• Got Bread?
    Got Bread?
  • The English Robin
    The English Robin
  • Afternoon Snooze
    Afternoon Snooze
  • Waterton Lakes Valley
    Waterton Lakes Valley
  • Magic Mushrooms
    Magic Mushrooms
  • Vino sulla Vite
    Vino sulla Vite
  • Fairy Stream
    Fairy Stream
  • Sunset Smoke
    Sunset Smoke
  • Om Nom Nom
    Om Nom Nom
  • Summer Lake Cabin
    Summer Lake Cabin
  • Stormy Mountain Sunset
    Stormy Mountain Sunset

Category: Solitary Pilot

One Universe // One Journey

Solitary Pilot contains posts about my experiences playing the MMORPG EVE Online. Most of the older content is written in-character (from a roleplay perspective). Some familiarity with EVE will ensure the roleplay makes much more sense, but even if not, readers should still be able to get by.

The name “Solitary Pilot” comes from the EVE Online music track of the same name.


A Delivery

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery

Another late night—or a very early morning, depending on the point of view. Sakaane’s office was dark; only the holodisplay floating before her cast a pale, glowing light.

A summary scrolled past on the display. It was a rundown of combat statistics for the alliance, automatically produced to summarize the previous twenty-four hours’ activity. It had four entries on it, all coded red: losses.

She glanced briefly at the first one. Daniel Alpena and Spar Jamlamin of Repo. had fought in Aunsou, with Spar’s Thrasher destroying the ILF Rifter. There were no comments appended to the kill report; she made a mental note to ask Daniel about it later.

The next three entries made her bite her lip. The Coreli war was now into its seventh week and engagements continued to prove frustrating. Earlier that month it had been publicly confirmed that Coreli ships intended for use in the campaign against IPI tended to be fit with warp core stabilizers, allowing them to slip the field and escape from any engagement where they might otherwise be destroyed. In the face of this tactic some IPI pilots had decided to make an effort to return to the alliance’s normal activities. But of course the war meant no system was safe, and Coreli had well-paid locator agents in their employ. The next entry in the summary showed Joshua Foiritain had used a Rapier to attack an empty Occator belonging to Alessa Leon in Hatakani, no doubt while she was on a run to fetch supplies destined for the Intaki V-5 trade hub. Approximately half an hour later, it seemed Alessa and Daniel caught up to the Coreli CEO in Stacmon only to have both of their ships destroyed minutes apart by his Pilgrim.

Sakaane wiped the report off the display and leaned forward, elbows on the desk, to rest her forehead in her hands.


A Request

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery

The office was more or less dark, save for a small lamp. Its glow cast a dim pool of light on the desk.

Sakaane sat quietly, contemplating the photographs highlighted by the light. They were large prints and intended to be two sets. The first of each set was made more or less irrelevant thanks to their blurred contents. The second photo of the second set showed slightly more detail but was still too out of focus to discern its details. The third of the first set showed, in crystal clarity, what its predecessors had only hinted at. A shot of her mother sitting on the deck at sunset, mouth open in a soundless scream of terror.

The second set was incomplete. The photos had been delivered but destroyed sight unseen. Despite this, despite how dark and vague its first picture was, somewhere deep inside she feared she knew what the others would have shown, though she dared not admit it to herself.


Visual Omens – The Fifth

Thanks to Bataav for participating.

Intaki Prime – Southern Hemisphere – Eionell Estate

Bataav woke unexpectedly from deep sleep but did not stir. The temptation to open his eyes and sit up was just a dull remnant of instinct easily ignored thanks to years of discipline and skill. To any onlooker he would have still appeared lost in his dreams.

Instead, he stretched forth his senses. A gentle inhalation told him the room smelled the way it should. The light sheet covering him from the hips down was undisturbed. Beside him, Sakaane’s breath was slow and even. She remained asleep, her hand resting lightly on his bare chest. Beyond her, their room was quiet. Yet, something had awoken him.

Flash! Brilliant white light illuminated his closed eyelids and was gone before they could squint in reflex. A greenish-blue afterimage convulsed against the back of his eyes in strange, gradually-fading shapes. After the span of a few heartbeats, the rumble came and he relaxed, wondering if there would be any rain this time or if the storm would blow itself out as nothing more than heat static.

The thunder disturbed Sakaane and she rolled over, sighing softly, but didn’t wake. Bataav took the opportunity to shift closer. The exposed skin of her back felt cool against his front when he wrapped his arm comfortably around her. His lips briefly brushed her shoulder as he settled in.

Another flash, another rumble. And then another. The storm was rapidly approaching.


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.


Respite

Thanks to Bataav, Caellach Marellus, and John Revenent for participating.

Somewhere in Syndicate

The journey from Intaki had thus far been uneventful, save for a brief, heart-pounding moment when their ships came out of warp kissing up against a bubble. Reverse thrusters fired and the hulls keeled over like cats desperately wanting to avoid being stuffed in a carrier. Crewmen—already at alert status—had leapt to battle stations, but the bubble was abandoned, or at the very least, unmanned at that particular moment. The two ships were cloaked anyway. Rather than crawling through the bubble to the gate, they’d warped off to a celestial, returned from a different vector, and continued on their way.

“You’re quiet,” Bataav observed a while later as they neared their destination.

Sakaane swiveled her camera drones to where she supposed his Buzzard might be beside her Anathema as they flew through the black together. Usually, she was the one prompting him.

Another jump came and went and she remained silent, thoughtful. An accompanying flash of gate fire was the only hint he could see that she was still with him.

“I was just thinking,” she eventually replied with a sigh. “The comments Syagrius and others have made about IPI and I-RED. They’re…troubling. We can’t afford to be seen that way anymore.”

