Jin Mei leaving home

08.12.123 – Lirsautton III



„Then let`s go.“

The two young women took a deep breath, before they entered the building. They were not alone and followed small groups of other people to their destination. A large hall within the building, where the people stood in line in front of some desks. They did enqueue in one of them and waited, as the line slowly moved forward. Eventually her friend was at the front.

„Family Name and First Name?“, the man at the desk asked.

„Watanabe. Hana.“

„Date of birth?“

She looked around, as her friend registered. This was one of the places on the planet, where young people were able to sign up for the so-called Volunteer Year. Young people in the Federation, and the Jin Mei were no exception to that, were expected to grow up to become productive members of society quickly. They enjoyed Freedom. But that also meant, that they were responsible for their own fate.

But the Government had realized, that at the end of intermediate education, young people were not necessarily ready to decide, in which direction their life should develop. And that it was maybe useful to give them the opportunity to „test“ their career choice. And so the Volunteer Year was born. For one year, they would work as some kind of intern in any kind of profession.

Corporations, big and small, had welcomed this initiative. Getting rid of a disillusioned intern was easier and cheaper than actually train an employee, who realized to dislike his career choice and was bad at what he was doing.

„Next………NEXT!“, the man said. She made two steps forward.

„Family Name and First Name?“

„Kobayashi. Daiko.“

„Date of Birth?“

„13th March 103.“

„Desired occupation?“

„Federation Navy. Pilot.“

For the first time, the man looked up and into her eyes. „That`s a good choice. It is not for everyone, but the Federation needs men and women willing to serve for society.“, he said and began to check something on his screen. „There are still enough spots left. You will have to report today in a week at the Federation Navy Academy at Couster II. Good luck.“

„Thank you.“

A few minutes later, Daiko and Hana stood outside again and looked at her documents, they had received via Mail already.

„Did you make it?“, Hana asked.

„Yes. Next week at the Academy. And you?“

„Center for Advanced Studies. Information Technology.“

The two smiled at each other. They had really got what they wanted. They hugged each other with a smile on their faces. Today in a week, their new lives would begin.


15.12.123 – Couster II

It is amazing, how fast a week goes by, when one is busy. Daiko had been packing her things, say goodbye to her friends and eventually departing from home, where her mother tried to be brave about her daughter going away. But at the end, they both had been crying. For good reasons. Although spaceflight was normal for some people, she had never left Lirsautton besides a short excursion with her school two years ago.

Now she had to take a ferry and make a total of seven jumps to get to Couster. Admittedly she had been blown away and felt even slightly overwhelmed, when she arrived at the station. Fortunately she and a small group of others had already been expected. Someone from the Navy had welcomed them, shown them their accomodations, issued a station plan and a schedule for the day.

Now they were sitting in a considerably large room with lots of chairs. They needed just a few of them. Respectively none, since they all stood along the windows. They had a view on a docking hangar with lots of small ships. But in the distance they could see larger ships pass by. This was really a completely different world.

„Attention! Please take seat!“, a female voice from behind said. Daiko and the others did as they were told. Before them stood a still considerably young woman in uniform. The tall appearance immediately gave away, that she was Gallente. Interesting was her lipstick in Navy blue.

„I am Navy Staff Sergeant Facent. I will be one of your instructors and during the next days I will guide you through the first courses. At least those of you, who survive this day. The Federation Navy is a large institution. We need people from all walks of life for a wide variety of duties. You chose to try to become a pilot. Not everyone qualifies. Becoming a capsuleer means to give up something of your identity. Or add something to it, depending on the point of view. Anyway. This afternoon at 15 hours all of you will go through the first test, whether you are capable to handle the systems of a capsule. Those who are not, are still welcome to the Navy, just with a different occupation. Questions? None? Then you are dismissed until the afternoon.“

The Sergeant left the room. The others looked at each other quizzically. They just realized two things. One: They entered a military institution, where the formalities were completely different from normal life. Two: There was the chance, that their adventure may come to a sudden end.

„Are you okay?“, she heard the voice of the Sergeant via the comm system.

„Yes.“, she said, although that was not necessarily true. She did not feel bad. But extremely excited. Overwhelmed. The Capsule was strange. Fascinating. She was not a Capsuleer yet, since that is a long process. Interns like her got connected with a less invasive, but also less efficient way to the Capsule systems. But as soon as the connection was there, her brain got flooded with new input and it seemed, as if she could “feel” the Capsule.

Eventually she became calmer and was open for the explanations of the Sergeant, who directed her through the displays. Then she was supposed to set a course to a point a few Astronomic Units away from the station. A few moments later the Capsule made a 180 degree turn and went into warp.


“Daiko? Are you fine?”

“THIS IS AWESOME!!!”, Daiko heard herself screaming in excitement. The Sergeant looked to the right, where another Sergeant was monitoring the displays and slowly shook his head with a broad grin on his face. Apparently someone had just passed the test.


16.12.123 - Couster II (Federation Navy Academy)

A different and smaller briefing room. Daiko looked around. Three people were missing. According to rumors, they had to get out of the Capsule before making their first short voyage. There were still roughly a dozen left. But the faces of the remaining people reflected the joy of still being here, the marvel of yesterday`s experience and the insight, that there was a long and rocky road ahead of them.

“Attention!”. Everyone stood up, as Navy Staff Sergeant Facent entered the room.

“Take seat. Ladies and Gentlemen, with the passing of yesterday`s test, you are hereby approved for our pilot recruitment program. As of now, your rank is Navy Volunteer Cadet. Should you reach the end of the program and still be willing to sign up for the Navy, then you will enter Federation Service as Officers and I will have to salute you.”

Some calm giggling was to be heard.

"But before that, you have a lot to learn and to prove yourself. Me and four other instructors will teach you the basics of what it is like to be a pilot. You will learn skills for different duties, internalize military protocol and get in touch with the different departments of the Federation Navy.

