especially not the kind of Demigods and goddesses I know.