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Tag: serpentis attack

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!”

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.


The Federation finally dealt the Serpentis in Placid a blow and hopefully made a dent in the drug trade. Nice, too, to see the Feds working with local groups like the Placid Militia and actually acknowledging them for trying to do what the Federation honestly should have been doing all along.

The article calls Rise “a scourge on the region of Placid” and I can’t agree more. Even being Reborn myself, I honestly don’t understand why so many Intaki are attracted to it. Despite its supposed “assistance” with memory recall, it has such dangerous risks, and even if it didn’t… It cheapens the whole tradition of being Reborn, spits on those who spend years training the mental disciplines our ancestors used to pull true memories. Anyone who uses Rise simply wants an easy time of it, can’t be bothered to do the work themselves and wants to skip ahead. It’s cheating!

No one can guarantee anything that is “remembered” with Rise is even accurate anyway. Other drugs pull hallucinations out of nothing, create wild trips of the imagination that are worse than nightmares yet also send the user to the most stimulating high or the most devastating low. It’s still all a product of the drug. Why then should Rise’s effects be any different? No one will ever convince me the Serpentis have any desire to do Intaki Reborn any favors. They care about lining their pockets, nothing more. Besides, if it was such a boon to the Reborn, it wouldn’t be illegal.

After the Serpentis attacked the passenger liner, I had amnesia. I knew who I was but the event itself and the days immediately following it were blocked. I had difficulty recalling my childhood. I knew my family but sometimes their names escaped me. All of my Reborn memories were gone too, and remain hidden from me even today.

At the time it never occurred to me but thinking about it now I wonder… My amnesia abated quickly, a month or so at most. I still had a great deal of physical rehabilitation to undergo, not to mention psychological therapy… I’m in no way an expert about that kind of trauma, but surely that’s unusual? What if they used a little Rise to “help” things along? How could I ever trust my own recollections if that were true?

The idea makes me sick, actually, and now I wish I hadn’t thought of it. The hospital is reputable though, and I can’t honestly believe the doctors would risk their medical licenses using an illegal drug in patient care. If anything, the mental disciplines I learned as a child are what helped me through it all. That I know some memories are still blocked reassures me I haven’t been exposed to Rise.

In any case, I hope the Federation continues down this path and wipes Placid clean of all its scourges, and further encourages locals to contribute like they have today. Having lost such assets, the Serpentis should start to think twice about their activities there.


Verge Vendor Region – Ancbeu Constellation – Scolluzer System

The warp tunnel collapsed; a stargate loomed into view above Sakaane’s ship, dwarfing the battered Griffin-class frigate she’d bought from a salvage yard in Agoze. Abandoned on a battlefield where a capsuleer and Serpentis pirates had recently clashed, the ship was badly damaged and just barely functional. Yet it was all she had been able to afford. A shuttle was beyond her budget and she wouldn’t risk taking a commercial passenger transport.

Never again.

The burly man who sold the wrecked Griffin to her had been happy to be rid of what he called a “worthless hunk of squiddy metal” for the meager price she offered. He’d shrugged when she’d asked if it would hold together through seven jumps from Intaki.

“Mebbe,” he’d drawled, “if yer real lucky an don’t meet no pirates.” The salvage yard wasn’t terribly well-equipped; he’d pulled out a dusty paper map of the area. “You figurin on goin through Ost direct ta high security empire? Bad idea, that. Stac gate there usually camped.” He pointed. “Better ta use this gate here.”

He’d shrugged again when she protested about the course change adding another jump to the trip. “It’s yer life. Either way ya gotta figure some way ta fly this boat first. There ain’t no pod innit, an you ain’t no pod pilot.”

True, but that was the entire purpose of the journey. Becoming a capsuleer had never occurred to her before; she was Intaki, content to remain an artisan singing songs for her modest following, until Serpentis pirates had ruined it all. Now she was determined and had quickly learned from any pilot and mechanic willing to teach her how to rig the former pod ship for manual controls good enough to get by.

I will have my revenge.

The Long Road Revisited

I’m calmer now; I can finish the previous entry. I guess they had to sedate me again. Lately I get so worked up! When that happens the nurses make tutting sounds and murmur about the so-called stoic nature of the Intaki. My therapist sighs and makes notes.

What kind of life will I lead now? I wish I had died.

No, that’s not true. Not all the time, but still sometimes. I was naive about leaving Intaki, ignorant about what dangers there were beyond my world.

It took some doing; in the early days they wouldn’t let me watch the newsfeeds and my therapist still doesn’t like it if I do. Actually, she reminds me a lot of my father that way. He never let us learn much about New Eden, and I guess now I understand why he always became irritable and quiet when any of us asked questions. He was always afraid to talk about space. But maybe if he hadn’t been I wouldn’t be in this position! How could he let us go out there without knowing anything?! I’ve never been so angry…

I’m paying attention now; I see and hear the reports of what goes on all across Placid, things I never paid attention to before, things my father tried to protect me from the way he kept the waiver secret.

But some weeks ago I finally learned who attacked us, who wrecked my life and killed all the people I love.

That name is what I hold onto. If I have nothing else now, I have that. And one day I will be free of this hospital, free of bleached sheets, antiseptic smells and needles and therapies and people telling me it will “be okay”. On that day, I will find a way to get back at the pirates for what they’ve done. I swear.


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


Why am I in the hospital? I was on the passenger liner and then… I can’t remember what happened. Where is everyone?

Everything hurts. I can’t walk, I can’t speak. The nurses gave me a pad to write on, but they won’t tell me where my family is. All they say is my surgeries went well and I should regain use of my legs soon.

I can’t speak…

Why did this happen…? I can’t speak.