I am going to assume, that some of you are here, because you imagine some heroic stories of space combat with you as protagonist. Please forget that immediately. Although the fighting Navy is an important part, it is by far not the largest. In my course we are going to the basics of spaceflight, and that is production.

During the next days, you are going to be occupied with rocks, metals and production chains. Some of you will love it. Many of you will hate it. I promise, that basically nobody of you will have a so-so opinion about it. But let there be no confusion. What you are going to learn the next days, is the most important part of everything you see here.

The Navy has an incredible demand for ressources. Needed for Ships, for Stations, for spare parts, for maintenance. Although a lot of this demand gets met via the free market, the Navy has an own department for ressource gathering and production. That is so in order to be at least partially independent from private contractors. Also to have its own expertise in these fields.

So. You will dive in this maybe not glorious, but vital part of our duties. There will be several small tasks and exams and I expect, that everyone here pays full attention and does the best job possible. A schedule was uploaded to your system. Questions? Dismissed.“


19.12.123 - Couster II

„Let`s see, what we have got.“, Sergeant Facent said while going through a list. „Two Civilian Afterburner, twenty Cap Booster 25, one Civilian Shuttle and one Navitas. Looks good, you finished all production exams.“

„Thank you, Mam.“, Daiko replied and felt a bit of relief. The course had come to an end and every Cadet had an evaluation meeting with the Sergeant in her office. She had been a bit nervous about it, but the Sergeant seemed to be satisfied and so she felt more easy now.

„How much Ore did you extract?“

„Wait…“, Daiko meant and checked her data. „A total of 18.220 cubic meters, Mam.“

Facent slowly nodded with her head as she looked at the younger woman. She actually did it. A lot of Cadets, being bored by the rather unspectacular assignments, simply bought ressources or even the required items somewhere and pretended to have extracted or produced them on their own. „What were your impressions during the recent days?“

„Well. I think it was nice to be out in space without actually happening a lot. I feel better with the ship controls now. But I would not have thought, that there would be Drones or Ships coming to attack me while pointing Lasers at some asteroids.“

„That is an important lesson. Those without guns may very well get gunned down too. This system here is a safe haven. But out there your ship, any ship, may be an interesting target for a multitude of people. People who want to hurt the Federation. People who do that as some sort of sport. So whatever you do and whereever you are, always stay attentive to your surroundings.“

„Fortunately the enemies here were not very strong.“

„That is so because we put them there.“

Daiko had to think for a few seconds before she reacted. „You mean, those Drones were fake?“

„Yes. Absolutely.“

„And that former Production Assistant of yours that went Rogue?“

„A colleague from the Navy who volunteered to play a role. He is alive and well on Deck 18.“

„Wow.“, Daiko said with a sincere amount of shock and disbelief.

„Do not be disappointed. These exercises were necessary to make you think about all the people who are out there to get you. Of course we don`t expose you to a serious threat on your first days. By the way. You did a good job. We scan the ships of our Cadets. You equipped your Mining Frigate with two Drones and a Shield Booster and independently learned the skills to use these items. Well done.“

„That was because you told me, that there would be enemies out there.“

„Truth be told. There are always enemies out there. As of now get used to not undock with a ship, that can`t fight for itself or escape when it wants to. You will need to learn more to equip your ships accordingly. But I promise that in a few months all of this will be completely natural to you. Anyhow. If you enjoyed this course, maybe you will think about a career in the production department. We always need good people.“

The Sergeant stood up and so did Daiko.

„Good luck with your future efforts, Cadet.“, Facent said while shaking hands.

„Thanks, Mam.“


22.12.123 - Couster II-1

Daiko sat in a chair and looked at Navy Sergeant Bruelle. During the last days she had seen her a few times and she did not cease to fascinate and confuse her. The Seargeant was not that much older than herself, but at first she was not sure whether she was a woman in the first place, since her bald head gave her an androgynous appearance.

Anyway, she proved to be a calm and competent person. Maybe a bit too calm. Her way to explain things with a relaxed, but also a bit monotonous voice was not to Daiko`s liking. Maybe that was a sign of professionalism. But maybe of a lack of emotions. If the latter, she blamed the working environment.

The Acquisition and Logistics Department was the second stage of her basic training and she perceived it as sheer boring hell. In the last days she had bought numerous items and shipped them from A to B, which had been about as exciting as falling into a coma. She was happy, that it was over. She imagined, that the only way to fail the course was to actually fall asleep in the capsule and crash the ship into a station or gate.

Eventually the Sergeant was done with writing her report and turned to Daiko.

„So. I think we are done here. What can I say? You finished all tasks without mistake. Wasn`t that fun?“

Daiko could feel, how her eyes got a bit larger, although she tried to prevent it. Fun? She has had more fun at the dentist.

„To be quite honest, Mam, no, it was not really my cup of tea.“

„I would have been surprised, if it had been otherwise.“, the Sergeant said and smiled. „I can understand, that what we are doing here is not exciting and adventurous and surely not, what young people dream about. The next course in the program will be about exploration. I guess, you will find that more interesting. But please keep in mind, that the work of this Department is necessary and important. All the things, that get produced in the Factories everywhere, have to reach the troops. No matter whether directly at the frontline or in maintenance yards. And, should you decide to not stay in the Navy, remind yourself that not a few merchants make a fortune by transporting goods from one station to another.“

Daiko thought about that and remembered, that she had seen a commercial freighter in Dodixie two days ago. Next to her Corvette that vessel looked like a giant and she had wondered, how many tons of products one was able to transport with it. But the idea, to do that for a living, was not really attractive.

„Do you have any further questions?“, the Sergeant asked.

„No, Mam.“

„Then thank you for your attention and good luck out there, Cadet.“


25.12.123 – Couster II-1

The recent days had been interesting. She had seen staged examples of different anomalies, that one may encounter when exploring the depths of space. Although these tests were most probably easier than what would happen in real life, they gave her a first impression of what it is like to search the needle in a haystack, as the saying goes.

