Perchance to Touch,
A Romance Austere
A Chance Rendezvous
The Electric Tingle
Two Lonely Hulls Meet
In Sec Null Deep
Lost In Love
In the Cold Dark Deep
Perchance to Touch,
A Romance Austere
A Chance Rendezvous
The Electric Tingle
Two Lonely Hulls Meet
In Sec Null Deep
Lost In Love
In the Cold Dark Deep
“IF you want a treat,
if you’ve earned a treat,
if you have to treat yo self…
Get Treaties Treat Snacks Treat Cakes Now!!
The obnoxious music blasted through the Kitsune’s Hull at 92 decibels.
“Aura,” System shouted in her mind, “Cancel current audio from ship wide coms!”
The music ended abruptly.
Infuriated, System had not only heard the song play through the coms speakers, but also had it blasted directly into her mind.
“Computer, who authorized the ship wide coms?”
“The meta script in data file 3029.kfd9…” the computer replied.
“Why did the filtering protocol not filter out that script?” System replied.
“Captain, there is a redundant error in the core mainframe S.P.A. Meta filters. I am currently attempting to repair the integrity.”
Aura was then silent.
This was so embarrassing.
System had taken on a physical body of crew for the first time.
Too many things were going wrong, too many mistakes. Each of them seemed to be more and more embarrassing than the last. It was starting to feel personal.
“Aura set align for Station VIII, Akkilen, Sisters of Eve Bureau, and initiate warp. Call ahead and prep docking protocols,” System commanded the AI program.
She then opened a private console and ordered up the voice coms connect to the Sisters station.
“Station VIII switchboard program Greta Mark V here. How may I help you capsuleer?” the attendant program responded.
“Greta, please connect me with Jita IV IV, capsuleer quarter 17b 384 c5, Authorization: Baud Victor 9 Kilo 726 Charlie.”
The tone beeped quietly as the connection was being made.
Systems mind drifted, ‘There was usually not time for the mind to drift, until there was too much time for the mind to drift,’ she thought.
Then her mind lingered on her old friend Jason, she wondered how he was these days, she would have to drop in on him, next time she was near… the coms program interrupted, “Capsuleer, there is no response from your connect. Would you like to leave a message?”
“Yes, Greta. Commence Message. Fernando my old friend, how are you? Well, I don’t know why I asked that… this is a message and I don’t really expect an answer, since this is an audio recording… ” her voice faltered for a moment, oh how she hated leaving messages. “Uhm, remember the incident on Tzvi VI? Well I’m calling in that favour. I need a Warrant Officer Grade Boatswain’s Mates. I need someone I can trust to take care of all the problems of taking on a new crew, a new vessel, and all the problems accoutrement. I don’t lose ships very often so maybe what I need is a very good agency that can provide me such high calibre well trained Officers that can intercept and deal with all the day to day issues. Fern, I need your help. You know me I am not a tough captain, and I suffer for that. I need someone that can be tough for me. I prefer someone that can be quartered and assigned directly to me, one who travels with me following whatever ship I am on. Ok, well… I don’t know how to end these calls so,” and she then just pushed the disconnect button from the record.
“Ok Greta, leave that message for Fernando.”
System logged off the private console and internally sighed a sigh of relief.
It was short lived.
“Captain,” Aura spoke into her mind again, “There is a fire on C Deck and auto suppression system is not responding, the auto dock protocols are also, although not related, unresponsive and dock control is waiting for your reply to confirm if we want to dock. Also there are 23 urgent command requests from 6 different ship department coordinators waiting for your response.”
The tension was back in her neck.
Fernando had better come through for her this time.
She did not think she could put up with this much longer.
“Captain, your vitals show you are conscience. Please reply… Captain?”
System wonder how long her silence could be sustained.
