[Fan Fiction] Jin-Mei on Alert

Hello.

After a break of five years, I have decided to return to EVE. During my first presence in EVE (roughly 2009 - 2015), I wrote a series of FanFiction stories back on the now dead german Forum EVEGER. But I want to continue writing with the same characters, although their pre-story is now lost. It would take too much time to explain everything that has happened to them in those years in detail. But I will give a glimpse every now and then, especially at the beginning, when I introduce the main characters.

So, let`s get this thing started.

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Eletta (Space Transit)

And so he left the best of all man in the worst of all places and times.

He smiled, as he closed the book after having read the last sentence. He usually did not read novels, but he did make exceptions for Minmatar authors. “Anger of Abudban” was one of these contemporary novels dealing with divisive Tribal politics under the impression of a greater danger. Published in 117, shortly before the death of Empress Jamyl, it was written in an environment riddled by the appearances of the Drifters. Now, with New Eden faced by an even greater threat, the book had suddenly come to new popularity.

He put the book back in his bag and stood up to go the few steps to the cabin window. Out there were the normal effects to be seen when in a warp tunnel. He had seen this a thousand times, just like everyone else, who was used to travel around as Pilot or Passenger. Yet it never ceased to amaze him.

But he was not able to really enjoy it today. He assumed, that many others felt the same way. The fascination of space travel always stayed the same, but rarely has space been such a frightening place to be. Sure. There have always been wars. But it was a difference, whether the enemies were other humans or, as it happened to be in the recent years, Drifters or Triglavians. Whatever they may be.

He went away from the window to a large mirror at the wall. He looked at himself in his Uniform. Yarren Matsuyama. Lieutenant Commander. Federal Navy. Not a combat-hardened Officer, but still a veteran in the administration, where he led a Department of the Logistics Division. Married. Two children. Not bad for someone, who had been a boring loner just a decade ago.

In the meantime, he had seen a few very interesting, troublesome and exciting years. Yet, the recent five years had been calm again. Until a look into the Abyss changed everything. The Federation, whole New Eden had to adapt to a situation, whose further potential development frightened most people. Now New Eden needed every single of its citizens.

Which was the cause for his travel. He needed to see an old friend. And convince her to let her academic life behind her for the time being and go to space again. On the one hand he was looking forward to see her again. On the other hand he did not want to push her. But he had to.

He looked out of the window again and saw, that the ship had come to a halt close to a Stargate. Two jumps left to his old Alma Mater.

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Clellinon

„Insa? Would you take a look at this?“

„What is it?“

„This sample here. I mean, there is this large culture here and a smaller one over there. But this tiny cluster here…“

EVE1

„I am not sure, whether this actually qualifies as Cluster.“

„My thoughts exactly, but I am not sure. Your opinion? Top or Flop?“

„Flop, I`d say.“

„So be it.“

Insa Terink went back to her workplace in the laboratory and left her colleague alone. Despite them wearing protective gear, there were only two people allowed in a room, where usually four or five would easily be able to do their job. But even here, the Pandemic required restrictions. The University had rented rooms to establish more workplaces elsewhere, but they were lucky to belong to those working close to the campus.

Then the telephone rang and she picked it up.

„Lab 2. Akabashi.“

„Reception here. There is a visitor from the Navy, who wants to meet you. He said, it is important.“

„Aha. Well…“, she looked at the clock. „I`ll be there in half an hour.“

She put down the phone again and looked quizzical at her colleague.

„Someone from the Navy wants to talk to me.“

„Maybe your Ex. Greg or so? Didn`t he want to…“

„Pah.“,she answered. „Not in a hundred years. He was just another guy who was just all talk about his great future plans.“

„You surely seem to attract them, Sayuri.“

„Ach, don`t remind me. The good ones are either taken or not interested in women.“

The two young women laughed and then Sayuri Akabashi finished her final sample for today. Checking Corona Tests was not a glorious, but necessary activity. And as it seemed, they would not run out of work for the time being. When she finished the sample, she cleaned up her workspace, said goodbye to Insa and left the room.


„Yarren?“, she said, when she entered the entrance room of the University`s main building. She went to him and gave him a hug.

„This is a surprise. Why didn`t you say something? We could have met somewhere else.“

„To be frank, I am on duty.“

She raised an eyebrow. „Now I am curious. Let`s go to the Quarter.“

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Clellinon

The Quarter. Or „Otrim`s Quarter“, to be precise. A well known pub and restaurant among students and popular for decades now. Mostly because of good food, reasonable prices and a location right around the main campus. Although the catering trade had been hit hard by the Pandemic, the Quarter had a loyal customer base, despite at best half as many guests as normal were allowed in.

Sayuri and Yarren were sitting at a table. While she was just having a salad, he enjoyed some Pasta.

„…made a great exam, ready to go out there and wham!“, she let her hand hit the table. „…the Pandemic comes along and all scientific excursions get cancelled. I should be somewhere in the Republic for a dig. But Archaeology is not essential. Pfff. Essential my butt.“

Yarren listened and smiled. This was not the young girl anymore who had asked him about whether it would be a good idea to maybe go to space to see something new. That was, well, almost seven years ago. A lot had happened and she had grown up to become an independent woman. He thought for a moment. She was 26 now, twenty years younger than him. If he were younger, she would be interesting for him for different reasons. But as it was, he had the feelings of a fatherly friend toward her.

„Maybe we can help you to become more essential in the future.“

„We?“, she asked.

„The Navy wants you.“

She laughed out loud. „Me? In a Uniform? Come on, now. Don`t be silly.“

„I am dead serious. I think, it is great, that you are working here to help deal with the Pandemic. But there are larger problems out there.“

„I know.“, she said and became serious. The Triglavians. They are the talk among students and teachers alike. For more than a year now. At first, it was all hypothetical talk about what they are and how they may be like. But this year showed, how they could be, if they are hostile toward someone. People reacted differently. Anger, fear, frustration. But it was nigh impossible to ignore them.

