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Tag: music

Conference Reflections

Today I attended the I-RED Tea and Press Conference at their headquarters in Malkalen.

The event was well-planned and security well-enforced. As advertised, I-RED had invited a colorful array of individuals, many of whom I know only by reputation, such as Verone, Tiberious Thessalonia, Istvaan Shogaatsu and many others. Jev North was there, too. There was some excitement but no one was shot in the end.

Morwen Lagann gave a fabulous violin performance. It made me wonder if I will ever be able to pick up my music again. Maybe one day she and I can play together…


I-RED Tea and Press Conference

This ficlet is based directly on chatlogs from the in-game event hosted by I-RED, but retooled as a narrative from Sakaane’s point of view.
Some portions of dialogue or actions by other characters at the event are not represented, because Sakaane didn’t eavesdrop on everyone. :)

En Route to Malkalen V – Moon 1 – Ishukone Corporation Factory

I-RED has been in full operation for three years and we would like to thank those leaders and allies who have made it possible with a grand ceremony. Through hardship and prosperity, I-RED has endured these long years and made a name for itself as a forward thinker and fighter for Free Trade and greater CONCORD authority in the cluster. The vision of one man turned into the dream and cause of many, and I-RED will continue to forge new relations among all four empires and beyond—all while helping to expand the influence of law and order to regions lacking.

The information stream flowed past Sakaane’s mind’s eye. Her implants automatically decoded the data, effortlessly reforming the otherwise incoherent bits into ordered words and language the organic part of her brain would understand.

Outside, a warp tunnel formed and then eventually collapsed. The hull she was plugged into was an Amarr shuttle affectionately called Firefly and it steered itself toward the stargate. She paid it scant attention. The fastest route to Malkalen from Intaki was mostly lowsec, but today, due to the handful of baseliner passengers on the shuttle with her, she had chosen to go via Stacmon which made the journey mostly through hisec. The passengers had gladly taken advantage of the opportunity she’d offered to go so far and so quickly compared to normal transports.


On Music and Meddling

A good conversation erupted in FreeIntaki today.

This was my first opportunity to speak to Bastian Valoron since that mail from James Syagrius arrived earlier this week. I was pleased he inquired about the Intaki Cultural Center and seemed to have an interest in learning more about our people.

It was nice to talk about the artistic part of my past without it feeling like “a big deal” for once. That I could use my music and that of others as an example of the Federation’s cultural oppression was quite interesting to me. It’s not something I planned on but the timing worked out well, as it was still on my mind from that lengthy meeting I had with Suresha Hawke at the beginning of the month.

The conversation was enjoyable. It was nice to have more voices chiming in with support, rather than feeling like being on the back foot from all sides as tends to be the norm. It was too bad I had to cut the discussion short when I did, as I would have liked to explore the topic a bit more. I wonder what thoughts the Chancellor took away from the conversation.

It almost made me wonder if I could try picking up my instruments…or even the microphone…again. Maybe one day soon? Somehow I don’t think so… But then, the way things have been going, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Transcript follows.


Aftermath

Devan surprised me yesterday by showing up at the campus. I was called out to meet a guest and there he was, standing at the security checkpoint with that expression he always gets when he’s in trouble with me for something. When I asked how he’d managed to get away, he said he’d politely told his boss, Nailo, to “shove it for a few days” so he could come sort things out with me.

Security wouldn’t clear him for entry on immediate notice so I had to tell him I would meet him later in his quarters, which I did. We talked about the argument. There isn’t much to say. I know he’ll never be happy about me being in the navy but he has to accept this is the path I chose.

As for my music… I tried once more to explain it to him, but I think he still doesn’t understand. That isn’t his fault, not at all. He’d have to be me, or maybe even just a musician, to truly ‘get’ it. I did tell him I appreciate what he’s done and all the encouragement he’s given…but I also asked him not to bring it up again. If I ever sing again, if I ever play any instrument ever again…it will be on my terms, in my own time, and not before.

He said, “I see what it does to you, not being able to play or sing. It’s ingrained in your nature and it kills you not to do it.” I guess he does get it a little… But still, I’m tired of having to explain myself all the time. He agreed to leave me be on this topic and not speak of it unless I do first. He hopes one day I’ll find my way back to it, and so do I.

Someone from the corp kept calling while we were talking. Finally Devan picked up, listened for a moment, then said, “I’m busy, it’s important. I’ll get back to you later,” and hung up! We stayed up way too late after that… He’s sticking around for a few more days so we can take our time…making up…


What Could Have Been

Today marks four years since the Serpentis attack which destroyed my family and many others.

