This is going to be an Eve fan fiction novel.
|Echos of Origin: Chapter 1: A Trillion motes of Light.
You have never heard silence like the silence of space. It's a quiet so loud it makes your head spin. Bereft of your hearing your eyes must tell the full story. Looking around the system, Dreygan didn't miss the noise. It feels like I am swimming in a trillion motes of light. Every direction, every angle is covered by more stars than could ever hope to be counted in one life time. Dreygan smiled. Thankfully, I have more than one lifetime now. Gas clouds played the light around in hues of every color imaginable, like watching every sunset all at once. Planets hung in his vision like brilliant tie-dyed marbles. Even seeing it every day didn't diminish the wonder of it for him.
A flashing in Dreygun's NEOCOM stirred him from his reverie. With a sigh he closed his eyes, or rather severed the feeds from his camera drones. Floating in his capsule, Dreygun was surrounded by cold darkness, but even then a tickling in the back of his mind made him aware subconsiously of every system on board his vessel. A standard cruiser, his Arbitrator was a small ship by capsuleer standards, normally crewed by over a thousand hands, with the capsule technology only a few hundred were on board. Alone Dreygun could pilot this entire starship, calculate complex jump coordinates in a second, formulated firing solutions on a dozen targets, and command a full wing of automated drones. He was a god among men, a Capsuleer. The cloning technology inherent in the capsules granted him near immortality, an eternity to spend among the stars.
Of course godhood came at a price. He had been selected by the Amarr empire because he was one out of billions of people capable of syncing with the complex capsule technology that the Jove had mysteriously bestowed on New Eden. He had been put through rigorous testing, training, and background screenings since the age of 12. After that 20 years has been spent in service of the Amarr navy. It saddened him that it had taken him 20 years to break free. Twenty years of murder.
He had caught hundreds of thousands of slaves. Some whom had escaped and some who had been born free. The Minmatar were lesser beings as were all humans when compared to the glory of Amarr, god's chosen. That was what he had been brainwashed to believe.
Images flashed over his vision. Lifeless bodies floating through space, their screams frozen in time. Thousands of them flowing like a river from dozens of unarmed transport vessels. Flesh mangled, interwoven with wires and charred metal from the debris, twisting and turning in a horrific dance. Dreygan tried in vain to shut out the images, but these were not from his camera drones these were memories embedded in his mind, his perfect cybernetically enhanced mind.
That had been his last mission for Amarr. The day he had woken up to the horrors he was committing. It was a reclaiming mission. He was suppose to capture the transports, but he had underestimated the Minmatar's desire for their freedom. After he delivered a dozen hails demanding that the vessels halt in the name of God and Empire, he destroyed the small escort fleet. The transports had no hope of out running him... and yet they refused to yield. He was not equipped with warp disruption so the order was given to destroy the vessels. It was better they die than be free in the eyes of Amarr.
Without question he had ordered his drones to fire. His drones tore into the vessels like rabid dogs. mincing their shields and armor in a second... Dreygun shook his head, banishing the memories away, and willed the red light still blinking in his mind to stop, bringing up his comm window he answered the incoming hail.
A gruff age worn old man appeared in his mind's eye, digitally projected via his neural interfaces. "We have rogue drone contact at 10 AU, 30 degrees below horizontal axis, 40 degrees west off solar north. Adjust directional scanners and warp to uploaded jump coordinates on my mark. Dr. Sali needs salvage for his research so focus targeting away from their neural processors. Avery out." The man's image blinked off Dreygan's vision and the jump data flooded his mind.
Rebooting his camera drones he made the appropriate course adjustments, aligning to his target. Taking a deep breath he willed his ship into warp.
This was his third year interning under Dr. Sali. After fleeing Amarr, Dreygan had found solace in the diverse ethnic culture of the Gallente Federation. Being a capsuleer he found work easily, but he quickly discovered a love for drone studies. That passion led him to the doors of the CreoDron corporation.
