Space. Another frontier. Wait, hasn’t something like that been done. Let’s start over… This is the first Science Fiction short Nathan and I have written. The world it’s set in actually comes from a very popular (very fun) game called Eve Online. If you play it you already know what it is and you can appreciate some of the homage paid to it here. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, don’t worry because the story is original and it stands pretty well on it’s own
Hope you enjoy… Gavin & Nathan.
A short story by The Brothers Seim.
His eyes swept the vast expanse of space before him. To his sides and rear where thousands of combat ships, each fitted to it’s own role, each armed to the teeth with guns, electronic weapons, missiles and the countless other methods humankind had invented to destroy one another in great numbers. In front of him was empty space, but he knew that was about to change.
The Jovian Directorate would send a Detachment to investigate the incursion into their space, and the Amarrian Imperial Fleet would murder them, in cold blood. He wanted to wonder why the Amarr would do such a thing, but he knew already. Why? Because a few lunatics, insane for power, had their people utterly convinced that God himself willed it. He knew it was a lie that this entire mighty fleet would be annihilated for. Amid the twisted hulks of mankind’s greatest achievements, now become instruments of death, would be bodies, burned, then frozen almost instantly.
Garet Drembar knew all this, but in spite of that knowledge, he was going to lead his ship into battle alongside the Amarr. At first he had said that he had no choice, but it was a lie, he knew that. There was always a choice. The choice was to fight alongside his Amarrian masters or die in screaming, writhing agony as the Vitoc poison that pulsed in his veins overcame the antidote the Amarrians supplied him. He chose to fight. It was a brutally clever method really. Poison your slaves, then give them an antidote that is one hundred percent effective, but that only you can supply. The Amarr had used it for centuries to control slaves who held delicate jobs. And Garet was a slave, and his job was delicate indeed.
He was the commander of a Prophecy-Class Battlecruiser, crewed entirely by Minmatar slaves, all under the effects of Vitoc. Garet, in truth, was proud that his team was among the finest in the Amarr fleet. They had labored for years, training tirelessly, holding silent against atrocities ordered by their masters, and now they were going to their deaths. He had told them this and they had taken it like true warriors. He was proud.
Fifty-four seconds after a they dropped out of warp, Garet walked onto the bridge and Dran, chief engineer and Garet’s brother, pulled him aside.
“Garet, you know I’m not afraid to die, but if I go down, I’m taking as many Amarrian animals with me as I possibly can.”
Garet shook his head slowly, knowing and understanding his brother’s sentiment. “I don’t think we’ll have a chance. When the Jovians realize what we’re doing, the fleet is going to burn in the wink of an eye. The casualties will send the empire reeling for decades to come.”
“ And I want to watch it writhe, Garet”. Do you remember? She was my wife!”
“I remember brother.” He said, his mind filling with the memories of that day long ago. He saw her again, shot dead as she turned to run, her body striking the ground like a discarded doll, strands of amber hair bathed in the mud where she fell.
“Garet, we have 6 frigates incoming.” The voice of his intelligence officer shook him from his reverie.
“This is it everyone.” Garet took the captain’s chair, and as his adrenaline began to rush as the Brutor tribal war tattoos appeared on face.
Then they heard the voice of the Jovian captain over the comm. “Amarrian fleet, you have entered sovereign Jovian space. Please go back the way you came.”
There was a moment of silence before the voice of Idonis, Ammarian Holder and Commander of the Imperial fleet, spoke, his course voice coming over the comm, made ugly by the voice Cripters that prevented the Jovian from listening.
“Acquire passive locks. Fire on my order.”
The Jovian spoke again, his firm but calm voice a stark contrast to the rasp of Idonis. “Your ships are locking us. Stand down or be destroyed. You have five seconds.
Idonis answered without scrambling the comm. “God is with us. Fire at will.”
With those three casually spoken words, deep space was lighted with laser fire. The Jovian frigates broke formation and engaged. Garet knew they were transmitting everything that was happening. They had, at best, two minutes before a Jovian Capital fleet arrived.
The first Amarrian ship, a Maller class cruiser, exploded and Garet could feel his brother smile, as the lives of the seventy-six imperial citizens blinked out. A moment later the sound of tearing metal reached through the void and the Armageddon-class battleship to their port side broke into three pieces, flailing bodies spilling from it’s hull and into open space.
Garet and his crew lost count as ships and lives blinked from existence, Crushed from this detachment of only six Jovian Frigates.