The twins would have been eighteen this year. I find myself thinking about them a lot, wondering about the men they would have grown into. I imagine by now they would have been eager to go off to school together and play pranks on girls by switching themselves out for each other.

I think Maekari would have pursued starship and station design. He always liked to doodle, but not really artful stuff. His drawings were always precise and focused on things that could be built. He liked anything that could fly or float in the sky and gobbled up every scrap about starships he could get his hands on when Father wasn’t looking. Maybe he would have wanted to learn to be a pilot, even if not a capsuleer, but I think he would have enjoyed creating new and wonderful ships the most.

Kiraeni was always quite grounded in comparison and constantly teased Maekari about having his head in the clouds. But he adored our brother and would have gone wherever Maekari chose to go, at least at first. Later I think he would have felt the calling of his heart and come home to study Ida. He and Father used to sit for hours together poring over scrolls of the Idama and discussing the various philosophies contained within. Sometimes the three of us would get into such debates! Mom and Maekari would end up refereeing in the end.

I tried to talk to Devan about this but it turned into a fight. I’m not even sure how things got as sidetracked as they did… Suddenly we were arguing about my music and the navy and his corporation. He kept bringing up the oboe, how he went to all the trouble to find it for me and yet I’ve not played it once, not for him or for myself or anyone. He brings it up a lot, always pushing me about it, the fact it sits in my room on its stand, as he puts it, “gathering dust”.

He accused me of wasting my talents and the gift of the oboe, twice over—once from him, and once from my family—and otherwise giving up on what I love most. He said I was being ridiculous and that if I react this way the first time I get podded, I’m not “cut out to be a capsuleer either”. This of course brought up the fact I’m set to join the navy’s ranks in a few months and that opened a whole other diatribe about that.

He said I could have a fanbase of billions and be on tour across the Federation by now, but instead I threw it all away for the navy and revenge. I was livid. I still am. I couldn’t believe he would dare. He has no idea. No idea. I told him he was being a hypocrite. He gave up on the navy and has no right to be holier-than-thou to me about my music. And I haven’t given up on it! Has he never listened when I’ve told him how I wish I could sing and play in my spare time? He acts as if I can just pick it up and do it—but I can’t! I don’t know why.

He countered saying how being a combat pilot had been his dream, and even though it didn’t work out the way he wanted it to, he still followed it to where he is now. I asked him how exactly he felt he was being a combat pilot by saving Gallente bimbos from pleasure hubs and ferrying around livestock. But then his boss interrupted to ask Devan to haul some junk up from Ghesis (I almost laughed, the timing was that good), and Devan basically terminated the call. We haven’t spoken since. Eventually we will when we’ve both calmed down…but not yet.

We don’t often argue, but those few times we do, it’s pretty intense, and this was the worst yet. We were both angry. I still am. I wanted leave today to go home to see Mom but it wasn’t approved, and that didn’t help my mood either.

Devan is the closest person in the universe to me. I confided in him right from the start about everything that happened back then and now I feel like he’s throwing it back in my face. He tries to “help” and just makes me feel worse about it. If he can’t understand this about me, that I just can’t sing or play music at the flip of a switch, who will?

Even if I’m angry I understand he’s disappointed and hurt. I guess he feels like I don’t appreciate what he did. How do I get him to understand simply having the instrument isn’t enough? I have to feel the music too, and haven’t since that day I woke up in the hospital.

Where would I be now if not for pirates? Would I still be living on Intaki, writing songs and performing in local concert halls? Would I have taken that offer from Intaki Music Inc.? I should have, instead of thinking I’d be better off to pursue the Quafe talent scouts. Ambition… If I hadn’t…

I graduate soon. Even if I love music most, I’ve come to love spaceflight too. I think Father would be unhappy to see where I am now. Having experienced and learned everything I have since leaving Intaki, I still wonder why he kept us so sheltered from New Eden. It is a harsh cluster but that’s simply life. Ignoring it doesn’t mean it ceases to exist, and forbidding us as children from learning about it only made it that much more tempting. I’m not sure why he agreed to have the entire family take the trip to Stacmon for the talent event if he felt we had no business being in space. But then, I guess we were all getting older and maybe he was mellowing out, and me being an adult then and wanting to pursue my goals… He did always have my best interests at heart—all our best interests. I would like to believe he would have supported me no matter what I ended up doing in the end, even if I somehow would have still ended up here. I miss him.


