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Tag: death

The Last Straw

I’ve been thinking about the intruder. He managed to disable two of the perimeter turrets, land a small ship out in the forest, and clubbed one of Bataav’s commandos nearly to death. They found Hayato left for dead in some underbrush. Thankfully, he’ll recover.

It was Darac Rin, of course. And while we still aren’t certain where this bastard calls home every night, it’s long past time we did something more about it.

This incident was all I needed to decide to push ahead with the idea I’ve been mulling over regarding how to deal with him. The last straw, I suppose. Suddenly, going to the lengths I’ve been considering doesn’t seem so heinous or drastic a measure anymore, and I’m okay with that.

What goes around, comes around.


Visual Omens – The Fifth

Thanks to Bataav for participating.

Intaki Prime – Southern Hemisphere – Eionell Estate

Bataav woke unexpectedly from deep sleep but did not stir. The temptation to open his eyes and sit up was just a dull remnant of instinct easily ignored thanks to years of discipline and skill. To any onlooker he would have still appeared lost in his dreams.

Instead, he stretched forth his senses. A gentle inhalation told him the room smelled the way it should. The light sheet covering him from the hips down was undisturbed. Beside him, Sakaane’s breath was slow and even. She remained asleep, her hand resting lightly on his bare chest. Beyond her, their room was quiet. Yet, something had awoken him.

Flash! Brilliant white light illuminated his closed eyelids and was gone before they could squint in reflex. A greenish-blue afterimage convulsed against the back of his eyes in strange, gradually-fading shapes. After the span of a few heartbeats, the rumble came and he relaxed, wondering if there would be any rain this time or if the storm would blow itself out as nothing more than heat static.

The thunder disturbed Sakaane and she rolled over, sighing softly, but didn’t wake. Bataav took the opportunity to shift closer. The exposed skin of her back felt cool against his front when he wrapped his arm comfortably around her. His lips briefly brushed her shoulder as he settled in.

Another flash, another rumble. And then another. The storm was rapidly approaching.


Visual Omens – The Fourth

Thanks to Tycho Antus, Bataav, and James Syagrius for participating.

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery
IPI Offices

The cider’s aroma wafted out of the cup as Sakaane poured from the pot Karan had waiting for her. The liquid was a pale coral color and smelled of berries. She’d just taken a careful sip of the hot liquid and was about to sit down at her desk when her aide poked his head into the office.

Suprab heti, Madam President,” he said. “There’s a call coming in from Tycho Antus, COO of Reclamation Technologies. Do you wish to take it now?” He glanced at his datapad. “You also wanted me to remind you of this morning’s appointment.”

“Thank you, Karan.” Her nose wrinkled; faintly, despite the fact her office was spotless, she was certain she could still detect the salty odor of fire suppression foam, which the cider and the room’s incense wasn’t strong enough to cover. It reminded her of her last encounter with James Syagrius and she felt a small pinch of anxiety in her gut. “I’ll take the call in the conference hall.”

Picking up her own datapad, Sakaane carried it and the cup through to the meeting room, which was decidedly free of offensive scents. It wasn’t really a hall in sense one might expect; though it could host up to fifty guests at a time, in standard lighting it was drab grey and seemed alarmingly empty save for a few simple chairs placed haphazardly here and there. Behind a door, nearly hidden in the panels of the wall, was a small storeroom containing a collapsible table and folding chairs which could be brought out for guests to use. Usually, these things were left packed away, and Sakaane made no move to retrieve them, opting instead to set her cup and datapad down on a small side table beside the closest chair.


Visual Omens – The Third

Another photograph. The envelope for this one was taped to the door of the suite Bataav and I share on Astral V-5.

It’s a close-up, zoomed in again from the last photo. But this one is clear as crystal. It shows, in perfect, alarming detail…

There’s a date on the image, the kind automatically stamped on when the shot was taken. January 15, YC114. The day my mother died.

The evening, rather. The photo shows it was evening by the color of the waning daylight cast upon the deck. By the purple-blue hue of the sky, just visible in one corner. By the stray firefly, perhaps the first to come out for the night, hovering over the hanging flower basket in the background.

It was evening…because my mother was sitting on the deck at the back of my home on January 15, just like in this photo, to watch the fireflies come out. She had a blanket over her legs even though it was still summer and hot outside…she often had chills.

But I never imagined her face would look…like…that. An essay of terror.

Bataav took the photo away from me. His people found a thumb print on it, placed over my mother’s soundlessly screaming face. This is the sender’s calling card, his message to me.

Of course I know now who the sender must be but I was still sick when Bataav confirmed it. After months of searching databases, to have a record suddenly turn up for Darac Rin (and then quietly vanish some hours after the query was made) was deliberate; he’s playing games with me, telling us that soon he’ll be coming for me like he did for Mom…

Bataav has been very quiet and still, even more so than the way he was when Darac assaulted me at the holoreel convention. I slept for a while to calm my nerves and when I woke I thought he had gone, but he’d been sitting in the corner of our bedroom the entire time, watching over me. I didn’t notice him at all until he finally spoke and startled me nearly into my next incarnation.