„I am not a Combat Pilot.“, she said. „Never been. Just like you. My space life ended four years ago. My implants are gone. I am not a Capsuleer anymore. What good can I be out there?“

„As an instructor.“

„Me? I would have to learn a lot again myself first.“

„Exactly what we are planning. See, if a well-known author stands up and enters a ship again, then this may very well influence a lot of your Followers.“

„Thanks for the flowers. But I don`t think, that a bunch of bookworms is what you need out there.“

„We need anyone.“, he said and now he looked her deep in the eye.

„Is it so bad?“, she wanted to know.

„Let`s just say bad. And we need Pilots. Whether someone is more or less qualified for frontline duty, is the second question. The first one is: How do we get people to volunteer? Listen, the deal is that you sign up for duty and participate in some PR to show your support for the cause. And in exchange we encourage the Republic to let you dig whereever you want. Heck, maybe we can even convince the State.“

She leaned back in her chair. So this was it. They surely know, how they can tempt people. A free pass to Archaeological sites in all of New Eden. That was worth a thought. But, on the other hand, she would have to leave the University. Not as if that would be a problem per se. But the risk was now higher than back in the days. She bit on her lip, as always when she was unsure.

„Let me think about it.“

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Clellinon

Clellinon VII was a planet that was mostly water with only small landmasses. Many of them also rather mountainous. But every now and then, there were places suited for a city and some agriculture, although there were also many sleeping villages for the crew of the local space station or staff of the University. Sayuri had a house in one of these villages directly at the coast.

This morning she had been in the basement and brought a box with some things from her former life up into the living room. Now she was going through the remnants of those three years, that had been the most interesting of her life. When she finished school, she decided to take a year off before studying something. And so she went to space, after Yarren had encouraged her. She found friends up there. Among the miners. Navy pilots. Sisters of EVE. Customers of her own small business, who had bought ammunition or a Frigate.

She got to know Henk better. The same Cyrus Henk, the polymath academic and traveller, after which the University here got its name. When he died, she was one of the more important guests during his funeral in the Amarr Empire. When she came back, she began to travel too. Eventually she wrote books about Amarr Culture and Society. And about the EVE Gate. That also sold well.

But in 118 she had felt, that her life was going nowhere and that it was time to settle down and finish her education. And so she left everything behind to study Archaeology. Early this year she finished her studies and got her degree. And then the Pandemic came and everything was uncertain again. She volunteered to help with the Corona Tests and began to learn something about Biochemistry either. But was that really what she wanted?

Then she took something out of the box, that she has never showed to anyone. A fine wooden casket. She put it on the table and opened it. On a small velvet cushion was a golden medal. On it a hand with a dagger. The Medal of Saint Tetrimon. She let her fingers glide gently over the metal surface.

She went outside on the terrace and took a look at the sheer endless Ocean. She loved it here. But wasnt that the problem? Wasnt her life going nowhere again with nothing really interesting to do in this pandemic limbo?

After all, she did not need to be here. Back then, when she had sold all her belongings in space and with the earnings from her book sales, she was, by the standards of normal people, a rich woman. After checking the market this morning, she would be able to buy a Tech 2 Battleship cash. Without equipment, that is. The Navy probably knew that. So they did not offer her money but something she really needed. The opportunity to get around and do what she wanted to.

And all it would take was to make a deal, deliver a show and maybe play the Instructor for other pilots. She did not know, how the latter would work out, but wasnt that an offer she couldnt refuse? She looked at the medal again. It reminded her, that the world out there was also filled with dangers. She had to weigh risk versus reward.

She went back inside and sent a short mail to Yarren: “I am in.”

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Bourynes

"You are kidding me.“, she said.

„Ehm…no. Why?“, a man in the grey uniform of a Hangar Master replied.

„What is THAT?“

EVE2

„Looks like a Corvette to me. Velator-Class. Standard Rookie vessel.“

„I know what it is. But why does it look as if it is made of Aluminum or Silver? Is that a new look?“

The man rolled his eyes. Yet another Beginner who thinks, that ship design has to meet some random aesthetical standards of green wanna-be pilots. Anyway he gave her a chip card with which to enter and unlock the ship. She took it and let it disappear in one of her pockets.

The next thing she was doing was to search her room in the residential part of the station. Eventually she found a small appartment in the probably not that favorable parts of the living quarters. Suddenly she had a flashback to her first time as Beginner. This appartment looked awfully alike the one from back then. But she had been a few years younger and less demanding back then. As a younger woman she had been excited about this. Now she felt a little bit confined. It is amazing, how perceptions of things change as one establishes a specific living standard.

She went to the comm device and opened a video call with Yarren`s office.

„Sayuri. Nice to see you. Where are you?“

„Bourynes VII. University of Caille.“

„Fine. How are you feeling?“

„Ask me again in a few days. I am not going to stay here. I need to get to Dodi and do some serious shopping. After that I will look for a nice system, where I can practice.“

„Sounds good. How long will that take you?“

„Depends on how much time you grant me.“

„Look, contact me, when you have a permanent residence and where we can find you. I will send a message to my colleague from Public Relations. As of then he is your contact person. I am not sure, but you should not take more time than maybe a month for yourself. He will tell you more about when your public appearance is supposed to occur and what is happening afterward.“

„Understood. But I will stay in touch with you anyway and report my adventures.“

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Dodixie

„Hello, my lovely.“, she said, after she entered the Dock and took a look at her first new ship.

EVE3

A Tristan. A mix of decent armor and armament plus the ability to efficiently operate a few Drones cramped into a beautiful hull. What is not to like? A few years ago, when she was an absolute beginner, this had been her first ship. And during the years she had spent in space, she had never sold it, until she decided to settle down. It had not been easy to give her away, but now she owned a worthy sister ship. And just like the first one, it would bear the name Diana.

The rest of the day she went from one merchant to the next to compare prices and get some decent equipment. Back in the days, Cap Stability was the gold standard of ship fitting among those HighSec dwellers, who are also known as Carebears among the spacefaring community. She remembered a thing or two about what to install in all these slots and at the end of the day, she was considerably pleased with the result.

Way less pleasing was, when she read more about the environment she was working in now. She had left her space life behind her in early 118. Not a lot later, CONCORD had completely revamped Clone Technology and classification. Back in the days, there had been a confusing amount of different Clones. So reducing that amount to just two was a good idea. In general.