Dock Bay 17c.92jac
Quarters: 502 z
Ring Park Centre
SoMan Acqui. ltd-co
lic. no. 45843045g
Dock Bay 397v.17bhe
Quarter: 192 c
Trian View Mences
Royal VIP Star Quarters : 100,000isk/day, x6 days
Quafe Xrystal : 58,000isk each x17 ltrs
Exotic Dancers Services inc. : 75,000isk x7 Male
Exotic Dancers Services inc. : 182,000isk x22 Female
Quasar Package: Magic Lights and Smells : 3,295isk
Whiskey, Rum, and Vintage Spirits : 500isk x32 bottles
Damages to Leopard Shuttle(s) : 297,455isk x2
Write off Leopard Shuttle(s) : 215,000,000isk x1
Damages to Royal VIP Star Quarters : 97,000,295isk
Damages to Station Structure : 427,000,000isk
Trunar Cleaning Services : 25,000isk
Station Administration Fees : 7,925,000isk
Return Access Fee Gratuity : 10,000,000isk
Tax [Rate 17.37%]
Total payment due in 3 days
Make payments to: SoMan Acqui. ltd-co
Thank you for your business
Please find other accommodations for your next visit to Tama
Your wet embrace welcomes me
away from the dry station scrubber
Your warmth envelopes me
among-st the cold stars I
Your comfort nutrients
absorbed into my very
Your compression cushions
my fragile body
Ode to Pod Gel
without it spaceships
The Myrmidon was dark, it’s silhouette standing out starkly against the reflection of the star’s blue light illuminating the moon’s surface.
The vessel was in a decaying orbit around the third moon of the failed star/gas giant, un-power.
There was a slight lateral roll of the ship keeping the temperatures mostly regulated on her outer hull surface, but she was far enough from the star in system that heat was not the primary failure concern.
System matched the roll and directed her flight path to within fifty meters of the Myrmidon.
She sent the encrypted command codes to eject the existing pod that contained her own deceased clone body.
The pod bay doors opened and the dead capsule ejected out of the Federation Navy built Battle-cruiser.
The dead capsule would be left to drift in space, orbiting the moon. It would likely be grabbed by the gas giant’s massive gravity well at some point and crushed into tightly packed molecules in it’s super dense atmosphere, with her corpse pilot along for the fatal final flight.
With a single thought System’s current capsule moved toward the pod bay doors and the tiny capsule began the boarding protocols.
The rescued Myrmidon had been adrift and presumed lost for the last seven months.
Relieving System’s mind from the events that followed the death of her parents, the search for the lost Myrmidon had helped distract her from the trauma it had wrought on her soul.
Several times System had entertained thoughts of just bio-massing all of her clones and ending it all… just to be free of the melancholy that had fallen on her mental faculties.
Despondent she had reach out to her childhood friends, Jason and Tristan, who had helped her move past these thoughts and feelings, and find new hope in life after the tragic loss.
Finding the Myrmidon and mounting it’s rescue efforts had definitely breathed new life into her.
The clunk of her pod locking into the Myrmidon roused System from her thoughts, and she commanded the Battle Cruiser to awake.
The hull whirred and wined for a few seconds and then fell silent. She sent the power on signal again which was followed by the same sounds echoing through the ship, then falling silent a second time.
Routing the capsules power core into the Myrmidon created a hail of sparks around the pod chamber. She then signaled the command to power up the Myrmidon, her will pushing all the systems to come alive.
A jump start from the pods core was a dangerous operation and could leave her stranded or fatally destroy her pod and her current clone.
System had practiced the hazardous command sequence for several weeks before in preparation to this exact situation.
One last command sequence and the whirring and wining of the ships core exploded to life, crescendoing in a low rumble as all of the core systems started to boot and come online.
Information started to flood into her mind from the many operational systems on board.
System quickly began moving data into ‘now’ categories and ‘later’ categories. After about ten minutes the ship was stabilized, then she began querying the Zendaine rigs.
Zendaine rigs where modification to the ship that was suppose to alleviate the need to have any crew other than the capsuleer pilot. Without their operational abilities the ship would not function adequately.
She had tried for several years to make the Zendaine rigs work on various sized star-ships, but all had ended badly except those she had installed on frigates and other smaller classed of vessels.
Her greatest weakness was her unwillingness to trifle with the lives of mortals. It was time for her to take on this responsibility. This would be her last trip alone, with only Aura and ALLISON as her companions.
She reached out with her mind to the rig module control sub routines and ordered them to life. They hummed and crackled to life as she felt the different maintenance systems, power routing subroutines, and mechanical system interfaces come online, all controlled by the rigs.
So far so good she thought. This was going fairly well, but now the key to this ships retrieval was the Aura and ALLISON programs.
She queued and prodded the Aura system first, and to her surprise it chirped to immediate attention speaking into her mind, “Captain, This is Aura. Welcome aboard, shall I begin PEG operation warp protocols? Also Mynxee is feeling Woozy today… I do not know why I just said that.”