All he said to me was, “It’s time to take the fight to him. I will train you.”


Hour of the Wolf

Intaki Prime – South Hemisphere – Drahaana City
Eionell Esatate

A bead of sweat gathered on her forehead where it rested against the pillar, eventually seeping down into her eyebrow through stray hairs plastered to her skin. Then it slipped out, rolling past the corner of her eye and over her cheek like a tear.

The bead lingered near her jaw line, which began to itch as the droplet slowly evaporated into the still air and roused Sakaane from her musing. She sat up and wiped the droplet away. Her forehead burned where it had touched the pillar; even now, in the middle of the night, the smooth white stone still radiated heat soaked up from the sun’s red rays that day. The steps she sat on were similarly warm. It had been an unusually hot day despite autumn in the southern hemisphere being typically cool and dry.

A spot of light caught her eye, bobbing between the leaves of ferns growing just to her left. The firefly came closer, its luminescence weakening as it entered the meager pool of light filtering over Sakaane. A small lamp in the front hall was lit, its light barely reaching outside the house through the draped window beside the door. Other than that and the moons overhead, Sakaane was in the dark.

The bug settled on a flower an arm’s length from her. She sat still, watching it nuzzle the eventide blossom, its rump dimmed almost to nothing while it fed. After a few moments the firefly leapt back into the air, its light flaring bright, and disappeared into the night.


Finding One’s Way

Thanks to Mammal Tafren for his written contributions.
The original posts are here.

Intaki Prime – South Hemisphere – River Ganga

The punt rocked gently as it travelled upriver, propelled against the mild current by strong thrusts of the fisherman’s pole against the shallow river bottom. All was quiet, save for the lapping of water against the hull and the distant cries of birds wheeling overhead.

A cloth canopy positioned ahead of the till provided shade and Sakaane lounged beneath it on the pillows the fisherman had set up for her. The boat was flat-bottomed and low-slung, its sides mere inches from the surface of the river. She pushed up her sleeve and laid the exposed forearm across the smooth rail so her fingers trailed through the water. It was pleasantly cool.

“Don’t scare the fish!”

She smiled, turning her gaze to the young fair-haired boy perched near the prow with his line trailing into the water. The fisherman’s son was no more than eight and he grinned back at her.

“You don’t think they’d come to nibble on my fingers?” she asked. “You could just scoop them up then.”

The boy laughed. “Maybe!” Then he pointed to the middle of the river where the water was dark and the current much stronger. “They’re all out there, in the deep part. But I still think I can catch some here.”


Loss and Revelation

Thanks to Bataav for participating.

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery
New Lenoika – Rissa Bar

Water lapped at the shore not far from where Sakaane and Bataav sat sharing a bottle of Payloqan k’Adharnam. The biodome’s afternoon sun shone off the lake and cast slanting shadows into the bar. Birds in trees lining the shore sang delicate songs which they could hear through Rissa’s open windows and ceiling. Sakaane closed her eyes and turned her face up to the light, basking in its warmth, even if it was artificial.

“We should come here more often,” Bataav said, refilling their glasses.

Opening her eyes, she cast a glance around the Intaki establishment: its limestone construction was accented by natural wood beams overhead while the white of the walls set off bright three-color paintings by renowned Intaki artists. Other patrons, some of whom she knew, sat together or alone at nearby tables or the bar itself.

“Mhmm. Though I’d love it if I could convince Njal to move Deck 17 back to Intaki. We could just stick the whole thing in a blockade runner and bring it down. Easy.”

Bataav smiled. “There’s just the small question of how to get the bar out of the station still intact.”

“Minor technical detail!”


Defense of Prosperity Station

I’m laughing. POD never showed. Well, not until much later, after I-RED departed, and even then only Lodik smacked ineffectively in Local.

The defense today had over one hundred pilots in Intaki when Prosperity Station’s reinforcement timer ended. I’ve never seen it that crowded. There were twenty of us from the corp out there working on the POS, and sixty altogether in the ILF/I-RED fleet to defend the station.

Certain portions of both the Gallente and Caldari militias were present too. Interesting to see them both flying side by side us and each other all in defense of our station against pirate scum, although as the minutes ticked by the militias understandably grew uneasy. FDU in particular degenerated into their own smack of the State rather than actually doing much to help us. I suppose it’s the thought that counts but then…I wonder how much thought they had?

AncientGuardian assigned me permissions to fuel the POS in the future. I’ll need to remember to get some instruction on how to do that.

prosperity

A cloud of allies

Early on while we were armor repping, Muppet Ninjas and KWFL warped in on us. I lost my Armageddon and then my pod, because after my ship exploded my capsule’s systems were overwhelmed and got stuck in a systems calibration loop. I was a sitting duck.