Navy First Lieutenant Vacoloure had been a good instructor. The young woman with the incredible red hair and the soft voice had explained everything in detail, but also had a lot of anecdotes to tell, so things were very relaxed. Now they sat together and the Lieutenant went through the results of the tests.

„All in all, I am pretty pleased, Cadet. I think there is some room for improvement when it comes to efficiently managing the scan drones. But you got a good grip of the mechanics and, what is more important, I think you like it.“

„I do, Mam. I do not want to sound silly. But I am not sure, what is more fascinating. The sheer infinite space. Or the ability to find some tiny objects in it. I do wonder, what one may find out there.“

„That is a good attitude to have. Because space is and always will be fascinating. Of course a lot of your job will be to find remote pirate bases and the occasional asteroid with ressources for our Production Department. But you will also stumble over abandoned old structures. And with old I mean maybe even from the early stages of spaceflight shortly after or even before the time, that the Eve Gate closed. Archaeologists will be grateful for everything you find out there. So always be curious. Although you may have it harder than others.“

„You mean because of my Clone?“

„Yes. You are not a Capsuleer yet and even if so, you would begin as Alpha. That means, that more advanced technologies will not be accessible for you. But I tell you something. If you spend time to maximize the knowledge available to you and invest some money on proper equipment, then your Imicus will be a reliable workhorse.“

„I will do that, Mam.“, Daiko said and the two women smiled at each other. „See, Mam, I think I would really like to join the Navy and, if it is not too early, express interest to be a part of the Recon Department.“

„That is good to hear. But actually it IS a bit early. First you have to finish the basic training, then prove yourself in the rest of the year. If you sign up at the end of the year, then it is time to decide about your affiliation. Should you still be interested, then I will gladly support your application.“

„Thanks, Mam.“

„No problem.“, the Lieutenant said. She raised from her seat to shake hands with Daiko. „Good luck, Cadet.“


30.12.123 – Couster II-1

Daiko sat in a larger office together with the two Lieutenants Parcie and Aulbres, who were obviously in high spirits. She was not, since some things of the last days had been surprising, to say the least. Five days of intensive combat drill. Drones, railguns, armor repair, remote armor repair, warp disruption and some more things. At one point she felt, as if her head was about to explode. But the only thing exploding had been the ship she was in during the last exam.

„Well, Cadet, the exams are over and your results are pretty good. What are your thoughts about it?“, Lieutenant Aulbres asked.

„With all respect, Sir, but I think the last test was not fair.“


„There were too many targets, who also scrambled my warp drive. There was no option for me, that I could win or escape.“


„You mean, you send me there to see me getting shot?“

„Yes, Cadet. Because we always leave the most important part for the end of the course. You may think, that the test was unfair. And of course it was. But the message here is, that life is not fair. No matter how good and skilled you are or how well-equipped your ship is, at some point you will lose. The enemy may outnumber, outgun or outsmart you. Or maybe you simply make a mistake. At some point you will get shot out of your ship. Happens every day all across the Cluster.“

Daiko thought about that experience. She was aware pretty quickly, that there was little for her to do besides waiting for the destruction of her ship. It was a feeling of complete impotence, that had made her a bit frustrated and angry. Eventually her Capsule was all that was left and she returned to the station.

„To be honest with you, Cadet, we were pretty fair.“, Lieutenant Parcie explained. „Because people out there will not stop shooting at you, until you wake up in a clone facility. One has to react quickly to shoot a Capsule, but people will take the time if they feel like it. We just wanted to show you, that you always have to be ready to get defeated. But I think you can handle it. A few people just freeze in such a situation. You did the right thing and immediately got out of the combat zone.“

„Thank you.“, she said, but was not sure, if she was really thankful. It was probably an important lesson to learn, but surely did not feel good.

„In other news you have finished your basic training, Cadet. Me and the other Instructors are pleased with your perfomance and grade you with a B. You get an electronic certificate these days. Congratulations.“

„Thanks, Sir.“. Finally some good news, that made her smile again.

„There is only one thing left to do. You have to pick a station for the rest of your year. You got a list of respective stations these days. Did you decide already?“

„Yes, Sir. I would like to go to Jel.“

„Fine.“, the Lieutenant said and looked at some documents. „Then move your equipment to Station VIII-20 in Jel and report for duty at Staff Sergeant Delgin. It was a pleasure, to have you here, Cadet. Now you have to make something out of the things you learned here. Good luck for your future efforts.“


31.12.123 – Lirsautton III

Unbelievable. Merely two weeks had passed since she had left and now she was strolling through the streets of her hometown as if nothing had happened. She had asked, whether she is allowed to celebrate New Year with family and friends. The Lieutenants said, that she is not in the Navy yet and she can allocate free days as she pleases, as long as they are not free weeks. So she left Couster this morning after sending a message to Jel, that she would report on the 3rd.

It was a good feeling, when she arrived in the Orbit of her home planet. In her own ship! It had been amazing to talk with Traffic Control and ask for landing permission in one of the spaceports on the surface. Daiko Kobayashi. Space Pilot. Merely two weeks had passed. But as inexperienced as she still was, she knew that this short period of time had changed her life.

Nevertheless she enjoyed to be here. This was a warm planet. It felt comfortable to walk under a blue sky with the sunrays on her skin. As fascinating as space was, it was also cold. The life support systems aboard of ships and stations did their best to create a proper environment. But it would never feel the same as being on a planet on a sunny day.

As she walked along and whistled a song, she came to her home. A small house at the edge of the city. No garden, but still a nice place to live in. She greeted a neighbor, who was standing at the window, before she knocked on the door. After a while, her mother opened the door.