Now the Universe was populated by Alphas and Omegas. Interestingly enough, even for the rather humble existence she had back then, she would have needed an Omega. Operating a Retriever, not to mention a Hulk? Flying to the EVE Gate in a Stealth Frigate? Efficient ore processing? Not possible anymore with a beginner Clone. And most of this is rather standard behavior in HighSec.

That evening she sat in a restaurant, leaning back in her chair and looked at the people passing by outside. She understood, that CONCORD wanted to distinct between those, who are in space rather casually and those who wanted to be professionals, with the will to invest more time and money. But it also forced new pilots into the decision, which way they wanted to chose.

She pondered about her own plans. For her, space was for travelling. Period. But now she had a role to play. And an Instructor with an Alpha clone? On the other hand she was just there to teach Basics, and that should work fine. She looked back on the table and the remnants of Odettian Carp she had just eaten. Then she shook her head. No. Whatever she was going to do in the future, an Alpha would have to suffice. It was just about making the best out of her possibilities.

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Aymaerne

The incredible thing about Space Stations is not so much, that they are gigantic structures. It is the fact, how little of all that space is actually designed for human use. Sure, there are residential sections plus all the workplaces for the crew and business owners. But the largest part is occupied by Hangars plus all the technology necessary to support human life in the lethal environment called space.

Aymaerne VI is no exception from this rule. The only difference, that exists toward other stations, is that it is less busy. The Aymaerne system is one of the less important. Low population, not a lot mining operations and the only major corporation operating here is Aliastra. So, despite its high security rating, it is rather one of the numerous fly-through systems in New Eden.

Which is exactly the reason, why Sayuri picked it as temporary home. There were not a lot of people and the low traffic made sure, that she would be able to learn again some of her old skills without getting disturbed or noticed. For the next weeks she would stay here and, when she is ready, relocate to a more inhabited system and go public with her new lifestyle.

Although she was just another pilot in the infinity of space, there were still regulations. The Corporations, that operated the stations, wanted to know about everyone, who intended to stay for more than just a few days. And with the Pandemic going on, it was even more strict, since everyone staying for more than 24 hours had to register.

She sat in the office of Oune Aires, one of the low-ranking agents of Aliastra on the station, after completing the registration form.

„So, Miss Akabashi. This looks good, although we have to enter a departure date.“

„I don`t know. I will leave not later than late December, but have no exact date yet.“

„Then we pick the 15th for now. Just come back here that day and we file for an extension. Will you leave the station during that time for more than 24 hours?“

„No. I just want to travel to Villore in the next days. But will return quickly.“

„That is okay. Should it take longer, then please send me a mail, because then we have to test you again.“

„Yes, Sir.“

„Well, then we are done. Thank you for your cooperation and welcome aboard the station. I see in your papers, that you own a Frigate. Should you be interested in working as Freelancer for Aliastra, we regularly offer small jobs for Pilots. Appropriate payment included.“

„Thank you. I definitely will.“

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Villore

It was cold already in the capital. Although not unusual, there had been rather mild winters lately and having the first frost before December was something, people had not expected. Sayuri walked through the streets of a suburb and enjoyed the clear, cold air. She was able to see her breath and smiled every now and then, when she saw a hidden frozen spiderweb or similar things.

Eventually she arrived at her destination. A small house at the edge of the city with a small piece of land before the entrance and a garden behind it. She saw a young boy standing at a window. He waved with his hand as soon as he saw her and she saw him shouting something to the others in the house, before he went away. In a way, she was coming home.

„It is so good to see you. I was a bit worried, when I heard that Yarren convinced you to go to space again.“, Aiko said.

„Nah, it is fine. And incredible, how many things I suddenly remember again.“

„Anyway. Come in. Make yourself comfortable.“

After she had been welcomed, she went inside, accompanied by the two boys. She liked it here. It was like a family to her. Yarren and his wife Aiko, her two children Masao and Hiroshi. She had been surprised, when they had got a second kid, since Aiko had been close to forty already. But she had managed it pretty fine and stayed at home for a whole year, although that had meant to stay away from her work. And she knew, how important her job was for her.

This was a very Federal family. She did not know anything about their early lives. Yarren came from a considerably wealthy family on Lirsautton, but had chosen to work for the FDU before he switched to the Navy. There must have been some interesting events about that, but he did not talk about it. Except a few teasers every now and then. Aiko, on the other hand, was, just like herself, from the Jing Ko Caste and had worked herself up the ladder. Her job at the FIO was something she was proud about. But not as proud as about her two children, that were 9 and 4 now.

When they sat down, they talked a lot about work and family and what they had done recently. There was time to play with the boys and have dinner together. Eventually, when the adults were alone in the evening, the talk evolved around more serious things.

„I have to admit, that I don`t really like the idea of you being out there again. The times are more dangerous than ever before.“, Aiko said.

„But it is necessary.“, Yarren noted.

„I bet, there are enough other people, that you can use for your recruitment program.“

„Not too many, that are actually willing to participate. Plus she has been in space before already.“

„Thank you for your worries, Aiko. But I am fine out there. And I don`t intend to go to NullSec.“, Sayuri meant. „Yet I am thinking about all the people, who sign up for duty. What is expecting them?“

„Dont worry. We wont use them as immediate cannonfodder. At least I think so.“, Yarren replied.

„Hm? I thought, you need pilots to deal with the Triglavians?“

„Not only them.“, Aiko explained. „See, we and the other three large Empires all have the same problem. There are too many issues to handle with the resources we have got. And the Triglavians just made the whole situation worse. All these new pilots are needed to keep a reasonable level of order within the core systems.“

„Explain.“, Sayuri asked.

„Okay. Imagine, you are the President. Then you have got all the systems of the Federation to take care of. In a perfect world, CONCORD will police space and everything is fine. But we don`t live in a perfect world. Not all your citizens are angels and there is crime to observe and punish. On the one hand, umpteen individual Pilots who want to make a quick profit. And there are the large criminal organizations, especially Serpentis and Angel Cartel, who try to undermine the foundation of society with their business. So you need pilots to cooperate with our Agents to clean systems of minor threats and pilots for the Navy for larger operations against the Cartels.