The voice of Idonis Crackled over the comm once again. He laughed. “They have not touched us. Ten cities for the captain that spills first Jovian blood.” The comm clicked off.
Finally three of the enemy ships ventured too close to a battleship. Stasis webs spat from the Amarr vessel, slowing them to a crawl. Garet gauged the distance to the nearest of the crippled frigates and ordered Dran to open fire. He nodded curtly and obeyed. The ship exploded in a rain of molten metal under the impact of the six pulse laser beams. A small escape pod came clear of the wreckage and dropped instantly into warp. Maleatu Shakur whistled and the bridge crew looked at one another in surprise.
“Warp pods.” Dran muttered.”They take care of their own!”
Another Jovian frigate went up, but this time the Amarr caught and destroyed the escape pod. There were three frigates left, one of which was webbed down by an Amarrian Apocalypse-class Battleship. The other was engaging the aggressor from out of web range, effortlessly evading it’s slow tracking lasers. The third was just sitting in space, doing… “Close on that third frigate! Do it NOW!” Garet roared. His men reacted instantly and he saw his lasers light the darkness. A moment later the frigate exploded. To late. The enemy ship had left a glowing field in space.
“We have a Jovian Cyno Field.” Garet said to the fleet at large.
Dreadnoughts and Carriers close around the field. Prepare for incoming hostiles.” Came the voice of Idonis. “I’m going to bring in the Avatar. We must hold them off until the wrath of God and the Emperor comes.” The Amarrian capital ships, along with several dozen smaller vessels closed in on the cynosaural field. At that moment, twenty Jovian carriers and a mothership jumped through it. The battle began in earnest.
Hundreds of Jovian ships poured from the mighty mothership. Laser fire danced in the darkness of space, but for every Jovian cruiser that died, ten Amarr battleships burned. Garet watched as a single Jovian battleship destroyed an Amarrian Archon-class carrier, a ship that should have held fifty times the strength.
Then Idonis was on comm again. “Amarrians, hold your ground. God is with us!”
The Jovian’s realized that The Arzad, Idonis’s Imperial Armageddon-Class battleship was the flagship of the fleet, and three cruisers broke off from the body of the Jovians to deal with him. Dran’s words from earlier that day returned to Garet’s mind. The man’s wife was dead, on Idonis’s order, simply because she was of the Starkmanir tribe. He had destroyed them all, simply to take vengeance on one man.
“Move to protect the flagship.” Garet ordered. He expected his brother to object, but he did not. They were still about 16 kilometers off when vengeance came. The Jovian mothership spewed fighters like wasps from an endangered hive. In just less than a minute, an entire wing of six Armageddon-class Battleships, five prophecies, a dozen cruisers and scores of frigates and destroyers were reduced to shattered debris, floating in space. Men screamed for help into the comm, words barely intelligible through terrified sobs, then they were cut short as their hulls breached and their living bodies froze solid.
“The wrath of God has come!” Roared Idonis over the now open comm, as the massive golden hulk of an Ammarian Avatar-Class Titan, one third again as large as the the fighter-spewing Jovian Mothership, erupted from warp. Massive capital lasers sprang from it and the entire Ammarian fleet moved to assist. Garet watched his ship interface reading, as the shields of the Jovian ship slowly melted away.
Then, Without warning the entire sky erupted in a sunburst of crimson light. The Avatar had fired it’s doomsday weapon. The massive bolt of fire tore into the Mothership, it’s shields blinked, then vanished. Garet could see the deep pits cut into the armor of the ship. They were winning.
The thought had not yet reached his tongue when three more Jovian Motherships dropped out of warp, two of them supporting their wounded comrade with remote shield boosters.
Then, close behind them, it came. The sun, a mere one and a half Astronomical Units distant, glinted off its deep gray exterior as it dropped out of warp and locked the Avatar. A massive green antimatter beam erupted from it and Garet watched as in an instant, the shields and half the armor of the Avatar were sliced away. It was a Jovian Doomsday weapon. Clearly they faced the Jove version of a Titan-Size Starship.
Both the Avatar and the Erebus, the two titan classes with which Garet was familiar, could fire only a single doomsday shot every quarter of an hour. If this Jovian Behemoth had the same limitation, maybe, just maybe, the Amarrian Remote Support fleet could keep the Avatar afloat. The Amarrian Carriers and Motherships closed around their stricken comrade, massive welding lasers and shield repair beams piecing back together the Avatar’s defenses.