Mementos of the Past

Devan was here earlier in the week to resupply on drones. I teased him about his occasional tendency to leave his drones behind—how many have gone rogue by now?! He laughed and was embarrassed. It’s cute how he tries to look after them and feels guilty when they’re lost, almost like pets.

We’ve been keeping in touch quite a lot the last two months but it doesn’t compare to seeing him in the flesh. I almost couldn’t get off campus at all. I thought capsuleer training was intense before! In the last few months things have ramped up so I have almost no time to myself, even to write up logs. Several of my squadmates have washed out of the program, just burnt right out. Some days I wonder if I am about to follow suit.

Devan makes the stress easier to manage. He still doesn’t like me being in the navy but he supports my desire to be a capsuleer and encourages me to push on. I really do spend almost all my time in my pod now, to the point even my own bed feels alien. This was worse in Devan’s quarters where I found it difficult to sleep at all but he was patient and understanding. Not that we really had sleeping on our minds anyway…

He brought his pride and joy with him this trip, the ship he built and promised to show me. It was easy to fawn over it this time; the Morkeleb is a Hyperion-class battleship and a rather fine-looking hull compared to the Dominix (though I think most everything is fine-looking compared to the Dominix!). I do like the look of the Megathron as well, but the Hyperion certainly has class. And he built this one from scratch, spent months mining the raw materials for it… It’s his personal flagship, and I can appreciate why.

Devan brought me a gift as well, an oboe. And not just any oboe…my oboe. It has the engraving on it from Mom and Dad. I don’t know how he managed to find it considering it was among the belongings I sold three years ago. I remember being reluctant to let the instrument go, yet relieved, too, in a way. I haven’t played since before the Serpentis attack, just like I haven’t sang. The wood feels cool and familiar in my hands, and as soon as I picked it up my fingers found the right position on the keys, but…

It was a tremendously thoughtful gift and I am grateful to him. I’m just not sure I can play anymore. There are memories tied to this instrument, things I haven’t thought about for a long time. I know his intent was not to remind me of that pain; Devan just knows I miss my music, and I think all he wants is to encourage me to find that part of myself again. I really want to, but more and more I wonder if that chapter of my life is simply over forever.


First Meeting

Thanks to Devan Corvel for participating.

Duripant VII – Moon 6 – Federal Navy Academy School

Deck 17 Bar ’n’ Grill had only a small crowd in it when Sakaane walked through the door. The chink of glass and dinnerware punctuated the quiet hum of conversation and a delicious aroma wafted out from the kitchen. Her stomach rumbled as she scanned the room for a likely-looking place to sit down. Having spent the last several weeks nourished only by her capsule, she was eager to treat her palate to some real food.

“My dear, my dear!” The bartender, Njal, waved her over. “It’s been some time, kainta. Where have you been keeping yourself?”

Namas, Njal.” Sakaane smiled and sat down on a stool opposite him. In his late fifties, Njal was originally from Intaki but had left Placid years ago to make his fortune. His travels led him to Duripant, where he’d opened Deck 17. This had proven a successful endeavor but he often joked his fortune was still waiting for him, even though Sakaane knew he felt tending his bar brought him a kind of richness ISK couldn’t provide. He was tall and lightly built, and like many Intaki men his age wore his grey hair long, but tied back at the nape of his neck with a leather thong.

Having been transferred to Duripant after completing a year’s worth of preliminary training in Scolluzer, Sakaane had become a regular at Deck 17, enjoying Njal’s easy camaraderie and the reminder of home he provided. Now, two years later, she considered him a good friend and knew he thought of her as the daughter he’d never had.


Starting Over

I’m told I’ll be released in a week. My physical therapy has gone well; I’m fitter and stronger now than I was before the incident. Thanks to the doctor’s skilled hands you can’t even tell I was ever physically injured…all the scars are gone.

My psychological health has improved greatly since I got my voice back. I no longer fall victim to fits and tantrums when I see reports of pirate activity on the news. I feel much calmer, much more like myself. The nightmares are becoming quieter also… More and more I can sleep an entire night through. They tell me there’s little else they can do to help…the rest of this long road I need to travel on my own, as Ida teaches us.

Mom…is much the same. Her body has healed and they know she could take care of herself…if she wanted to. They moved her to a long-term care facility, one normally for the elderly with advanced mental decay. She seems old now, though she’s not.