And you are surrounded by other empires. And border disputes, especially with the Caldari State. So you need a lot of Pilots for the Militia. Then there is NullSec. A breeding ground for all sorts of human misfits. A lot of them come to HighSec to harass shipping routes or mining operations. And as if that is not enough, you also have to manage the Rogue Drones, the Drifters and now the Triglavians. And these factors interact with each other and create synergy effects. The appearance of the Triglavians, for example, has led to a surge in Pirate activities, especially by the Angel Cartel.“

„In short. We have no reserves anymore.“, Yarren added. „The blanket is too small, metaphorically speaking. We need a massive amount of new pilots to deal with everything. All the new people we hope that sign up will be needed to fill gaps, to do smaller and less dangerous jobs in the core systems or take the place of more experienced pilots, who in turn can be sent to the frontline. And maybe we can even create something like a reserve to replace losses with.“

„I did not know, that things were so serious.“, Sayuri said.

„At first, the Empires agreed to let AEGIS deal with the recruitment and finance all of that with increased taxes. But the people of the Empires do not identify with CONCORD a lot. So we begin recruiting ourselves, so we get pilots for the Navy and, subsequently, EDENCOM too.“

Sayuri had listened to all of this and had become more thoughtful by the minute. She has been spending a lot of time at the University and did not invest too much time to keep up with the recent events. Although there were things, that even she had not ignored.

„Say, does anyone know, what is happening in…Pochven?“, she asked.

„If I knew that, my next promotion would be secure.“, Aiko said with a smile. „I am not an important figure in the FIO, so they don`t tell me everything. But I will say this. The invasion was flawless. Scouting of systems, recruitment of local Pilots, probing attacks for intelligence and then the invasion in the border regions of the Core Empires. Add to that the division among the Empires and all kinds of Criminals or other individuals willing to fight for the Triglavians or take advantage of the chaos they create. Our weaknesses are their strength and they are very good to put that to use.“

„But we were able to contain the Invasion.“

„I am not sure…“, Yarren said. „…whether we stopped them or they just decided to take a break.“

For a while, it was silent. All three had thoughts about what would happen, if the Triglavians would start a second wave tomorrow. And what the chances would be, that mankind would earn a victory on the battlefield and defend its freedom.

„Anyway.“, Yarren broke the silence. „It is good to have you back. But be careful.“

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Aymaerne

She let the board camera look into a specific direction, where she expected any second…

EVE

“Wow.”, she said. “Larger than I thought.”

She had jumped to a position she had got from the Aliastra Agent, since they needed someone to investigate the situation. What she found was some sort of Subspace Transmitter, guarded by five small Frigates. She had thought about activating her two Hybrid Turrets, but then she thought about something an instructor had said to her some years ago: Why waste money on ammunition, if the Drones and Armor Repair Systems can do all the work?

And so it happened. Fortunately she had invested some time in her Drone Management, hence the four Hornet-Class Drones had no problem to deal with the enemies. One after another was taken out, resulting in an explosion, which was way more than the small ship size would have suggested.

Eventually she let her Drones destroy the Transmitter, before she looted the wrecks, packed her belongings and returned to the base.


Back on the station, on the way to the Agent`s office, she was thinking about what Aiko had said. She was right. HighSec was filled to the brim with random criminal subjects. Like these people from yet another insignificant self-proclaimed terrorist organisation she had defeated. Terrorism! Ha! How these nobodies are supposed to strike terror into the hearts and minds of the people was beyond her.

But maybe that was the point. In HighSec was the Navy, CONCORD and lots of individual pilots. It was nigh impossible to get a criminal start-up going and stay alive for a decent time. Yet a lot of people tried. And it took lawful pilots to weed out these tiny attempts at illegal networking.

She stopped at a shop and bought a snack. Then she walked toward one of the windows of the promenade deck and looked into the infinite darkness. Infinity. Easy to say. But when one realized, that there may be a hundred illegal operations going on within an AU around this station, not to mention the whole system, she suddenly understood the urgency of this whole recruitment program.


“So, did everything proceed smoothly?”

“Yes, Madam. Five Frigates and the Transmitter are down.”

“Very good. The Corporation will be pleased with you. Again.”

Veraneque Ysel, a woman roughly her own age, gave her a smile that made her even more sympathetic than before. This was not the first contract she had signed with her and so far she had fulfilled all of them to a T. As all Corporations, Aliastra had a score system, with which to measure the reliability, respectively friendliness of a given Pilot. She imagined, that she had gained a few points during the recent days.

“You know, these small pirate operations are not dangerous per se. But even small pricks may hurt. That group of so-called terrorists had established the Transmitter in order to spy on the local communication. We must not allow that to happen, since that would threaten our business operations here.”

“Makes one wonder, where they got the money from to establish such a structure. Their ships did not look, as if they had money to spare.”

“This is a great question. Maybe the Caldari. Maybe another Corporation. Maybe a major Pirate Cartel. Anyhow, these people tried to make a quick buck by gaining and probably selling information. Well, no more. Thank you for your cooperation and keep up the good work.”

1 Like

Aymaerne

“Pawn E4.”

“I would not do that, if I were you.”

“It is the first move!!”

“I just don`t want you to make a losing move.”

“Pffff. You don`t scare me for a moment, Mister.”

“E5 then.”

Sayuri leaned back in her seat and moved the pieces on the board, as she and Derek began a match of chess. Derek Kemps had become something of a friend as soon as she had appeared in her Venture at the station. There are only a few pilots in the system, even less so who engage in mining. And so the local emissary of Astral Mining got to know everyone involved in this business rather quickly.

“Be right back.”, she said and stood up to go and get a tea. She went to the kitchen and boiled some water. While she was there, she went to the refrigerator and got a prepared sandwich out. When she was ready, she took her things and went back to the cockpit.

As she took seat again, she looked around. All ships still had a cockpit, a place from where to operate the ship systems. And she was grateful for that, since she hated to be stuck in the capsule. Sometimes she used it, but abstained from that whenever it was possible. And mining ships and their pilots were notorious for that.