“Aura please run diagnostic subroutines on the Aura Core code.
System reached out to the ALLISON interface, but it did not respond.
“Aura, what has happened to the ALLISON command codes and Core data base?” she reached out with her mind sending her thoughts to the ships computer.
“Captain,” Aura replied, “I believe the ALLISON Core code has been assimilated into my own code. Please fly carefully as war has been declared on Signal Cartel.”
System chuckled mentally to herself, then replied, “Aura is your modified Core code, including ALLISON Core code stable and fully operational?”
“Diagnostic complete captain, No faults found, You should not fiddle around with buttons if you do not know what they do. Captain, Please,” Aura responded.
System thought for a second then sent the following commands to the ships computer, “Aura please change name, sudo auth, alph phi nine sigma twenty two, change Aura Core code name to Aurason. Comply and confirm.”
“Comply Commander,” replied Aurason
“Set course for wormhole Signature GDU-231 and D-Scan in 30 degress at 5 AU at 227 deg compass, fix center quarter to star suffix 30.2038.430.j022.”
The ship roared to life and began aligning as the pinging Dscan started to send data streaming back to System’s VR Hud.
All things considered this had to be the easiest retrieval mission ever.
Well she still had three wormholes and 63 gate to get back home, so there was still plenty of time for things to go ublong shaped.
Hopefully there was an explanation for the merging of the Core codes of ALLISON and AURA. Flying with an ill-trusted, non-tested, and unknown system parameters was extremely dangerous.
“Button press test complete,” Aurason spoke into her mind, “So, is that how you fly? Pressing unlabeled buttons and hoping for the best?”
Well, System thought, this is going to get old real fast.
“Aurason, please mute non critical comms, comply?”
“Yes Captain,” came the curt reply.
System let out a mental sigh, and then sent the command for the Myrmidon engage warp PEGs.
Homeward she thought…. homeward.
“I killed the Devil,
I took his soul,
I took his kingdom,
I took his throne,
I raised his army of the dead,
Looked around me before I said:
More zombies, more zombies,
All we need are more zombies,
More zombies, more zombies,
Just keep it up with those zombies,”
The chirpy female voice intoned over a techno-industrial beat blared out of the earphones plugged snuggly into Jenna’s ears.
She nodded her head with the beat, swinging her body rhythmically to her workout routine.
Exercise felt good to her bored mind; the music, the physical exhaustion, the activity. She slept better, she felt healthier, and most of all it was something to do with her time.
Time she had plenty of recently.
She always wanted more of it, time off from work, but since the last PI extraction cycle had finished three weeks ago the entire complex had gone into offline mode.
Offline mode at the Planet V installation meant almost everyone had a lot of time on their hands, but the enjoyment of that time had diminished when there was too much of it.
Jenna had never considered that downtime could become so monotonous.
The consular had reassure the crew of Extractor III that his Immortal Eternal Administrator would be back soon to command the next cycle events. They were not allowed to commence the next cycle without his authorization as well as his specific directions.
He had never been absent for so long in all the six years of the operation of the installation.
Twenty three days to be precise, and the rumours whispered amongst all of the extraction crews were becoming louder and more fanciful.
One rumour was that he had left this area of space to join some squad of “goons”, another speculated that he was lost in a j-space somewhere unable to return to normal space, whatever the reason was there were plenty of most likely false speculation.
Activity at the installation had ground to a halt, and no one really seemed to believe the Consular’s propaganda either, so rumours and speculation was all they were left with.
She flipped the music off after the last song; some Indie Grunge medley her sister had sent her from Zoohen.
She reached for the towel hanging on the warmer, as sweat tricked down her face when the ‘com’ chime binged.
“Jenna Byron Alexandra,” the voice seemed to command rather than question, “You are required to meet Consular Bran’ Adagan in twenty minutes in the Extractor Consular Office on Level two. Please comply.”
“Yeah, ok… I will be there,” she replied half-heartedly.
She slipped off her shirt and tights and stepped into the fresher.
“Hot water 49° Celsius, dense spray pattern,” she said to the fresher program.
The water raining from the ceiling down onto her tired body. She had really pressed her exercise routine to nearly two hours, the longest she had ever done so.