I’ve never been podded before. I might have taken more time to reflect on the experience when I woke up a few moments after the blow that split my capsule open, if not for the rage and urgency I felt when I realized that a system error occurred and instead of waking up in the spare clone I had prepared ahead of time in Intaki, I was in…Stacmon!

I’m not sure what the technicians or station security thought as my naked body streaked past as I ran to the nearest hangar. I don’t even remember the trip back to Intaki but I made it back unscathed.

No one from Comic Mischief showed up other than ShiftKey. He managed to recover my corpse (oh joy) before the POS blew him up… But the militia pilots who had shown up to “help” us salvaged the Armageddon and took the rest.

After that there were no more fireworks in system before I turned in for the night. A great deal of us, including pilots from I-RED, basically spent the time repping the POS and that was it.


An Anonymous Benefactor

Three days ago Devan and I ventured into a wormhole. He wanted to see about the feasibility of starting up some official operations in w-space as a way to attract new blood to the corp and inject activity again. But first we needed to investigate, do some recon, and generally gain some first-hand experience.

Knowing we might be in for a bit of trouble, I took Scarab in and Devan was flying his Proteus, Tahkisis. It seemed appropriate, given these ships are based on technology brought back from w-space in the first place. Right? We thought we were prepared. After all, the last few wormholes we’d gone into had been a piece of cake.

Instead, we had our asses handed to us.

Devan had a scanner on hand and tracked down some anomalies within the system we landed in. The first few resolved to a couple of innocuous belts and a gas cloud, and everything seemed to be going well. Then we happened across a structure…and it was crawling with Sleepers!

The last time I lost a ship it was due to inattention. This time I was ready (or so I thought), my crew was ready (or so I thought), yet Devan and I both barely had time to react. It happened so fast… They swarmed us and before I knew it he was screaming at me to bug out. I didn’t realize it then but his ship had already been lost, bringing the entire swarm’s force to bear on myself. The logs show the killing blow was laid by something designated only as “Orthus”.

My Legion disintegrated around me in the blink of an eye. Even if the crew had a chance to escape the burning wreck, the Sleepers still got them immediately after, and I barely got out alive myself. My capsule sustained a glancing blow that nearly shredded it as it hit warp. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to being podded.

Most definitely a failure. We retreated, shaken and defeated, to Bereye, knowing that plan was scrap. Devan did some checking with the community and it turns out they’ve come up with their own rating system. We’d stumbled into a “Class 5”, whereas the others would have been “Class 1” or “Class 2”. Given this variance we’ll have to get TGPI back on its feet some other way before we consider wormhole space again. How exactly we’re going to do that is still up for debate.

The odd thing is… Today when I checked my account I noticed the balance was much, much higher than I remembered. In the night, someone deposited enough ISK into my wallet to replace the Legion and then some. I queried the bank and was only told the funds are legit. The identity of the person who gave it to me is unknown, and the only note he or she left with the deposit was, “Sorry for your loss.”

I’m alarmed…but also intrigued.


Concentration

I did something exceptionally stupid today and people died as a result.

Devan convinced me to go out patrolling with him. I didn’t want to. I was exhausted; I hadn’t slept. I stayed up all night fruitlessly trying to get in touch with Mom and watching the news for any scrap of information that might tell me she is all right. Now I know how Devan felt two weeks ago. When I couldn’t get through to Intaki I called Njal instead and cried for hours…

Devan insisted getting out into space would be better than sitting around watching the same stories recycled on Scope News every ten minutes. I know he just wanted to try to get my mind off what’s going on at home. I gave in. I shouldn’t have. I should have been stubborn and listened to my gut and stayed in my quarters.

We encountered a group of rogue slavers in Halle and engaged. For me it was a short fight. I can’t honestly say I don’t know what happened—obviously my mind wasn’t on the battle, wasn’t monitoring my ship, wasn’t thinking about my crew…just wasn’t paying attention.

I wasn’t paying attention so I failed to activate any of the ship’s defenses, and the slavers had turned their full attention onto me. I might as well have been flying a sheet of paper into the sun for how fast the hull disintegrated. An Imperial Bataivah scored the final blow that blew Mourning Star to smithereens. I was the only survivor.

Devan stayed behind and wiped out the slavers alone, but I find that to be only a small consolation. The fact remains this loss should not have happened. It’s one thing to kill or be killed in the heat of battle, but when your death is due only to blatant negligence? I’m surprised CONCORD didn’t revoke my pilot’s license on the spot.

I sent the families of my crew double the value of their contracts… The money by no means repays them for the loss of their loved ones.

Tomorrow a hundred more people will line up to take their place, as if they never existed.