Instead, mining ships were, besides their obvious function, also some kind of second home for the pilots and the usually small crews. Mining was an important, but also dull activity. Most people transformed as much space as possible in their ships into living quarters, kitchens, even small libraries. Anything, that made the long and tranquil stays in space more hospitable and pleasant.

Many combat pilots looked at such behavior with a mix of bewilderment and disgust. It was inevitable. Although everyone lived in the same Universe, Combat Pilots and Miners operated in different worlds. While the former had to constantly observe their systems and sensors, the latter only checked the monitors, when it was about market informations. Thinking about it, she took a look at the mineral market.

EVE

She had returned at a favorable moment. Market prices of minerals were considerably high. A good time to be Miner or Manufacturer. Of course high price levels also resulted in bad mood for customers. Which did not help to gain miners any more sympathy from combat capsuleers.

The debate was probably as old as spacefaring itself. Who did the “real” work? Combat pilots said, that they keep space safe and create an environment the Miners can operate in to get rich. In short, they accused miners of being lazy and greedy pricks. The Miners argued, that without them there would be no shiny ships to fly in, and that all sorts of combat pilots just want everything for free and respect for nothing. In short, they accused them of being egocentric, murderous morons.

And then there were the so-called Gankers. Criminals specialized on harassing miners in HighSec. They were a constant reason for debate. Although the amount of debate was inversely proportional to the Gankers` importance. No matter what they did, the economy hardly shrugged at it.

Sayuri yawned a bit. There was a lot of drama. But, as mostly, this drama was just created to deal with individual boredom. At the end of the day, everything was pretty normal and calm out here. She leaned over to a console and focused the mining laser on a different asteroid. Then she looked at the chess board again and thought about her next move.

Another lovely day in the belts.

EVE2

1 Like

Aymaerne

She looked into this mix of blurry, swirling and flurry mass. This will never get old, she thought to herself. The Universe was full of wonders, and this belonged to the larger ones.

EVE

Her Frigate was directly next to an instable Wormhole. Hard to say, whether someone used it, since it appeared in the system. But if so, she was a bit envious. Because although she was in arm length to the phenomenon, she would never make the last step and actually enter it.

Which was a bit crazy, for she deemed these anomalies to be fascinating. Wormholes connected the space within these anomalies with random systems in New Eden. HighSec today. NullSec tomorrow. And maybe that was the point that kept her from entering one of them. The possibility to get lost.

She checked the systems. The anomaly had appeared recently and she had boarded her scan frigate to investigate. She had always liked scanning. Nowadays, doing it was easy. Maybe a bit too easy, but technological progress may very well diminish the thrill of the early days, when pinpointing anomalies was hard work.

There were lots of anomalies out there. Or at least locations that get classified as anomalies. The truth was, that scan technology was so advanced by now, that every larger artificial structure would get noticed sooner or later. And so, most of these anomalies were active or abandoned tiny outposts, usually established by small or large criminal organizations to operate their business, from smuggling to drug trafficking.

Not this one. Her systems told her, that it got classified as JFF 487. She was not able to find any reliable information about it. So another wormhole that would remain untouched by her. For the most important thing was to stay alive and not wake up in a Clone. So far, it had worked, although there were some close calls. Like two days go.

She smiled. The “Cyrus II” had its name, because the first vessel bearing that name was now a piece of deformed metal in the infinity of space. When she boarded spaceships again, she realized, that she remembered a lot. But also, that she had forgotten some things. For example, that data nodes were, more often than never, linked to a self-destruction device, that got triggered after a failed hacking attempt. The result was a huge explosion. Fortunately she had been in her capsule.

It was a reminder, that it was a good idea to always be on alert in space and perform one`s duties well. She looked back at the wormhole. Then she thought about her own duties. Her time in Aymaerne was about to come to an end. She had got herself into proper shape again. There was still something to learn, but it did not make sense to hide here anymore.

She opened a communication channel to the station and a bit later she heard the voice of Veraneque Ysel.

“Miss Akabashi?”

“Yes. Hello. It is about my residence registration. I will not extend it beyond the 15th and I thought it would be good to inform you.”

“Thank you for calling me. Although I have to admit that I regret to lose you. You were a good addition to the pilot comunity here.”

“I appreciate that, but I need to leave.”

“I understand. Please come to my office these days and we will get the paperwork done.”

She said goodbye and ended the call. It was time to find a new home. Or, to be precise, to move to an old home.

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Jel

EVE

“Six Navy, this is Mule Train. Request permission to dock.”

“This is Six Navy. You have permission to dock, Mule Train. Proceed to Hangar C-11. I repeat, proceed to Charlie One One.”

“This is Mule Train. Charlie One One confirmed, Navy Six.”

A bit later, Sayuri and her Industrial with a few thousand cubic meters of Minerals aboard had docked at the station. She was happy, that this was over. To get her things from Aymaerne to Jel had been a bit tedious, but now her belongings were at one place again.

Jel. For almost two years this has been her workplace and, up to a point, also her home. She had a small mining operation going on and produced light ships. It had been an interesting experience. And when she walked through the corridors to this or that deck, it was almost, as if she had never been gone. Almost.

She recalled some shops, she had visited frequently. Her favorite Minmatari Restaurant was still there. Other places had changed, disappeared, were empty. Then she came to the place, where her own company had its office. Now there was a large show window of a random fashion outlet. She looked through the window. It was not her style, but there were some customers inside and the business seemed to run well.

Suddenly she felt very nostalgic about this place and she wondered, what would have happened, if she had not left and continued with what she had been doing. Of course a silly thought. She had been busy, but not really happy. Back then, it was a good decision to leave. But she had left friends behind. Maybe somebody was still there. She decided to investigate a bit during the next days.

She turned around again and left the place. She had other things to do. There had been a reason, why she had picked Jel as her base back in the days. It is a busy system. A decent amount of miners. Several large corporations were operating here. A lot of industrial and research resources. Just a jump away began LowSec with Heimatar being just another jump further. And there was the Navy.