„DAIKO!“, she said way louder than she wanted. But it did not matter. She hugged her daughter as tight as possible. A tear of joy was running down her cheek. „Please come in.“

„You have to tell me everything. How are you? How was your stay in space?“, her mother said ten minutes later, as they sat in the living room. Hoshi Kobayashi had been surprised about the choice of her daughter for the Volunteer Year. Then excited. Then worried. Or maybe a bit of everything at the same time. Now that she sat in front of her, she was relieved. And curious. She was her child and she could see in Daiko`s eyes, that she had a lot of things to say.

„It is…a strange life, Mom. Completely different from anything I have seen here. Different from what I imagined it to be. I mean. To be quite honest, I am rich. A bit.“

„What? How so?“

„Do you remember how proud I was a year ago, when I earned my first own money with that vacation job in retail? Forget it. I have 15 million in the bank.“

„Are you serious? No. Not really. Or are you?“

„I am dead serious, Mom. And that is one of the strange things. From the point of view of a normal citizen, I don`t have to work anymore. But when I compare that with what other Pilots earn and possess, I am dirt poor.“

„You are kidding me.“

„Absolutely not. The amount of money that is circulating above our heads is astonishing. Because all this technology, the huge ships and stations, are assets with a total worth beyond one`s imagination.“

„And how is it out there?“

Daiko had to think about that, as she looked her mother in the eyes. „Wonderful. The feeling of infinity. Beauty. But also tension.“

„You mean, it is dangerous?“

„Yes, that too. Partially. But what I actually mean is, that the feeling of being a Pilot and steering a ship through space is so intense, that nothing else is comparable.“

Hoshi saw, that Daikos eyes were shining, as she tried to describe her feelings. She smiled, as she let her hand glide over her daughter`s face.

„I am very glad, that you found something, that fascinates you so much. And proud, that you are going your way.“


03.01.124 - Jel VIII-20

“Volunteer Cadet Kobayashi reporting for duty, Sir.”

Daiko stood straight in front of the desk of Staff Sergeant Delgin and gave a proper salute. The Sergeant returned it and made a gesture toward a chair, so she took seat.

“Welcome aboard, Cadet. I am Staff Sergeant Raymond Delgin. If you address me, simply say Sergeant. Well, Couster sent me a message about your arrival and I got your mail too about you reporting today. Did you have a good new year celebration?”

“Yes, Sergeant. I was with my family.”

“Very good. We want you to give your best here, but don`t forget your relatives and friends. Write them, call them, let them know that you are fine and how you are feeling. So. Me and other Sergeants oversee the training of new recruits and also volunteers like you. I am your contact person for any problem or question that may arise. Since you are not in the Navy yet, there are less rules for you. You may use all Navy facilities aboard this or any other Navy maintenance or logistics station in the Federation. In exchange we expect you to work for us only. We also ask for a weekly report concerning your activities, including audio and video recordings for at least one mission. That you are not permitted to any illegal activity should go without saying. Questions?”

“If I want to try producing things, will I do that for the Navy only too?”

“I read in the report from Couster, that you are interested in that. Well, let me put it this way. If you have ore, minerals or products to sell, then the Navy has a right of pre-emption. If we are not interested, then you can go to the free market.”

“Thanks, Sergeant. I think I have no other questions for now.”

“Fine. If there is anything you need to know, contact me. Did you already get a plan of the station?”

“Yes, Sergeant.”

“Then good luck with your endeavour here.”

A bit later, Daiko had found her new home. Nothing to write home about. A tiny appartment. Kitchen and living room in one space, bedroom, shower. A small window to look into the infinity of space or at a small part of the nearby moon.

After leaving her backpack behind, she left the appartment again to explore the station a bit. Whole decks were restricted to maintenance or special Navy personnel only. But this was also partially a commercial place. Decks with private living quarters, shops and offices. There was basically no service, that was not available. Also a multitude of cafes, restaurants and bars could be found. She stepped into a small cafe called “Blue Corner”, ordered a tea and a snack to eat.

Eventually she just sat there and looked out of a nearby panorama window. One had a good view on the ships, that were docking and undocking from the station. Small Frigates coming from patrol duty, freighters delivering goods of all sorts, mining ships on the way to a random asteroid belt. It was not necessarily a busy ant hill, but enough traffic to be fascinated by the variety of ship types and how they appeared out of nowhere. Or suddenly disappeared.

This was her new home and new life. As of today, she was on duty.


10.01.124 – Jel

„Just wait a little, I will get you.“, she said, as she operated the Data Analyzer. It was fascinating and she had to think about what Lieutenant Vacoloure had said. Invest in skills and equipment and the Imicus is a reliable workhorse. She was right.

At first, it was difficult to locate the tiny energy signatures of some cosmic anomalies. Then she had invested time and money in improving her situation. It was still a lot of work, but eventually she got to a point, where she was able to pinpoint even the most remote anomalies.

The other thing was that, when she arrived at a location that would get classified as Data Site, it looked exactly as in the training. Everything seemed very familiar. And so she began her work. This specific site was not difficult to handle. The firewalls were really simple. It was just a matter of time.

„GOTCHA!“, she said louder than normal. But this was the first time, she successfully hacked something. Didn`t hacking count as illegal activity? Well, the owners were most probably pirates or other criminals, so this was probably a case of law enforcement. Anyhow, she began extracting the stored Data and felt happy about the result of her accomplishment.

Later that day, her ship just floated in space. She had given her Imicus the name „Argos“. After a mythical monster with one hundred eyes, that was able to see everything in the world at the same time. Her ship was not that omnipotent, but she had to smile when thinking about another thing, the Lieutenant had said.

Criminals may feel safe in their remote hideouts. But at the very same moment, one may operate a ship ten Astronomical Units away and direct a small Navy fleet to their location to ruin their day. She meant, that if one wanted to feel as omnipotent as humanly possible, then one had to command either a recon ship or a Titan. She began to understand, what she had meant.

But besides the small sites, that were designed to be hard to find, there were more obvious signatures. She had registered very strong energy emissions just four AU from her home station. So strong, that there could be little doubt, what the source was. It took little time to get a location and so she jumped to that place.