“We do need to do more to dissuade opinions like those.”

“Which is ironic, considering where we’re going and why. But then, I suppose it couldn’t be done all at once anyway.”

“No. And we should be mindful of how it might be perceived.”

Silence again. Then she said tightly, “Surely there’s a way to coexist as allies with I-RED while ensuring the public doesn’t see us as their ‘pet’.”


Nascence

Thanks to Tycho Antus, Bataav, and James Syagrius for participating.

“As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval,
you are setting yourself up for disaster.
You have to be whole and complete in yourself.
No one can give you that.
You have to know who you are—what others say is irrelevant.”

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery
Capsuleer Residences

“I’m going down to the surface,” Sakaane suddenly announced.

Bataav looked up from the intelligence report he’d been studying. Sakaane sat across the room from him in a large window box spanning one whole wall of the living room. She’d barely moved since that morning, keeping her thoughts to herself and staring moodily out at the vista of the dome.

He followed her gaze. Evening was falling on the station and Ramacandra was beginning to darken the dome’s false sky. Someone had parked a Myrmidon overhead; it hung like a frozen dagger against the black disc of the moon, a ghostly visage that slowly solidified as the dome turned transparent for the night.

“I’m nearly done this report,” he said. “I can be ready in a few minutes.”

“I’d rather go alone. I need…some time to myself.”

He shook his head, picked up his datapad to input a few quick commands. They’d been over that already. “Then one of my men will meet you at the spaceport.”


Visual Omens – The Fourth

Thanks to Tycho Antus, Bataav, and James Syagrius for participating.

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery
IPI Offices

The cider’s aroma wafted out of the cup as Sakaane poured from the pot Karan had waiting for her. The liquid was a pale coral color and smelled of berries. She’d just taken a careful sip of the hot liquid and was about to sit down at her desk when her aide poked his head into the office.

Suprab heti, Madam President,” he said. “There’s a call coming in from Tycho Antus, COO of Reclamation Technologies. Do you wish to take it now?” He glanced at his datapad. “You also wanted me to remind you of this morning’s appointment.”

“Thank you, Karan.” Her nose wrinkled; faintly, despite the fact her office was spotless, she was certain she could still detect the salty odor of fire suppression foam, which the cider and the room’s incense wasn’t strong enough to cover. It reminded her of her last encounter with James Syagrius and she felt a small pinch of anxiety in her gut. “I’ll take the call in the conference hall.”

Picking up her own datapad, Sakaane carried it and the cup through to the meeting room, which was decidedly free of offensive scents. It wasn’t really a hall in sense one might expect; though it could host up to fifty guests at a time, in standard lighting it was drab grey and seemed alarmingly empty save for a few simple chairs placed haphazardly here and there. Behind a door, nearly hidden in the panels of the wall, was a small storeroom containing a collapsible table and folding chairs which could be brought out for guests to use. Usually, these things were left packed away, and Sakaane made no move to retrieve them, opting instead to set her cup and datapad down on a small side table beside the closest chair.


Invalidation

Thanks to Azdan Amith and James Syagrius for participating.

Intaki V – Moon 5 – Astral Mining Inc. Refinery

The door opened; a blond-haired man peeked in before quietly entering. He paused at the doorway to bow, carefully balancing the tray he held so as not to spill its contents.

“Madam President,” he said respectfully.

She seemed not to have heard him. Her attention was focused entirely on the holodisplay projected by the desk; one hand rested on its wooden surface, the fingers idly tapping out a pattern as if to some music only she could hear. The other hand’s fingers dallied near her mouth, tugging thoughtfully at her lips as she frowned in concentration while a document—a mail, he thought—composed itself before her.

He crossed the office to the credenza, his feet making no sound as they padded over the carpeted floor, and set the tray down. Then he took stock of the credenza’s contents: the water remained chilled, the tea and cider were hot. The bottle of Payloqan k’Adharnam was nearly empty; he made a mental note to order another supply from the surface.

Selecting a mug, he reached for the pot of cider and poured. The liquid’s semi-sweet berry scent steamed into his face and he inhaled. Yes, this would be good. Then he selected a plate and transferred three small sandwich wedges, along with a few slices of sweet pod melon, onto it from the tray he’d been carrying. The remaining food he covered up to keep fresh.


Common Ground

Thanks to Saxon Hawke and Layla Saitana for their written contributions.
The original posts are here.

Stacmon V – Moon 9 – Federation Navy Assembly Plant

Sakaane walked into the station lounge and paused to survey the room, noting pilots grouped here and there at tables. Their conversations were hushed, spoken to one another from behind glasses held up near their mouths, their shoulders hunched toward one another as if afraid of being overheard. As she watched, more than a few repeatedly made glances in the direction of a certain table. Some of them sniggered while others had lingering expressions of mortification on their faces.

My grandmother would have said we are hanging out the dirty wash for all the world to see by meeting here, Sakaane thought, annoyed. Requiring a public arena as a means to enforce decorum was ridiculous, though from the tension in the air it appeared she had just missed an example of how this setting might not necessarily achieve that end anyway. Could they really accomplish nothing without an audience? This is not how things should be done.

She turned her head, following the glances of the onlookers, and was not surprised to see Suresha Hawke and Layla Saitana sitting together. Taking a measured breath, Sakaane banished her irritation. That attitude would do no good here. Regardless of the venue, they needed this meeting. The alliance depended on it. She squared her shoulders and approached the table.

Namas, Suresha, Layla,” she said warmly, bowing respectfully to Saxon. “I hope you’ve not been waiting long.”


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.