CreoDron was a mega corporation. A massive force within Gallente space. They had funded Dreygan's studies and set him up with a lucrative job working for one of their many drone AI research teams. For the most part this work involved salvaging some of the thousands of mysterious rogue drones that infested New Eden. It was grunt work, but killing drones was much easier on Dreygun's conscience than the massacres he had taken part of as a member of Amarr's navy.
The blur of light around him slowed as his ship began to decelerate out of warp. A dozen red X shaped figures populated his simulated vision. Zooming his camera drones in he recognized the unmistakable insect like silhouette of the rogue drones.
Dreygun established a comm link to his ship's crew quarters. "Hostile contact, all crew to combat stations." He recited the order verbatim from his memory, repeating it three times before closing the comm channel. He willed his afterburners on accelerating to full subwarp speeds. He was hoping to maintain an orbit of 30 kilometers, in order to maximizing his traversal speeds. This would reduce the damage coming from the pin prick lances spitting out of the bug like machines.
Dreygun opened his drone bays, cycling out 5 Gallente hammerhead class combat drones. He felt his mind split as a small part of his consciousness attached itself to each drone. Complex flight patterns of the drones were managed both by the drones own on board AI as well as the drone amplification software of the navigation and tracking modules on his own vessel. Together it was a concert of bobs and weaves as the the small vessels engaged the threats, and Dreygan was the maestro.
An alarm screeched in his ear followed by the voice of his chief defense officer, a middle aged Intaki female named Joan. "Captain, shields have fallen below 10% I recommend activation of the armor repair modules now to preempt damages from the next volley of drone fire."
Dreygun smiled internally at the crisp professionalism. "Of course, go ahead." he replied. A moment later the deep rhythmic hum of the repair systems nanites could be heard even in the depths of Dreygun's thick walled capsule.
Dreygun opened his comms again connecting with his officers on the main bridge. " What is the range on the new beam cannons we installed?"
"12 kilometers optimal, Captain." The deep voice of their primary weapons officer Biran replied.
Checking his range, Dreygun's mind instantly calculated the best firing solution of the closest drone. "Load radio frequency crystals and open fire on the primary."
High pitched screeches rocked the entire vessel as the ships cannons released their first volley. A distant boom confirmed the hit on the rogue drone followed another as the enemies hull breached.
The rest of the targets quickly followed suite. After only 10 minutes Dreygun gave the order to stand down from battle stations. Opening a comm to Avery, Dreygun gave his report. "Rogue drone contacts are clear, for salvage crew. Combat log is being uploaded to Dr. Sali's servers for analysis."
The vision of Avery once again winked into Dreygun's mind. "Good, that's all the contacts CONCORD had reports of in this system. I say we call it a day. Drinks at the mess tonight? I am ready for this week to be over." The hard edges of CreoDron's lead research team fleet commander, softened a bit, as he took a deep breath, and smirked "A few more days like this and I may have to call in my vacation time."
It had been a rough week. This had been the 25th site they had cleared today, and it made over a 100 this week. Dreygun hoped dearly that Dr. Sali would have enough salvaged AIs to finish his most recent studies. A breakthrough in this research could mean major changes in the way CreoDron constructed their current line of combat drones and even more impressively it could help them develop better methods for handling the Rogue drone infestations altogether.
"Roger that Avery," Dreygun said before adding with a chuckle, "but if you cash in all the vacation you have accrued wouldn't that be called retirement?"
The image of Avery shook his head with a laugh before disappearing and leaving Dreygun once again alone in his capsule. Whether Sali makes a breakthrough on this project or not, I hope something interesting happens soon. I don't know how much more of this repetitive stuff I can take...Dreygun calculated a route back to the station where they carried out their research on the salvaged drone parts. 16 jumps back to headquarters... I think I will let the autopilot handle this, time for a nap.
