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Tag: mom

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.”


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!”


Jyotmimana Karana

Following all the fun on IGS, I’ve spent the last week or so split between home and station. Mom is doing much better but I still feel I need more time with her just to make sure. The somewhat cooler weather has helped a lot and she’s taken up her gardening again. It’s nice to see her strong enough to get out of bed and walk under her own power. We often wander out into the forest together now, though she can’t venture as far or for as long as she once did. Every step is something though.

When I’m stationside I try to keep up with corp activities and other tasks. I patrol Intaki when I can. Mostly I sit and talk with people or spend time with Bataav. It’s unnerving to feel so out of the loop and out of sync with everyone else.

But today, while monitoring FreeIntaki, I had the opportunity to speak for the first time with Jyotmimana Karana. He’s an ILF alumni and, I suppose, something of a rival to the Suresha. I’ve heard his name spoken often around the proverbial corporation water cooler, and not always favorably, though almost always with respect. I understand he has some radical opinions about Intaki and he’s quite passionate about preserving our culture, religion, and traditions. Apparently he is a dedicated follower of Ida and Reborn many times. I admit I’ve been curious about him.

After just one conversation I can hardly say I know the man well enough to form an opinion but he seemed reasonable enough even if I didn’t quite agree with everything he said. But I did agree with him quite a bit.

Transcript follows.


War

I’m still at home. In the evenings, exhausted, I get on comms with Bataav for a while. He tells me about what the corp has been up to. In the last week the alliance declared war on a group called Risen Angels over a bombing and other violent acts against an ally, Federal Robotics. As I understand it, the war has been mostly verbal sparring and not much else, although Bataav did relate what sounded like a rather exciting chase of a target Nightmare through hisec.

The war was retracted today, as Risen Angels itself seems to have broken down due to its CEO deciding to move in a different direction. This effectively ends hostilities between all the involved groups.

I feel like I’m waging a war of my own. Bataav is patient and listens to my frustrations. Then before I know it, he’s slipped the topic of conversation in a new direction and has me smiling and laughing. When I talk to him I can forget, just for a little while, why I’m here. I wish he was with me, and he keeps offering to come down. But I know he’s had a lot to take care of in the last few weeks because of the war and other than keeping me company there’d be nothing for him to do here, so I tell him to stay.

Mom’s condition is still quite poor. When Aranza sent her to the hospital she was near death. I’d like to believe the worst of it is over, as I was allowed to bring her home again. The doctors told me to get her outside more so today I asked if she might want to go for a walk in the forest. Although she didn’t resist, she obviously had no desire to go: she fell limp like a ragdoll while Aranza and I tried to get her into her chair.


Timing

Aranza contacted me today. Mom has fallen ill.

I feel a little like I’m leaving Mammal and Aditipala in the lurch. He just promoted me and now I have to go planetside. I don’t know how long I’ll be gone.

I can’t not go, though. I have to make sure Mom is going to be all right.


Payment on Demand

I went to visit Mom for a few days. She’s doing well enough despite there being no change in her disposition. It’s very frustrating and disheartening. She did, at least, consent to a walk through the garden with me. She gets tired so easily though so it wasn’t long before we were back inside. I hope one day she’ll…come back to herself.

When I returned to space it was to poor news. Early on the 24th, before I left for home, pilots flying for the Payment on Demand alliance were in system bashing a tower owned by Docs Ruff Riders, and they’d verbally threatened Prosperity Station some hours before that.

Yesterday morning they returned and attacked the POS. It took them about two hours but they put it into reinforced. I’m told Lodik was among them. I suppose he needed to accomplish his balls again?…

Reinforcement ends tomorrow. In the meantime we’ve been out there working to repair the guns and batteries. It’s honestly tedious work but no one complains. Prosperity Station is not just important to us, but also to the well-being of Intaki in general. Everyone who can pitch in, is, including blues.

On a whim I contacted Comic Mischief. Although they are not ILF allies, Gabe once remarked to me that those guys aren’t above getting an easy kill, so I figured if we knew POD was going to be in a certain place at a certain time, they might like to hop in system and have at our reds. Instead I was treated to a lecture from Natalya about how POS defense is supposed to work. Granted, I’ve never participated in a tower defense operation before, but ILF has been maintaining Prosperity Station for a while. I was offended CM automatically assumed ILF needed a primer through me. In the end I made some excuse and disconnected from the channel simply to shut them up. Despite the attitude I still hope some show up. Every additional friendly pilot can help.