Two more antimatter beams erupted from the Jovian titan and a massive hole, nearly a kilometer long, was ripped in the Avatar’s hull.
“Stabilize, stabilize!” Cried Idonis to the Avatar’s pilot.
“Cannot stabilize. Falling back.” Came the stoic reply of Captain Zoriac.
“Warp to safety.” Idonis ordered, and the comm went silent as the titan began to turn, engaging its warp drive. Just as it finished accelerating and aligning to the warp target, a fourth beam spat from the Jove ship. The massive Titan accelerated for an instant more. It’s last registered speed just over 1000km per second. Then the mighty avatar split in two, turned sideways in mid-warp, and shattered like glass. Garet heard an involuntary gasp escape Idonis who had left the comm open. He frowned, then reached over and switched off his outgoing comm.
Garet looked around. What had been pitched battle thirty seconds ago had become a route. Some Amarrian ships dropped into warp, while the rest were systematically annihilated. Garet looked down at his sensors. The Arzad was halfway through armor when Garet’s readout showed that it’s warp drive was activating. No retreat order, Idonis was simply running, abandoning his fleet. He had just finished aligning when Garet heard the Arzad’s computer voice over his incoming comm. “You cannot warp because you are being warp scrambled.”
Their own ship was melting under Jovian fire. Garet gave the order. “Abandon ship! To the escape pods!” He saw a red flashing light indicating a private transmission from the Arzad. Apparently Idonis had muted his outgoing comm, wishing to speak only to Garet. He ignored the request.
According to Brutor tradition, Garet and Dran moved to flank the door of the lift as the bridge crew fled for the escape pods that had been a gift from Idonis himself. In a moment, only they remained on deck. As Garet was about to step into the lift, he glanced back at Dran’s console. The warp scramble icon was active, and he saw the symbol for passive target lock on Idonis’s battleship. His brother had warp scrambled The Arzad. The Jovians would not finish Idonis. He would. Him and his brother, and all his men. He glanced at Dran and nodded slightly. It was right and good. Suddenly the fleet comm came to life again, and Idonis was screaming.
“…You Garet, you and all you’re kind! Release my ship now!”
“Idonis, I want to hear you scream as you are burned to ashes. Justice has come for you.” It was Dran who spoke.
“Garet, this is mutiny! Control you’re crew!”
“I stand with him Idonis. For what you did to the Starkmanir, to the Jove, to my crew, to your own soldiers, I condemn you to die here, beside so many innocents whose blood is on your head!”
“Think Garet! I can get you out of here! I can give you your life, your freedom. I could make you a holder in the Empire itself!”
“What about my ten cities?” Garet’s voice dripped scorn.
Idonis’s ship would explode at any second, and Garet’s own was nearly gone.
God burn you, Garet! God burn you!” Idonis screamed and sobbed into the comm. “Gunner, shoot the Matari escape pods!” he ordered. Lasers from his battleship bit into the escape pods that were now moving away from Garet’s failing battlecruiser. Garet saw six split apart, and the name of each man that died echoed in his head.
Then it came. The hull of the Arzad breached and the reactor went critical. Idonis fell to his knees, gasping and praying. “No, God help me. I’m so scared.” There was a rumble, then a roar as the reactor on his ship exploded, and he was incinerated in instant.
It was done. Garet and Dran stepped into the lift and reached the escape bay as their own ship fell apart under Jove fire. Each went for their assigned pods, which were side by side. Garet found his destroyed by weapons fire, and it was impossible for one unit to support two men.
“See you on the other side!” Garet shouted over the roar of destruction.
Dran nodded, but then glanced towards him, realizing that Garet had no pod. “Garet, take mine. I am alone, and I have seen justice done. I am content.”
Garet nodded. “Go in peace.” He embraced his brother quickly. It was not the Matari way to deny such an offer, so he stepped into the pod and punched the button to seal it. He threw Dran a firm salute, which his brother returned. All atmosphere outside Garet’s pod vanished as he shot into space, the sound of his pod’s impulse drive engaging. He looked back. There was a flash where Dran had been standing as the tortured ship ship cracked apart, then was obliterated by a final salvo.
It was at that moment that Garet made his decision. It was time. He was going to free the Matari. He began to weep, the faces of good men now dead, flashing before his eyes.
(c) 2011 The Brothers Seim. Please do not copy this story. Please share it by referring readers this this page.
Story idea and content Gavin & Nathan Seim. Any direct references to Eve Online characters or lore is CCP Games (R).