Echos of Origin: Chapter 2: Old Friends
A soft breeze kissed the back of a 14 year old, Dreygun's neck, tickling a chill of the the late orbital cycle, when Amarr Prime's temperatures were just starting to dip. Dreygun pulled up his coat and nudged the small boy next to him. "Com'on Nate. It's getting late. We need to head home Mom said Jaseri is making sevei for dinner."
But the little boy didn't move. He just continued to stare up into the twilight, Amarr's twin moons were still low in the sky, but even with the ambient light from the city, stars were beginning to appear. It was still just a few, but Dreygun's little brother, Nathaniel, was entranced by them. Nate lifted his hand towards the distant dots of light in the sky as if he were trying to reach out and touch them. "There are other people up there... " He said vacantly, almost like he wasn't really talking to Dreygun. "I wonder if they are like us?"
"Of course not." Dreygun huffed. "We are Amarrian's, we are special."
Nathaniel lowered his hand and looked up into his older brother's eyes. "How come?"
The older boy just sighed. "God chose us." He replied reciting the words that he had heard his whole life. "God wants us to unite the universe so that we can all become worthy of him."
Nathaniel nodded, "Yea I guess...it just... BEEEEEEEEEP."
Dreygun squinted awkwardly back at his brother his head starting to spin. "Wha...???" BEEEEEEEP. Finally, the jarring tone of the com channel spurred Dreygun from his dream. Shaking the fog from his head, he groaned loudly. Checking the time on his bedside holo, he slammed the com button. "I expressly ordered not to be disturbed till we were in system. What is it!?"
The stoic face of an Amarrian Naval officer appeared on his com screen. "This is Commander Jin Harick of the Amarrian navel security." He paused for a moment a look of disgust momentarily washed over his face before he returned to his composure. "Capsuleer Dreygun Reyes Duran you are trespassing in Amarrian space, you are guilty of desertion I am charged to bring you before the imperial courts. Prepare to be boarded."
Before the image had a chance to wink out Dreygun was on his feet sprinting to his capsule. Opening a com to his bridge crew he tried to make out what had taken place. "Why are we in Amarrian space?!" he demanded.
Clarice his first officer appeared on his screen, her soft pale skin and big blue eyes gave her an air of innocence that belied her true nature. She was completely calm as she delivered her report. "We needed to do some minor repairs after the last engagements. One of the systems offlined was the system that handled autopilot system exclusions. When we calculated our jump route we assumed it would not take us into any Amarrian systems because we have them programmed as exclusions. The secondary crew responsible for monitoring navigation while we are in autopilot were not properly briefed on the importance of avoiding those systems."
As Dreygun slid into his capsule the flood of system information washed over his mind, and he instantly felt ill. Four imperial Armageddon Class battleships orbited his vessel. His engines were webbed to prevent evasive maneuvers and his warp drives were scrambled. He was dead in space. "Tactical review." He panted hoarsely over his coms
"I estimate a 5 minute survival time if we overheat all defensive systems. Give or take a minute depending on the laser crystals they have equipped, but I would assume they are tuned to our resistances." Joan stated. For once Dreygun was grateful for her succinct review.
"We can scramble our drones but it would take at least 10 minutes with all weapons firing to bring down one of those Geddons." Biran grunted, " And that is assuming they don't even try to activate a single defensive module. Honestly we don't have the fire power to scratch a fully tanked battleship we are geared for frigate class equivalent combat. At best we could handle another cruiser.
Dreygun leaned his head against the side of his pod. Desertion would mean death for any baseliner, but as a capsuleer he would most likely be worth more alive. They would slap a slave collar on him. Ironic, he had captured thousands of slaves in his time and now he had finally gotten away from all that only to be caught and turned into a slave himself. He could almost laugh at the poetic justice of that moment. He was sure many of his past victims surely would.
He could always eject and detonate his capsule. He would lose his clone, but it would be a small loss. He would wake up in a fresh clone several systems away from here, but his crew would be taken. If he volunteered to go they would at least spare his crew and turn them back over to Gallente officials... unless they were of Minmatar decent in which case they would likely enslave them as well. Dreygun yelled in the quiet of his capsule, frustration boiling over. There has to be some way out of this!