She has yet to say anything to anyone and in my heart I know I won’t hear her speak again. She’ll never come home either.

I’ve been thinking for a while about what to do when I’m released. I haven’t yet sung any of my songs. I’ve tried… Maybe it’s this place. Maybe it’s just not right to sing here. But even as I write those words I know it’s more than that. The songs are in me but I…just can’t. I can hardly bear to think I’ll never sing again.

What is left for me? Then I consider the oath I swore, of the threat the Serpentis represent. I haven’t forgotten. I never will.

Today I saw a recruitment ad in the feeds and at once I knew it was what I needed. A capsuleer! Now I know who these people are. This is how I will give back to the Serpentis what they gave to me.

I’ll have to sell everything to raise the necessary funds…but it will be worth it.


All I Ever Wanted Was to Sing

Dr. Haluarin wants to operate on my throat again. My vocal chords were basically destroyed by shrapnel and the regenerative therapies they’ve tried to date haven’t worked.

He says at this point it will be easier to completely remove what’s left and wants me to agree to let him grow me a new set instead. They’ll basically clone my throat and then transplant the new vocal chords in.

I don’t know anything about cloning. He says it’s quite safe and thousands of people called “capsuleers” are cloned daily without issue.

I haven’t been able to speak, or sing… What will I do without my voice?

I’m going to agree to the procedure.

…I wonder what a capsuleer is?


The Long Road

It’s been a while. My therapist says I should keep writing, that it will help. She says I need to face what happened, that I can’t heal until I admit the details to myself.

The Scope pestered me for weeks to give an interview regarding what happened. When my amnesia finally abated I agreed, just to make them stop asking. Doesn’t that qualify as admitting the details to myself? After all, I heard every word that left my mouth. Perhaps my therapist has no idea what she’s talking about.

I’ll note the details here. She’ll be checking anyway; better to get this over and done with.

The passenger liner had finished its jump into Agoze. Suddenly the deck shuddered and the warning bells sounded. A moment later the lights in the entire passenger compartment went out.

I left my seat. I wasn’t supposed to; all the signs said everyone should stay put and buckle up in the event of an emergency. But my mother had just excused herself to the restroom; the jump hit her hard and in those first moments after, while the ship was aligning to the next gate, she’d felt she couldn’t hold her stomach any longer.

I almost couldn’t make my way. The deck kept tilting violently back and forth and the darkness was punctuated every few seconds by blinding bursts of light from beyond the viewports.

I realized then, along with most of the other passengers, that we were being shot at. The flight attendants started shouting, children screamed, and smoke poured into the compartment.

Mom was in the restroom still bent over the toilet when I finally found her. Really, it took only a few seconds but just like in the holovids, time had seemed to slow down. I remember she groaned at me and made some sarcastic remark about turbulence in space. These were the last words I heard her say.

What happened next is literally blown permanently from my memory. I’m told the hull of the liner breached and set off a series of explosions. Everyone in the passenger compartment was killed due to decompression…including my father and brothers.

The only survivors were those of us in the restrooms and a few crew who became trapped in other parts of the ship when the emergency seals activated. Even then, we weren’t terribly lucky. The explosions twisted the wreck of the liner, tossing us about like ragdolls. I don’t remember that part, either.

My next memory is of lying crumpled up in a corner of the restroom, with part of a stall lying over me. My back was broken and I had shrapnel embedded in me everywhere, including my throat. Someone, not my mother, was screaming about being on fire. I was paralyzed. I couldn’t do anything…but listen. Oh god, the screams…

It took a long time before she quieted. But then, the woman’s death revealed another horror: I could distinctly hear the sound of whistling air. Somewhere, what little oxygen we had was slowly finding a route out into space.

It got very, very cold. The fire was still burning and that kept us from freezing to death. At some point I passed out, from lack of oxygen, blood loss…from the cold… I’m told it was two days before we were rescued.

I don’t know why we didn’t die, why the attackers left the wreck and didn’t finish the job. I know it’s been hell since then. My mother suffered severe head trauma and is still in a coma. She’s not expected to live. Many of the other survivors are still in hospital as well. I can feel my legs again but I’m still relearning how to walk. My speech therapy is taking longer…too long.

Everything is gone. Everything. I can’t sing, I can’t walk. I couldn’t even go to the service for my father and brothers—! There wasn’t one because…because…explosive decompression and no bodies recove