As the hot water washed over her, she thought of why the Consular wanted to speak with her, a low level second grade extractor engineer. She was fifth in the chain of command to the Consular of Extractors and could not think of a single reason why he would be calling for her presence at this hour.
Stepping out of the fresher, after the dry cycle finished, she pulled on her uniform, straightened her badge, grabbed her ID credentials and then commanded the door to open.
A lift, two anti-chambers, and a reception desk later she stood outside a metal door with the placard over it reading, ‘Office of the Consular Extraction Officer, Extractor III’
“You may go in now,” the receptionist lightly toned in a high pitch sing-song voice.
The door whooshed opened revealing a sparse but lavish office with a central command desk adorned with terminals and control panels to its left and right sides.
The thin elder man sat in the chair behind the desk and stood when she entered.
“Jenna, come in.” his baritone voice bellowed belying his thin stature.
“Reporting as ordered sir,” she responding snapping to attention and saluting her senior officer.
“At easy engineer. I have summoned you here as I have been asked to relay information to you that should relay accordingly to your subordinates. You have, I assume, heard the many rumours surrounding the sudden absence of his Immortal Eternal Administrator Ky’ler Raph’Face.”
He shifted his weight and stepped out from behind the desk.
“Word has come down from CCP’s central database on the G-net that all five clones of his Immortal Eternal Administrator have been bio-massed as of twenty one days ago.”
Jenna was stunned, a dozen questions raced through her mind in an instant.
“Ok, uhm permission to speak freely sir,” she blurted out interrupting the Consular. Her cheeks suddenly flushed when she realized she had broken protocol.
The Consular seemed to let it pass as he said, “Go ahead engineer.”
“Why am I the one you are speaking to? The First and Chief grade Engineers are higher ranked than I. Even the Sub Head Officer of Extraction Operations would surely be a more appropriate….” her words trailed off as she realized something must have happened to the upper chain of command if the Consular was relaying this information directly to her.
“Jenna,” more informally now the Consular continued, “The chain of command has been disrupted. Your superiors are no longer available to carry out their,” he paused, “they are indisposed and have been relieved of duty. You are now granted the position and title of Sub Head Officer of Extraction Operations and all privileges and responsibilities that accompany the position. Do you comply and accept this promotion?”
Jenna thought for a moment then replied, “Uhm, sir… I am not qualified. I guess I do as long as you understand it might take me a bit to get up to speed on protocol and procedures.”
“Yes, yes,” he said dismissively. “As long as you do so quickly I will manage to cover your inadequacies until you get sorted.”
“Sir, one more thing, what exactly is going on?” her voice trembled with excitement and a little weariness.
“Well, that is the thing. There are no procedures or policy in the operational manuals regarding the operation of a PI installation in the event of the,” he pause again, “uhm… the absence of the Command Administrator. Frankly we do not know what we are supposed to do in the unlikely event of the bio-massing of all clones of our former illustrious Master.”
“We have been in contact with the Installations on the other five planets, and they are in different states of, uhm … functionality,” he looked at his desk and then sunk his head into his hands, “you are dismissed, please attend to your station.”
Jenna snapped to attention, saluted and then turn and strode out of the office.
On the way back to her cabin the weight of the situation started to rest upon her mind. She never thought this would happen. How does an Immortal being just go and get himself bio-massed? Why had he made no plans or procedures for the possibility of his absence? Could they just up and leave the facilities? What would be the consequences of that?
And that was the point where she realized what had happened to the First Grade Engineer, The Chief Engineer, and the previous Sub Head Officer of Extraction Operations.
“Well,” she thought, “I am going to have to learn quickly and not go down that road.”
She entered her cabin, slipped off her uniform and slipped into the cool soft sheets of her bunk.
She would sort it all out in eight hours when her first shift as Sub Head Officer of Extraction Operations started.
As she closed her eyes and slipped into sleep one last though drifted through her mind.
Did she need more zombies? Did she really need more zombies?
*Song by AmeliaSweet – Check out more of her music at:
though not all knew of thee
your father loved you so
your time immortal in New Eden
was but a glimpse
of your true mortal coil
your being now resides
in the minds and memories
of all those that stayed behind
they light the cyno
calling you home
home immortal to our memories
and the lives you touched
that are left behind
jump fair capsuleer,
jump to cyno
the beacon is lit
the cyno reverbs
waves of light
transporting our sorrow
from here to the other side
let the name be called
Stay strong in your weakness @C4w3