The soft golden light of the artificial sun rose across the biosphere filtering into the small yet lavish apartment windows. It overlooked private well kept gardens with many species of flowering plants which had been grafted from terrestrial planets from one end of the universe to the other. It was a sight not often seen in the cold calculated stations about the Caldari Empire and one often only enjoyed by the wealthy. The apartment itself was above the standings of the industrial pilot who lived there. It had been a gift from the CEO for graduating with such high marks from the capsuleer academy. Standing at the window sipping a cup of coffee Janice gazed a moment at a white lily as it opened to meet the morning rays. It was one of the few times in her day she would be allowed to simply enjoy what she saw without having to make a decision that could cost the lives of her crew. Today she allowed herself a few extra moments of peace with the lily before she dressed and set about her duties.
The hangers were buzzing along at their normal frequency. A small army of workers dressed in coveralls smeared with coolant and nanite paste scurried about their tasks preparing ships for various capsuleers and crews. While technology ruled every inch of the hangers. It was living flesh that seemed to be the most common moving thing. One might have expected robots to be doing all the work while a few fat supervisors checked schematics and tweaked work flows. I guess there was something to be said for the quality of workmanship and ability to improvise that only meat could deliver. This morning there seemed to be an extra detail of workers attending one of the badger class industrials. Sparks flew from multiple points about its hull as the crew went about stripping back structure to boost the agility of the lumbering craft. One of the crew chiefs whistled as a new propulsion device was craned into place. Inside the flight crew was getting used to the tighter corridors and extra equipment. Grumbling as they cracked their heads on new protrusions about the craft. To the trained eye this badger was being prepared for speed and agility both qualities for which the badger class industrial was not renowned.
A tall Caldari woman stepped out into the midst of the hanger and instantly all activity stopped. Her uniform was immaculate down to the last button and crease. Her dark straight hair framed her pale face in a way that amplified the cold gaze her eyes held. Sister Janice’s image could have been one from a holomanual in the hands of a cadet at the Caldari capusleer academy. The way she conducted herself in the presence of the crew and the hanger staff was like watching an instructor demonstrate the task. Yet each and every chunk of meat in that bay looked at her with respect and an unusual fondness that came from service over time with a great captain. Quite unusual considering this badger pilot was just three months out of POD school.
“Sister, your craft has been refit per your request.” Reported Tiny a 240cm tall tower of a man who carried his 150kg well. His coveralls those of a hanger boss with slightly less grime covering the name patch on his chest and a high end datapad in his hands.
“So I take it this old crate will be a little livelier then?”She replied eyeing him over with her cold trade mark gaze.
Tiny let out a bellowing laugh. “Even with your horrible Nav skills Janice, this tub will turn and warp like a frigate today!” he said with a huge grin. A few of the newer crew physically winced at the remark anticipating a sudden flash of temper to erupt from the Captain. Janice took a quick step at the big crew chief and socked him playfully on the arm before nodding towards the crew.
“I sure hope so for their sake.” She shot back with the smallest hint of a smile.
The reaction once again had everybody looking at her, but this time a puzzled stupefied look fell across each face. Janice never joked with anyone about anything, and she most certainly never smiled. The awkward moment was short lived.
“I want this boat hot and ready to depart when I get back at 21:00 hours or I’ll trade you all to the service ZombiNutz!” Erupted Janice as the cold composed captain’s demur returned unpausing the bustle of activity as she strode with long strides off the deck. With the slightest pause she looked over her shoulder at a long scar across the badgers’ hull. Then she breached the door into the corridors beyond and was gone.
Tiny glanced at the first mate and barked “You heard her get this tub fueled and warm or you’ll be loading Barrage S into a rifters autocannons by the end of tomorrow! “ As Tiny turned to his datapad the big man paused, a look of concern settling on his mug. The captain had never smiled and more so she had not looked at the “scar” in months. Where was she headed at 21:00 hours that had her so nervous? A loud hiss from the ship snapped him back to his tasks and the thought was gone.
An old Gallente man in simple robes of white cotton reached into the flowerbed clipping the white lily with a perfect CLIP from his antique metal sheers. He lifted the flower to his face and regarded it with his deformed misshapen eyes before gently touching it to his nose. The sweet smell reminded his of his childhood as a common boy in the jungles of his home world. He gently placed the flower into an ornate glass case that emitted a small hiss as it closed and preserved the blossom for the next 200 years.
“Let us hope you return today my child so I might give you this gift!” he said peering at the young pilots’ empty quarters. “The task I have given you will test everything you have learned and perhaps the quality of your clone as well.”Chuckling softly to himself, like a grandfather might to his grandchildren, he limped from the garden.
I am not a writer by any stretch of the imagination. Yet fiction seems to go with blogging about EVE. So please humbly accept my first attempt at EVE fiction. Be kind but honest with any comments, as through critique one can improve.