The Navy. This weekend she had an appointment and then the show would begin. Sayuri Akabashi. The student. The author. The instructor. The soldier. She smiled, as she entered a lift. The game was afoot.

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Jel

He sat at his desk and took a deep breath. It was weekend and usually he would have had a day off today. But then came an order to get into his office for an appointment. Not a drama, really. But when he learned about the purpose of the meeting, he felt a bit annoyed. He stood up and went to a window.

The window was not large, but one was able to see the people passing by doing some shopping on the Deck. This was a good place for an Office, since this was one of the better Decks, designed to attract as many people as possible with the services and businesses around. A perfect location for a recruitment office.

He turned around and looked at the sign on his desk. Senior Chief Esoutte. He and some Comrades were running this office. On the one hand, they were responsible for recruiting new people for the Navy, and the Navy always needed men and women to join the ranks. On the other hand they were also hiring Freelance Pilots for this or that minor job.

He liked his work. After long years on ships, he had managed to get a duty aboard a station and he enjoyed the tranquility of it all. Sometimes he missed being in space a bit. But he had seen enough. Although he was known for his red hair, eventually the first grey ones had appeared. It was time to retire to a more calm position. He had surely deserved it.

Looking out of the window, he saw three people coming in his direction, two of them in Uniform. The third one, a woman in her mid twenties as he guessed, was the reason for the meeting. He did not know her, but he did not like, that she was about to get something for free. No matter how reasonable this may be, it was not to his liking.

A minute later all four sat on chairs and the other man in Uniform began the meeting.

“Well, I am happy, that we have the opportunity to meet. May I introduce? I am Lieutenant Marv Lerenesse from Public Relations at the Navy Headquarter. Over there is Senior Chief Eusschon Esoutte, Head of Recruitment here on Jel VI. This is Petty Officer Yvette Kerbin, just arrived from the Cruiser Maelstrom. And this is Sayuri Akabashi. Maybe known to the others as author.”

He looked around, but the other two obviously had no idea, who she was.

“Miss Akabashi has been chosen as one person for our new recruitment program to motivate young people to join the Navy in larger numbers as it is the case right now. Maybe you can say something about yourself?”

“Ehm…”, Sayuri began. “As the Lieutenant said, I am Sayuri Akabashi. 26 years old. After school I spent three years in space. I gained some basic knowledge about Electronics and Information Technology in that time. I was in the Empire for various reasons and visited the EVE Gate. Afterwards I wrote some books about that, before I went to University to study Archaeology. During my time in space, I had a small business on this station. Akabashi Limited, two Decks below.”

“When you were a pilot…”, Esoutte asked. “…what kind of ships did you command?”

“Nothing too large. Mostly Frigates, partially with Cloaking Device. Every now and then a Destroyer.”

“Are you an Omega?”

“Alpha. With the intent to stay that.”

“Be it as it may.”, Lieutenant Lerenesse intervened. “Miss Akabashi has a considerably large base of followers and is thus important for us as influencer. She will join the Navy and serve as Instructor for new Pilots and Crew. Her time in space is a good thing, since this adds credibility to her decision to sign up. She will announce on Social Media her new life and we will motivate the press to report about it. As of the new year, she will work here together with some other Instructors. Chief, you will serve as intermediary between her and me.”

“Aye, Sir.”

“And what is my job?”, Petty Officer Kerbin asked.

“Miss Akabashi has her own ships, so the Navy does not have to allocate some from her own resources. But despite it not being a Navy Ship, it needs some, well, Navy spirit. I want you to be the Engineer on her Frigates and train the rest of the small crew in Navy regulation and conduct.”

“Aye, Sir.”

“So, if there are no other questions, there is something to do.”

A moment later, Sayuri stood in front of the other Navy members with her right hand raised.

“I, Sayuri Akabashi, do swear, that I will support and defend the Constitution of the Federation against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the Federation and the orders of the officers appointed over me.”

Lieutenant Lerenesse smiled and shook Sayuri`s hand. “Welcome to the Navy, Ensign Akabashi.”

“Thank you, Sir. And I would ask for the favor to make a picture of me in the pose of taking the oath.”


That evening, she posted a picture of her taking the oath in front of a large Emblem of the Federation Navy on her Online Feed. Below the picture she just wrote: “Ready to do my part”.

Almost immediately the comment section exploded.

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Jel

“I was travelling to Ation to get that delivery for Chief Aurlaerdt done. But I made a detour and investigated the coordinates you gave me. You were right. There were two Serpentis Transporters with Insurgents aboard. We made some prisoners.”

“Very good. Has there been a lot or resistance?”

“More than I thought. Three Destroyers. Maybe five Frigates. Did require some maneuvering, but nothing me and Kerbin would not get managed.”

She smiled. The daily meeting with Senior Chief Esoutte had become a routine really fast. And she appreciated the input from the seasoned soldier.

“Anything else”, he asked.

“Well, we scanned that Wormhole, but I already reported that.”

“And that is important. These Wormholes are unpredictable. But one thing is sure. Whatever or whoever lives in them, is not a friend of us. At best, they are just adventurers or explorers. But maybe they are Pirates or Drones or something worse. If you detect a Wormhole, always report to HQ asap. Wasn`t there also another signature?”

“Yes. A Data Site I guess.”

“You guess?”

“The signals I recorded pointed toward a dormant data facility. But I never got a signal strength beyond 71.”

He leaned back and looked in her eyes. “You know, why that happened?”

“Because I need better equipment.”

He did not react, but just kept staring at her.

“Chief, I don`t want to have that debate every day. I am an Alpha and I will stay it and going to make the best out of it. I know, it looks weird for an Instructor. But I am going to do my best and that has to be good enough for the Navy, okay?”

“I did not say anything. But it is good, that you see the potential problems. The rest is of cause your decision, Miss.”

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Ation

Sayuri looked from the distance, as the crew began its work to unload the goods from the cargo hold. She smiled a bit, because although she was in the Navy now, there seemed to be a lot of “boring” tasks to be done. In fact, logistics was a very central topic as she had learned recently.