Now her ship floated just twenty-five kilometers from a wonderful space anomaly called Wormhole. As she understood it, there existed some „pockets“ in space, that randomly connect to any place in space for a day or two via such wormholes, before they collapse and the game begins again somewhere else.

She looked at this floating, swirling phenomenon. It looked as if there was a wet surface in space that made waves. On the other side? Maybe explorers. Maybe a criminal syndicate. Maybe miners. Sergeant Delgin had said that basically anything and anyone can come out of it and meant, that it would be better for her to stay on this side for a while, until she had more experience and better equipment. But she was curious. Did space look different in one of these pockets? Someday, she would find out. For now, it was time to return home and write her report.

On the way back, she received a message. It came from Alma Larousse, a Pilot slightly older than her that she had become friends with these days. The message contained just a few words: “Welcome to the One Million Club. Drinks on me tonight.” Daiko had to chuckle. All the courses one finishes are worth a certain number of points. She completed her first million points today, which seemed to be some sort of rite of passage. So be it. She and Alma would have some fun tonight at the “Tacco”.


17.01.124 – Jel VIII-20

Back home after roughly half an hour. Traffic Control gave her clearance for docking. Her Venture slowly glided toward one of the approaches to the Station. Inside its storage were five thousand cubic meters Plagioclase. It wasn`t her first run today. Before this run, she had hauled some Scordite. After all, she would end her working day with a nice amount of the big three: Tritanium, Pyerite, Mexallon.

As her ship moved into the station, she thought about the sheer amount of minerals necessary to create such a massive structure. And not all of them were available in what was called High Security Space. The most common ores could be found literally everywhere. But due to decades of intensive mining operations, the less common ores were gone and one had to rely on people working in Low or Zero Security Space. Miniscule amounts of them could get restored through reprocessing of old, damaged or excess ship equipment. She had very small amounts of Omber and Nocxium in her station storage. Plus some crumbles of Megacyte. Long story short: Her respect for resource management and sustainability has increased a lot recently.

„Are you going out again?“, the Dock Sergeant asked.

„No, I am done for today.“

„Except the paperwork.“, the Sergeant said with a grin in his face.

Paperwork. Of course there were almost no physical documents anymore. But that just meant, that she, just like any other pilot, had some electronic files with an increasing amount of documents. Mission reports, lists of salvaged equipment and ship parts, documents concerning the use of station facilities, all sorts of bills for purchases, sells, maintenance expenses and usage fees. She had to admit, that this was not the favorite part of her new job.

She went down a few Levels until she came to the production decks. One of the Corporals working here recognised her.

„Daiko. Daiko!“, he said a bit louder, since he had to drown out the background noise. She approached him, as she heard her name.

„Daiko. Your order got finished at noon. The pallets are in Hall F.“

„Thank you, Dymon, you are the best.“, she replied and left again.

Something she had learned pretty quickly, were the differences in etiquette. If one was talking toward a direct superior or someone with a clearly higher rank, then a Sir or Mam or the rank was the mandatory adress, accompanied by a salute. But the lower the ranks were, the more relaxed things got and one talked to each other using the first or last name.

She went to Hall F and looked at the items. She was a total newcomer, so she had started with producing ammunition. That was something that the Navy and other pilots would always need. She checked, whether the amount of items was correct and prepared a mail to the office of the Quartermaster. Eventually she went away again, since she wanted to go to her appartment for a shower.

On the way she realized once more, how fast things became „normal“. She was here for just two weeks so far, but she had been accepted by the rest of the crew almost immediately. She imagined, that it was probably absolutely normal, that people went away and new staff was arriving on a daily basis and that fast integration was a necessary must in order to keep things running.

Anyway, she was happy that it was so easy to be part of a new community and establish a new daily routine.


24.01.124 – Jel

„Doghouse, here Beagle Five.“

„Beagle Five, here Doghouse. Report your status.“

„Doghouse. I am in Eight Five and observe illegal mining operation. I repeat. Illegal mining operation in Eight Five.“

„Transponder Response?“

„Transponder confirmed hostile.“

„Are you able to handle the situation?“

„Positive, Doghouse. I see one Harvester without further red forces around. I repeat, one enemy mining ship and no further vessels. Request permission to engage.“

„Beagle Five, you have permission to engage.“

„Roger Doghouse. Over and out.“

Patrol Duty. Someone had to check all the planets and moons and asteroid belts for enemy pirate activity. In the fifth belt close to the eighth panet she had stumbled over a pirate mining ship. These ressources would be used to produce ships, that would disturb civilian spaceflight or even attack structures. Unless someone would prevent that from happening. She was about to.

The enemy ship was fifty kilometers away as she undocked her Hobgoblin Drones and reduced the distance to the ship. Eventually she locked the vessel and gave the Drones an attack order. The ship was either fully automated or the crew had not noticed her yet. But as it took damage, it tried to get away. But the Drones worked too fast and soon the ship exploded.

„Doghouse, here Beagle Five. Eight Five clear.“

„Beagle Five, report status of enemy vessel.“

„Vessel eliminated.“

„Roger. Return to Base and report at Sergeant Delgin.“

„Roger, Doghouse.“

She docked the Drones again and set a course back to the station. Probably right now a Navy Industrial plus some escort undocked there to check, whether some minerals could get salvaged out of the wreck. But that was not her job anymore. She went into Warp and wondered, why she was called to the Sergeant`s office.

„Volunteer Cadet Kobayashi reporting as ordered.“, she said, when she arrived in Delgin`s office.