JOhnDrees > So, intaki liberation…. its gonna be kinda a shitty name when you get kicked the fuck outa here.

I think they’re in for a rude surprise.


Decision

I decided today I will quit TGPI and apply to ILF. I’ve seen nothing but good things about this corporation and the people in it. They want to improve the status quo in Placid and they strive for Intaki to achieve independence from the Federation. Joining them would mean I can go home and be close to Mom to boot!

I managed to catch Devan in his office. We sat and had our first real face to face conversation since our breakup. It was awkward and a bit nerve-wracking at first; I feared something about it would go badly but in the end it was all right.

I asked him (and yes, Eric too) to come with me. I’ve come to accept we aren’t together anymore but I’d like to find our way back to being friends like we used to be, and really, there is no reason for him to stay here. I told him about ILF and we spent some time reviewing the information I’ve gathered about them.

He thought about it and then agreed, but asked me to stay for a while first to help tidy things up things with TGPI before we shut it down. Since becoming CEO he’s discovered there are a great deal more assets left lying around New Eden than he thought, and we might as well recover and liquidate it all for future use since there is no one left to utilize any of it otherwise.

For the first time this year, I think I feel content with the direction my path is taking.


Wealth

I am…amazed. I haven’t yet been with TGPI for two weeks but already I have made enough money to move Mom from the long-term care facility back to our family home on Intaki and arrange for private care for her. I’ve retained Aranza as her primary nurse and can provide salary for support staff to share in upkeep of the house.

She still won’t speak but I think she was happy. At the very least, when I called to tell her all my recent news she didn’t, for once, have that look of disapproval in her eyes. I can tell she’s still unhappy I became a pilot but I think some of the worry is gone now that I’m working independently…and can send her home.

I never would have been able to afford this if I’d remained with the navy. Never.


Federation Day

Happy Federation Day!

I watched the Blazing Comets depart this morning for Aunia, where there will be a pretty big party taking place. It would have been great to be with them, but as a cadet I’m nowhere near qualified to join their ranks—yet. Maybe one day.

The atmosphere on campus is pretty upbeat. None of us were much interested in our training exercises today, to the point the Feds sent us out with orders to “Go burn your energy on something” so we’d be productive again later. I’m sure this was all tongue-in-cheek, as they would rather be home with their families too.

Devan wasn’t able to join me on short notice so I wandered the station for a bit and visited the shopping district. Sales galore for the week, and though I really don’t need much to get by with, since the navy more or less provides almost everything except ship hardware, I couldn’t help but pick up a few things anyway.

I tried calling Mom, but there was no answer at her room. I wonder if Aranza convinced her to go down and join the other residents for supper, or even outside for a walk? It would be good for her to spend time socializing. I wonder how the weather there has been. I’m sure she’s fine.

Njal convinced me to join him for supper. As always he insisted he do the cooking even though he’d already put in a full day at Deck 17 in the kitchen and tending bar. We got on the topic of home and the Federation. I’m not sure if it was the wine Njal was drinking, or just the overall way things have been in New Eden lately, but the evening turned rather reflective and somber. Njal is not happy with the state of things in Intaki, nor greater Placid, and after listening to him for a while it occurred to me nothing ever happened with that petition from two years ago. Placid is still considered low security space, the Serpentis run wild, and other pirates are happy to join them. At least Intaki hasn’t been in the news lately, though I’m not sure if that happens to be only because the rioting elsewhere in the cluster eclipses whatever the Scope might otherwise pick up on.

At one point I wondered why it is the Federation so neglects Intaki when so much of its upper echelons are occupied by people who can trace their lineage back to our world. Njal pointed out so many Intaki have fled Placid over the years for the stability of higher security space that the people who live in the greater Federation probably have never seen Intaki itself, and while they may have its blood in their veins, rather see themselves as Gallente instead.

Federation Day reminds us of the diversity of the Federation. There is strength in diversity, and the Federation provides much prosperity for its citizens. And yet…within that diversity much is lost. There are “naturalized citizens” who live here, people who left their homelands outside the Federation. In so doing they have been absorbed into the swirling maw that is Gallente culture, a great mishmash of that diversity in which so little of the original diversity actually survives. Njal put it well when he bemoaned how our people have become “Gallente-ized”. So many of them have no idea of our traditions, our beliefs…so perhaps it is no wonder the Federation cares so little for Placid.

I hope this never happens to me.