"Transport vessel inbound, DUST mercenaries confirmed by scanners. If we don't lower our shields to let them through, The Amarrian ships will open fire." Clarice stated. "We need orders."
"Lower the shields..." Dreygun managed to whisper through clenched teeth. "All Minmatar crew head to the cargo hold." Maybe I can hide them in a cargo container. Once they have me they might not search the ship to closely.
Dreygun sighed, "Everyone else please prepare to surren..."
"New vessel on grid. Its landing 10km off out port side!" Joan's voice cried out with uncharacteristic bewilderment. "Its Commander Avery's Eos!"
A stream of jump data instantly flooded into Dreygun's mind, clearly sent from Avery. The surly man's voice filled his mind a second later. " Align to those coordinates and prepare to jump." Dreygun attempted to to explain his situation, but Avery cut him off with a growl. "NOW!"
Shifting his ship subtly he aimed in the direction Avery had provided. The Amarr security forces were already taking fire positions. Joan's voice shouted out, "They are powering up their weapons. The first volley should hit any second!"
Frantically the cornered capsuleer reengaged his shields and activated his armor hardeners and repair modules. The combined fire of the four naval grade battleships crashed into Dreygun's smaller vessel. A brain numbing screech immediately going off, warning him of the loss of his shields. "Dammit! already?" he muttered to himself. He could feel the propulsion webs and warp scramblers restricting the movement of his vessel, in his mind they felt like chains wrapped around him. His camera drones showed Avery's vessel maneuvering between Dreygun's own and the attacking group.
"Captain there is no way Commander Avery's vessel alone can defeat the attack group. Even if we were to help our combined fire power would not likely even bring down one of their ships. We should power down and negotiate our surrender." Clarice stated coldly. "It was a mistake for the Commander to engage."
Dreygun gritted his teeth. "The Commander was leading fleets before you were born, Lieutenant. He has a plan, and considering our alternative would see hundreds of my crew enslaved along with myself. I believe this is the better option."
Clarice showed no signs of anger at the rebuke. She nodded curtly and returned to her station. Dreygun sighed internally, I just hope that plan unfolds soon... reassessing his ship status he grimaced, the armor plating was worn down to 20% another minute and the weapon fire would breach his hull.
"Overheat all defensive modules. Divert all available power to the armor repair systems." That will buy us another 15 seconds...
A sudden high pitched squeal blasted throughout the ship. Every computer system on board crashed simultaneously. For about a second everything was black and quiet. A series of shrill beeps were his only warning as his camera feeds and audio simulators rebooted. Rocking his senses with the sudden influx of data. "What the hell?!" he shouted reconnecting to all his systems.
"Targeting systems are fried it will be about 3 minutes before they are up and running again." Biran announced as the com systems were reestablished.
A flicker of understanding finally clicked in Dreygun's head. A hurried check of his warp drive confirmed his suspicions. "All hands prepare for warp!" He shouted thrusting all his power into a sudden emergency jump to the coordinates he was already aligned to.
A wave of relief washed over him as the stars around him blurred and all the massive battleships jumped backwards from his view. The bastard did it.
"Give me a directional scan for Commander Avery's vessel." Dreygun hurriedly ordered.
"He is in the warp tunnel behind us Captain." Clarice answered, with a slight grin. "It appears you were correct, I apologize for speaking out of order."
"What the Hell was that!" Biran nearly shouted.
"That was an ECM burst, Lieutenant." Avery's voice interrupted. "an explosive Electronic Counter Measure. Kills the fragile targeting systems on most ships if they are all clumped up like that. Never a bad idea to have some of those on board if you expect trouble."
"You expected trouble on the boring salvage mission we had today?" Dreygun asked incredulously.
Avery laughed from deep in his belly, "I always expect trouble. That's why I am still alive. This is New Eden after all.