„Please take seat. I heard there was something going on in the Belts?“

„Yes, Sergeant. I encountered a pirate miner and eliminated the threat.“

„Good work, Cadet. The reason why I wanted to see you is your performance here. The reports from the Recon, Production and Operation Departments are good so far and I like how you don`t focus on one single thing. But there is something, you should expand on.“

„Yes, Sergeant?“

„See. We want our Cadets to see as much from the Navy as possible during their training. But they should also see as much from the Federation as possible. We don`t expect you to visit all planets and moons. But we encourage recruits to go out there and work away from their designated home station. Although routine is an important factor, we would like you to not get too comfortable at one place.“

„You mean, I should relocate to other stations and integrate myself into different environments?“

„Exactly. This is part of the experience. Staying mobile, integrating into different Teams, establishing a network of own contacts and getting known to the community. Do you think you can do that?“

„Yes, Sergeant.“

„Fine, you are free to roam around, as long as you stay in High Security Space. Send me a report about your destination when you leave here.“


31.01.124 - Masalle VI-9

When Daiko arrived at her destination, she had to grin a bit. She had seen a still small amount of Federal Systems so far, but the stations all looked the same. On the other hand that conveyed a feeling of familiarity. That was a benefit insofar, as although the internal layout of the stations were not exactly the same, one had a general idea of where to go, when one was seeking a specific type of service.

„Argos, here six-nine Approach. You are cleared for Docking. Proceed to Hangar 9C. I repeat. Proceed to Hangar Niner Charlie.“

„Approach, here Argos. Hangar 9 Charlie confirmed.“

An hour later she was in the office of Staff Sergeant Gharmor. She was a lean, athletic person with considerably short brown hair and brown eyes. As she looked a bit closer, she meant to see a small scar above the left eye and wondered, whether that was from a combat injury.

„I have to admit, that I was a bit surprised, Cadet.“, the Sergeant eventually said after she finished reading a document. „Not a lot newcomers pick this part of the Federation for a stay. But don`t get me wrong. You are very welcome, since we are a bit thin on staff anyway here. This is not the border to Pochven, neither a political or economical center. So just few resources are headed our way. Talking about that. What are you bringing to the table?“

„I arrived with an Imicus and will also relocate my Tristan here.“

„Sounds good. Then you will get assigned to general Recon and Patrol duty. The pilots here are spread out over a considerably large area. You will help to make the fishnet a little bit tighter. How long are you going to stay?“

„I plan to be here for one month, Sergeant.“

„Fine. You will get a duty schedule this afternoon. The daily briefing is at 8 AM. Questions?“

„No, Sergeant.“

„Good. Welcome aboard, Cadet.“

Daiko left the office and felt a little bit taller. Duty Schedule. Daily Briefing. Making the net tighter. It was almost, as if she was already a full part of this large enterprise. She went back to the Docks in order to board her capsule. Another twelve jumps to Jel and the same amount back again to get her other ship here.


07.02.124 – Chesiette

The needle in a haystack. She always had to think about that, as she was sitting in her Imicus and operated the scan systems. The needle had the size of a medium spaceship. And the haystack had a diameter of fifty astronomical units. The sheer fact, that it was possible at all to find something, anything, in this vast emptiness would never cease to amaze her.

Right now she was following a trace, that was initially 15 AU from her position, but had now changed to 18 AU, as she had a slightly better result. All of this was a game of patience, especially if one had no access to better equipment. But she knew, that it was just a matter of time, until she would crack the nut, as the saying goes. The more she worked on the contact, the more stable the location became. It was an endless cycle of repositioning the Drones and making new scans. Again and again and again. But then, finally, she had a position that was good enough to use it as navigational waypoint.

She saved the position in her Database, called the Drones back and loaded them into the Launcher again. Now the exciting part of the day would begin. She had no idea, what would expect her, so she decided to set a waypoint roughly one hundred kilometers away from her actual destination.

Eventually she entered into Warp. As she travelled at up to 2500 times the speed of light, she locked in an escape point to immediately warp to, just in case that something hostile was waiting at her destination. After a short trip, she came out of Warp and checked her sensors. Energy emissions from two stationary objects. Nothing else around. She checked that twice before she accepted, that she was the only person around here and began to close in to the two objects.

She loved hacking. Finding a way around respectively through firewalls was an interesting thing. One of the systems here was considerably hard, but she and her equipment were better than that. After a while she got into the Database and began to copy the content. It was exciting to have found something in this system, that was basically empty.

Chesiette. 11 Planets, one of them inhabitet. No space stations. The last system before Low Security Space. Mostly a system to simply pass through, although lots of moons and asteroid belts meant, that it was mildly attractive for ressource extraction. Yet, on a normal day, one did not have to share the system with many other people.

Eventually she had finished her work. She set a course back to her current home station and went into Warp. She had a smile in her face and wondered, what interesting information she was bringing back.


09.02.124 – Masalle VI-9

Daiko had to smile. She was not really into action movies, but a briefing was usually depicted in the same way. Dramatic music. A group of determined soldiers. An equally determined officer holding more a motivational speech than actually offering a situation report. Everyone talking way louder than they should or had to. At the end people go out to show it to „them“. Whoever that was. What a pile of crap.

It was a few minutes before eight in the morning and she sat in the briefing room. Around her just ten other people. Mostly Pilots. Not all of them combat personnel. Some of them commanding transport or mining ships. Of course there was no music and the general mood was clearly relaxed instead of dramatic. Some of the present people talked with another, some had their eyes closed, as it was maybe a bit too early for them. Just another day with another routine meeting.


Everyone became quiet and sat straight on their chairs, as Navy Captain Pendale entered the room. As far as Daiko understood it, he belonged to the Staff of the Station Commander and was Operations Officer, overseeing the activities in this and the neighboring systems.

„Good morning.“, the Captain said. „As far as I see it, it will be a calm day. Logistics said, that the ammunition run is due today instead of on Friday, so this will have priority over anything else today for the Transport Department. Region Command asks us to pay attention to the Asteroid Belts, since there seems to be evidence for increased pirate activities. Hence I want you to focus on patrolling them and stay on alert, in case that civilian miners get under attack. Oh, one more thing…“

The Captain looked around in the room and then made a gesture toward Daiko. „Two days ago Cadet Kobayashi discovered a Data Site of the Serpentis. The data consisted of a Spam Bomb. Intelligence says thank you for the delivery of huge amounts of advertisement and weird fetish porn.“

The other pilots cheered and applauded, while Daiko could feel how she blushed a bit. Eventually the briefing was over and the people left the room. As Daiko wanted to go out, the Captain gave her a sign to come to him.