Just as the civil population anywhere, the Navy was a massive entity with crews, ships and stations. All these people needed to be fed, the ships needed maintenance or spare parts, the stations were centers to distribute all of that and also needed lots of items to keep operating.

And so Navy Installations often had more in common with gigantic warehouses. Food, Uniforms, Shoes, Weapons, Ammunition, Rockets, Drones, Electronic Systems, Armor Plates or even Minerals from recycled items. Each and every day an, as it seemed, infinite amount of goods was transferred between the solar systems. Every now and then she participated in this and made a delivery.

“It can be fascinating. Correct, Mam?”, Petty Officer Kerbin said as she came closer.

“Indeed. But isn`t it a bit dull for you?”

“Not at all, Mam. My first ship was the Encon, an Iteron-Class ship. Transporting things was basically everything we did. Maybe not very glorious, but nevertheless essential.”

Sayuri looked the slightly younger woman in the eye, as she tried to make a point. “Say, would it be possible to stop this Mam thing? At least when we are between you and me?”

“Negative, Mam. Code of Conduct is part of the Navy experience. In roughly a week you are beginning your own job as Instructor. Then there will be recruits, who are supposed to follow your instructions and orders. This does not work without hierarchy and obedience. And, with all due respect, you have to learn these things too before you go out and try to teach others.”

Sayuri looked a bit confused. Kerbin had looked her straight in the eye with a friendly face. Probably she was explaining the most natural thing in the world in her profession. Yet it still felt a bit strange to her. Formally addressing others, standing to attention, saluting superiors. Sure, it was not rocket science. But it made clear, that she was now in a different world. But, as the old saying goes: When in Yona, do as the Yonans do.

“Now you sound a bit like the Senior Chief.”, she said and smiled.

“Mam, the Chief may have his flaws and when he adresses an Officer as Miss, then surely not as a compliment. But he tries to get the same point across and to be respectful while also critical at the same time.”

“And I appreciate that. I am doing my best, but try to cut me some slack, when it does not always work immediately.”

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Jel

She sat on a chair with crossed legs and her arms on the armrests. Her hands felt a bit sweaty. Strange, since this was not a too unusual situation. Maybe it was not so much the reason why she was here, but the way she was dressed, that made her a bit uncomfortable. Usually she wore the „Small Blue“ uniform, designed for normal duty. But then there was also the „Big Blue“, that was worn at more official occasions. She was not used to it yet and quite frankly she did not like it that much either.

But that was not really important. She looked around. They were in a small meeting room. Large enough to hold three people and not make them feel too cramped.

„Can we begin?“, the woman in the other chair asked. Sayuri smiled and nodded. A bit besides them stood a man with a camera and he began to record what is happening.

„Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen.“, the woman said. „This is The Daily Show for The Scope and I am your host, Marga Tangier. Today we are broadcasting from the station above Jel Six, where we meet Sayuri Akabashi, author of the well-received non-fiction books No return and Divine Insight. Glad to meet you.“

„The pleasure is mine.“

„Miss Akabashi. Your last book was published in 119 and since then it had become rather calm around you. What have you been doing?“

„I decided that I finally had to begin my studies, which I had postponed for some years due to other duties.“

„You made a degree in Archaeology. How come, that you are not digging somewhere?“

„Due to the Pandemic, only digs that had already been running are allowed to continue. But the Teams there are fixed and not open for new members. It is not quite clear, when the situation will have improved enough to allow new excursions to begin. In the meantime I was working at my University.“

„This seems to have come to an end. Recently you made a few posts on your Blog, that showed you in a Navy Uniform and we meet you here on this Federal Facility. Many of your followers were wondering, what made you do this step in your life.“

„First of all, as I said, I had no responsibilities in my field of study and I wanted to do something productive. Secondly, thinking about the general situation of New Eden, I had the feeling, that it was time to give something back to society, that had allowed me my current secure life.“

„This brings us to Pochven. The newly created region, consisting of all Systems occupied by the Triglavians. What is your opinion?“

„I have to admit, that I was fascinated at first. From a scientific point of view, any contact to a yet unknown lifeform is a chance to increase our knowledge about the Universe. Unfortunately Science does not exist in a peaceful bubble untouched by reality.“

„How severe do you think is the threat posed by the Triglavians?“

„Significant. The Invasion occupied twenty-seven Systems. Their operations to alter the stars in their Systems may just be an attempt to establish living conditions similar to their own home. But it clear, that, although they seem to have the intention to not harm the local populations with it, these living conditions are not to our benefit. Besides that, their arrival has made Outlaws across the Universe more bold and they try to take advantage of the less stable situation.“

„Speaking of Outlaws. Many Pilots have chosen to support the Triglavians. Many think, that they are Traitors. Do you agree with such a sentiment?“

„Let`s say, that there have always been people, who, for whatever reason, live at the edge of human society. And if they deem it proper, again for whatever reason, to pick a side, then that is their prerogative. But one has to keep in mind, that decisions have consequences. And at the current point of time, when the Triglavian stance toward the human race per se is still unclear, it is completely irresponsible to make such a decision. The Big Four, with all their vast differences, always had the common ground of being human and there are lines that should not get crossed. Such an understanding or agreement does not exist yet with the Triglavians.“

„It sounds, as if you have no hard feelings toward them.“

„The Triglavians, their society and their intentions are, as the saying goes, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But what I do know is, that it is the time to stand up for our society and values. War is nothing new in New Eden. A threat to us as humans is. Hard feelings or hate will not help us. Determination will.“

„So your message to the people is to sign up too?“

„I think my message is to stay calm and support your government in any way you can. Without any doubt the Navy needs the support of the citizens more than ever. But let there be no doubt about it. It is a dangerous task one is signing up for and one should only do it, if one is willing to accept the risk.“

„You are here on Jel Six as future Instructor. How did you come to this appointment, considering that you just joined the Federal Service?“

„I have been Pilot for three years already, before I began my studies, so personal experience was surely a factor in this. Plus it is expected, that the training capacities have to get increased to deal with larger recruitment numbers. Additional instructors for basic training are needed, hence even new personnel may qualify for this. Jel is a completely new location for recruit training and I am pleased to be part of this project.“

„So a call to all citizens to maybe make a choice in life. This was Marga Tangier with Sayuri Akabashi, who will instruct new recruits as of 4th January. Thank you for watching and good night.“

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Jel

One had prepared one of the smaller Hangars for this event. Not the best location, but one needed the space, so a lot of people were able to gather at the same place. There was a small podium with a microphone and some quickly erected walls and elements, so it would not echo too much.