„Sir?“, she asked.

„I just wanted to tell you, that you should not feel bad about it, Cadet.“, the Captain explained. „The Pirates are not stupid. They know that all of their installations will get found sooner or later. So they often switch from one site to the next. Sometimes they leave useless data behind, to keep our intelligence busy. Happens all the time. But that is part of the game. Important is, that we keep playing. Continue your job and show us everything you find.“

„Yes, Sir. Thank you.“


16.02.124 - Chantrousse

Chantrousse was very much like Chesiette. One inhabited planet, lots of asteroid belts and no space stations. It even had the same Security Level. The only difference was, that there was roughly three times the traffic, since Chantrousse was basically a crossing of space lanes. Nearby were entrances to three different regions, so many spaceships from different Empires came through this system. But that had no positive impact on the local economy, since Chantrousse IV was a rather poor planet with no significant industry or natural ressources.

Daiko`s Imicus was in an orbit above the planet and she operated the scan equipment as good as possible. But today was one of those days, when she wished she had simply a better ship or better components. Nothing seemed to work properly. She had a faint contact, but every time she thought, she would come closer, it slipped away. Eventually she tried different search patterns and frequencies.

“It must be somewhere here.”, she said to herself and made a decision. She positioned her Drones into a tight formation with low search radius, to then scan the whole are one little bit after another. And so she did. It took more than an hour, until she got a decent contact. Then she narrowed down the potential target area and further lowered the search radius and so on. After another hour, she finally had a location.

On the one hand she felt excited to have solved the riddle. On the other hand she was wondering, what exactly was waiting there, considering how hard it was to get a proper signal. A minute later she had the answer, and she was sincerely disappointed.

There was nothing. Well, at least nothing, that seemed to be useful. There was a small structure. Barely large enough to let a Frigate dock. There must have been a small communication facility too. It all looked modern. But it was in a terrible state. As the previous owners had abandoned it, they must have destroyed all important parts.

There was debris floating in space. Not a lot. She found some parts, that she found interesting and brought them aboard her ship, until her cargo bay was filled. Was all of that trash? Maybe. But after all this work, she did not want to return to base with empty hands. Nevertheless, as she set a course for the next stargate, she could not help but feel a bit empty.

All the more experienced Officers had told her, that they were working on a gigantic puzzle. Every now and then they found a piece and had to find the proper spot in the general picture, in which it would fit. At the same time other pieces disappeared, as information became outdated or new developments occurred in the Universe. Unfortunately she would probably bring no piece back home today. Again. She felt, how her frustration resistance came to its limit this time.

“Well, better luck tomorrow.”, she said to herself.


18.02.124 - Masalle VI-9

Another day, another ISK. As the saying goes. Daiko had been here for a bit more than two weeks, but it felt like routine already. The morning briefing, the work in the belts or scanning systems, the reports and documents in the afternoon. The days passed by within this regular schedule.

Her Tristan-Class Frigate called „Amaterasu“ went out of warp close to the station and she navigated toward one of the entrances. After getting permission to dock, her ship entered the station and went toward her Hangar. In the main corridor she was once again surprised, how well the traffic rules worked. Speed limit of just a few meters per second, one had to use the right side of the corridor. Since there were several main corridors, the Traffic Control tried to separate incoming ships, so there would be no jam. That worked well here, but she always wondered, how places like Jita, that she had heard a lot about, did not collapse on a daily basis.

Eventually she docked. She had a short chat with Corporal Patel from the maintenance Team, but her ship was in good condition. She had spent most of the day patrolling the Belts. Nothing had happened, so she had a bit small talk with some of the Miners. Especially those Miners, who were working alone, usually liked to have a bit Company. At least, if that Company was linked to the Navy. She had learned pretty quickly, that the lament about mineral prices seemed to be a necessary qualification for everyone in that profession.

Eventually she went to the Intel Storage. The place, where pilots delivered all ship components or other things retrieved in space, that may contain any sort of information. Two days ago she had dropped a part of the things she had found in Chantrousse here.

„Good afternoon, Sergeant.“, she said to Sergeant Santarel, who was the shift leader.

„Good afternoon, Cadet. I take it you are here because of the items from Wednesday. I am afraid it is all trash. We had some hopes concerning one part, that seemed to stem from a data server, but it is dead. You can sign the reprocessing form over there.“

She went to the desk and filled the form. Since she was not part of the Navy, all these items were basically her property, that she offered to the Navy for examination and, if necessary, further use beyond that. But everything that was considered useless went back to her hands and she handed everything over to the recycling department.

She was a bit disappointed, but not surprised, that nothing had come of it. It had been a try. But suddenly she felt the need, to maybe make one of these things useful in another way. She went through the list of items and excluded the server part from reprocessing. She would keep it as souvenir, to remind her of her stay here.

She returned the form to the Sergeant, who raised an eyebrow about her new property. It was rather unusual, but if that Cadet wanted to burden herself with a piece of electronic trash the size of two by one meter, then so be it. The Sergeant signed the form too and gave the order to transfer the part to Daiko`s personal storage.


01.03.124 - Leremblompes II

Daiko had finished her month in Masalle. But before she returned to Jel, she took a day off to travel to Leremblompes. Hana had told her, that she was there for her studies and so it was time to visit her friend. And set foot on a planet for the first time since New Year.

The Center for Advanced Studies operated a large space station in the system, but also had teaching facilities on the surface of the second planet. As she left the space port, she was under a bright blue sky, although it was considerably brisk. The University was a decent distance north of the equator and it was still early in the year. She wondered, how it has been in January. Anyway, she was walking through the streets of the rather small city. She saw, that Students were a large part of the total population and there were lots of stores and cafes targetd at a younger audience.