It worked considerably well, when the room was filled with roughly three hundred people who, despite keeping a minimum distance to one another, still talked about this and that. The noise level was impressive, but not intolerable. At least Sayuri saw it like that, when she was standing on the podium together with other Officers and monitored the situation.

Not as if she was nervous, that would probably come at a later point of time. Right now she was rather excited about what was going on. These three hundred young people had signed up for the Navy and would begin their basic training now. When she looked into their faces, she saw excitement, insecurity, joy or tension in their eyes. They all had decided to start a new story in their lifes and now they were looking forward, probably with mixed feelings, to what was coming their way.

„ATTENTION!“, an Officer said into the microphone and it became quiet, as another Officer entered the room and headed for the podium. She had not met him before, but heard quite a bit already. Not necessarily an impressive person. Medium height, not athletic but lean, brown hair with some grey parts. Eventually some blue eyes, that seemed to be both warm and cold at the same time. It were these blue eyes, that told people, that this man had a long and eventful career already.

„Stand easy.“, he said and the young people relaxed again. „I am Captain Vanbilt. I am the Commanding Officer of this station and also yours for the time of your basic training. I will not be involved in your training schedule, but the first thing to know is, that when you adress a superior Officer, the last word has to be Sir or Mam. Do you understand?“

„YES, SIR!“

„Fine.“, he said with a smile. „You all have volunteered to serve your country and your society. This deserves respect and even those, who will not pass basic training, should not feel ashamed about it. It is the intention that counts and even if your performance should not qualify, your character already does. All others, who will enter service in the Navy, will not necessarily do so aboard a ship. Only a tiny number will become Pilots. But keep in mind, that there are no more or less important duties here. The Navy works as a Team and it can only do so, if ALL tasks are performed as good as possible. In the next days you are faced with a series of tests to evaluate your physical, intellectual and mental abilities, so we can determine whether you are fit for duty and what branch of the Navy you will serve in.“

Sayuri listened to the speech. The Captain began to introduce all the Instructors. Sports, Drill, Engineering, Weapon Exercises. Eventually she heard her own name.

„Ensign Akabashi. Piloting, Electronics and Science.“

She was tempted to smile and wave at the recruits, but it was expected, that she was standing still and look streight forward. So she did. A small group of recruits, not necessarily all future Pilots, would now be „her“ group. This week would show, how many of them would belong to her. She had a say, who would pass tests and how well they would serve in the future. Now that she thought about it, she began to feel a bit nervous.

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Jel

„Attention!“

Slowly Sayuri got accustomed to the fact, that someone was shouting and everyone rising from their seats, when she entered a room.

„Take seat.“, she said, as she walked to one end of the room. She saw six young people sitting in front of her. Just six out of all applicants were picked for Pilot training. Initially there was a seventh, but during the test in a Capsule here aboard the station, he got panic and had to get taken out of it. That was not even uncommon. Not everyone was made to be a Capsuleer. But nobody was allowed to become a Pilot, if one can not stand the confined space inside a Capsule.

Six young people. For some odd reason four women and two men. Women were still underrepresented among Pilots, so she felt quite happy to see some of them here. These six were now at the beginning of a long way. There were not a lot of Pilots compared to everyone serving in the Navy. Hence why they were deemed the elite. This basic training was just the first step. They would learn how to handle a ship. If they passed these tests, they would proceed to an Officer School and learn how to handle a crew and everything else, that proper Leadership demanded from an individual. Statistically speaking, only four of them would actually become Pilots.

She took a piece of paper.

„Amanda Bynx?“

„Here.“

„Louden Ithvan?“

„Here.“

„Helin Praven?“

„Yes.“

„Lora Dryden?“

„Here.“

„Greg Wynthton?“

„Yes.“

„Ida Reddinq?“

„Present.“

„Fine. Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to Pilot Training. I am Ensign Akabashi, your Instructor. I could hold a short speech about what is waiting for you in the next weeks, but I guess it is better to actually show you. So, follow me.“

„Where to, Mam?“, Lora asked.

„The Hangars.“

A short while later they stood in a Hangar and looked at a group of small Corvettes and a Frigate.

„So. These six vessels are Velator-Class Corvettes and the one over there a Tristan-Class Frigate, my ship. Each one of you will board one of the Corvettes. After that, you will painstakingly follow my instructions for the undocking procedure, so we don`t make a scratch into the ships or the station. Understood?“

„Yes, Mam!“

It took some time, but eventually everyone had managed to get their ship moving. More often than never, the first undocking is made in a simulator, but she had decided to skip that, since real life is still different from even the best simulation. Now the seven vessels hovered in space close to the station.

„Well, so far so good.“, Sayuri noted. „For the rest of our time in space, everyone gets a Callsign. I am Dohgouse, while you are Dog One through Six. I want you to look at the HUD. You will see a list of Jumpgates. I want you to select the Gate to Ation and then order your ship to align to it.“

It worked better than expected. There were just few questions and the six Corvettes eventually all headed at full speed in the direction the Stargate was located.

„You will all notice, that space is incredibly large. Even if I would activate my Afterburner, it would take a full day to reach the Jumpgate. And we are just talking about a bit more than fifty thousand kilometers. If the Jumpgate would be on the other side of the system, I would not make it alive. So always be grateful for the Warp Drive. Dog One?“

„Yes, Mam?“

„Order your ship to jump within fifty kilometers of the Gate. Do not, I repeat, do not activate the gate.“

„Yes, Mam.“

Sayuri monitored the Velator and suddenly she noticed the usual stutter of the vessel, before it disappeared. A few seconds later she heard a voice in her headset.

„DAMMIT, THAT WAS AWESOME!“

„Roger, Dog One.“, Sayuri said and smiled. She had reacted the same way some years ago.

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