Eventually she came to the University area. She asked some students for directions to the Campus, where she was supposed to meet her friend. She came to a small square with a pillar in the center of it. Hana was already waiting and looking around. As she saw Daiko, she waved with her arms and came running toward her.

A bit later they sat inside a small cafe not far away from the Campus.

„I take it, you like it here. You look great, Hana.“, Daiko said.

„Thank you. You don`t.“


„You have become a bit pale. Are you fine?“

„Ay, yes. I spend too much time on the stations. I mean, I could go on planets more often, but then forget it. But I am fine.“


„Yes. It is not as I expected it to be. But I like it the way it is. Spaceflight, as a Pilot I mean, is just great. You meet a lot of people, if you are lucky you can make interesting discoveries.“

„Aham.“, Hana said and looked her friend deep into the eyes. Daiko made a helpless gesture.

„Yes. There is something. You know, you encounter some bad people out there. Who will shoot you first and then ask questions. In the last two months I have destroyed a small number of ships and…well…it is difficult. Yes, they are criminals and they probably have a clone somewhere. But when I think about it, these are not just lifeless pieces of metal, but vessels with crews. And not all of them have clones.“

„Does it burden you?“

„To be frank? Not sure. I don`t see anything of that. What you see, is an explosion in the distance and that is it. And in that moment, I am way too occupied to really think about it.“

Hana looked at her friend. They knew each other for more than ten years. She knew, when Daiko was happy. She seemed to be satisfied with what she is doing, although her work had implications, that she had not thought about before and tried to ignore for now.

„Anyhow. If there is anything you want or need to talk about, I am always there for you. Okay?“, Hana said. Daiko gave her a hug.

„Thank you.“, she said. „And, to be quite honest, there is something, that I would like to ask you.“

„Go ahead.“

„See. Two weeks ago I stumbled over an abandoned tiny station in space. I found a part, that belonged to a Data Server. But the local Navy installation was not able to activate it. Now I wondered, whether you and this facility here could get it done.“

„Pfff. Good question. But I tell you something. I am going to ask at my Department, whether I may use time and maybe University ressources to try. Then we will see.“


13.03.124 - Jel VIII-20


Her appartment was not large, so it was already a bit crowded when all her guests had arrived to celebrate her birthday with friends and colleagues. It was not a large group, but everyone she had got to know better in the recent weeks.

Of course Alma, another female ilot and just slightly older than her, who had become her best friend on the station. Craig and Aron from the maintenance team. Rita, who worked in her favorite cafe. Marv and Kendra, two other and more experienced pilots, who she spent a lot of time with. Even Hana had taken a ferry from Leremblompes to Jel to be here. She would have loved, if her mother had come too. But she was not able to convince her to leave her home planet.

After the birthday song was through, Rita unveiled a cake in the shape of a spaceship with the label DK-21 as a small reminder of her age. The others brought some sweets or a voucher for the local stores. Eventually everyone stood around and had some random small talk about this or that event.

„All the best for you.“, Hana said as she hugged her friend again. „And I have a very special gift for you.“

She grabbed a tiny case out of a pocket. Daiko looked a bit quizzical before she opened it. Inside was a data stick.

„Thank you. What is it?“, she asked.

„Me and two colleagues have worked on that thing you brought to us. I can tell you, that it was hard work. But we got it running for a short time, before it definitely went out of order for good. But long enough to copy the files we found to this little thing.“

„Wow. This is…just…amazing.“, Daiko said and hugged Hana. „Did you take a look at the files?“

„We tried. But they are encrypted and we did not want to touch that further.“

Daiko understood. Files of unknown origin, found in a remote installation, probably run by an illegal organization. Maybe it was nothing. Maybe something useful for the Navy. And the Navy was her playground. More or less.

„Thank you a lot, Hana. This means a lot to me.“, she said. Not because there was maybe something interesting in these files. But because now her effort that day had not been in total vain. And because she had a friend, who had put a lot of work into this project, although she did not have to. She felt very happy and grateful. This year she definitely had a good birthday.


14.03.124 - Jel VIII-20

Seregeant Delgin sat at his desk. He was in the Navy for nine years now, the last three on this station. And he loved his job. He served his country, got a decent wage, had an interesting duty. He liked people. Even more so to guide younger people and help them decide, whether the Navy was for them or not. He had two young children and he wondered, whether they would want to follow in his footsteps or not.

Anyway. As interesting as his job was, it was of course mostly routine. Commanding a desk did not necessarily come with adventures. One came to work and „kept the show running“, as the saying goes. That was okay for him, since surprises were not necessarily something pleasant. Today seemed to be different though.

On the other side of the desk sat Cadet Kobayashi and in his hand was a data stick, that she just gave him for further use.

„So if I understand you correctly, you found a broken piece of Technology, brought it back to Masalle, the crew there thought it was useless, you kept and brought it to the CAS and as a result we have this stick with unknown information.“

„Yes, Sergeant.“

Delgin looked at the stick again. Interesting. He had already noticed, that Kobayashi belonged to the rather calm type of people. Did their job and were reliable, but did not talk a lot about themselves and what is going on in their heads. It was always hard to say, whether they were doing fine mentally or had this or that problem. It was hard work to get them to be more communicative about these things. Until then, they were always good for a surprise. And now, bang, a data stick. Sure, maybe it just contained the maintenance schedule of a janitor. But it showed him, that she was hungry and ready to go the extra mile to get a job done. He liked that.

„That is a job well done, Cadet. I would like you to sign this form, that you hand over the property rights on this stick to the Navy, respectively other government authorities.“

„Of course, Sergeant.“, Daiko said and made a signature.

A minute later, Kobayashi had left the room. Delgin put the stick into a small envelope, that would go to the local Officer of the Federal Investigation Office.