Written for the Eight Thousand Suns in New Eden Category
for the Pod and Planet Fiction Contest
This entry is a sequel to my other story: The name of the capsuleer
The Proteus: LC-K-114
YC 116 Deven II, The Combined Fleet of Gallente Navy and Militia
The planet was half engulfed by the darkness of the planet’s terminator. A few hundred thousand kilometers above the surface of the planet a fleet glimmered as the star’s light reflected from the Gallente armors. In the past months the Caldari Navy and Militia has been pushed back all the way to Lonetrek and The Citadel. The Gallente forces waited for the signal to drop on the last Caldari fleet for the decisive battle. Hundreds of thousands or maybe even a million of mortal and immortal lives waited to be slaughtered in the upcoming final massacre.
Luwien Daise gazed at the immense fleet from a distance. She was in a Proteus not piloted by her. She was sitting on the cold metal armchair looking at the cluster of screens streaming different scenes of the fleet. From far apart the only objects which had shape in her eyes were the ships bigger than a Brutix. The flagship of the fleet an Erebus was towering next to the Moroses. In front of them were the Nyxes and Thanatoses their slim shape reflecting the central star’s orange light in a sickle shape. An army of Gallente battleships lined up reflecting a grid of lights. The sea of the other flickering blazes were thousands of cruiser and frigate sized ships.
She payed for more than half of the ships, and lost many more in the previous months. But it all started 2 years ago.
YC 114 – Vey – Frarie Stargate
Luwien Daise was transporting cargo for a corporation fighting against the Caldari. She did not care for the Factional War, only the amount of ISK it brought for her corporation: Interferometric Co. She became CEO of the corp and soon bought out all the shareholders. After a while she appointed a capsuleer for the head of logistics and she did not have to do anything for the company to be successful, so she returned to the one thing she enjoyed the most. Transporting.
She was 7 jumps from the destination, when a squadron of Caldari frigates started to tail her. As she entered Innia an instalocking gatecamp was already waiting for her. A moment later she woke in a clone. She lost something more important than a ship and few billions of colleteral. As it turned out one of the capsuleer corporation of the Caldari Militia took notice of Luwien’s cargo runs, so they monitored her movements for a long time to catch her.
After that she put Interferometric Co. on the market. The corporation was worth more than she imagined. It was a prospering corporation with an immense income, steady growth, hundreds of transport ships and freighters, business contact of several years and a good reputation, but when the transaction came through was the moment, when she realized what she built in the past 8 years.
YC 115 – Duripant VII – Moon 6 – Federal Navy Academy School
LC-K-114 the Proteus of Luwien was approaching the station with an escort of Federal Navy ships and a part of her own fleet. They docked in the Academy’s station, taking up 2 of its biggest hangars. As Luwien stepped out of the Proteus the chancellor the provost and several deans were already waiting for her in ceremonial suits. The chancellor was an older stout man with different pins on his chest. Luwien did not fail to notice the Gold Capsule pin, which was rewarded for crew members who served under capsuleers in the factional wars. He greeted her with a smile and shook her hand. The handshake was firm but she also felt that the atmosphere was quite anxious by her presence.
“Capsuleer Luwien Daise, it is an honor to greet you in the name of the Academy. My name is Anirell Chordoux I am the chancellor of the Academy.” – he stepped next to the capsuleer and they started walking through the hangar, the provost and the deans trailing behind them and armed guards encompassing their march.
“The honor is mine Chancellor Chordoux.”
“Interferometric Co. has been a great sponsor of our school for many years, to tell you the truth we were quite worried when we saw you were going to sell the company, but the continuous support from you never stopped and now you are also one of the main contributor to the militia’s effort. I hope you will be pleased by the officer inauguration and the quality of the recruits.”
“I hope the same aswell.” – She reached for her holopad, and started to transmit, and looked at the Chancellor who in return got out his own.
“I am going to assemble a private fleet under the flag of the Gallente Militia. I am looking to recruit several thousands of your fresh graduates.”
As the Chancellor looked at the recruitment offers he was rather pleased and did not conceal his satisfaction. The capsuleer heard as the deans behind her started to whisper at each other excitedly. “Money always buys its way” she thought, the cut the Academy received from the offer was a big sum on its own. With a great smile the Chancellor said:
“I will make sure to encourage the most talented ones to join your fleet. But tell me, why the sudden great support for the factional war?”
“I grew tired of the transporting business and hoped to set a name for myself by conquering the low sec systems from the Caldari.”
The hangar door opened and they continued their way on the corridor. Every spot of the station was decorated in the Gallente colours ready for the ceremony. As the guards stepped a little closer to fit in the corridor’s width the Chancellor picked up the conversation.
“And how come you visit the inauguration in person. You have been supporting us for many years, but never responded to any of our invitations.”
“I am particularly interested in two of the recruits. A fighter bomber pilot and a clone infantry mercenary. If they did not choose my fleet, I wanted to at least see them before they enter battle.”
“You just have to tell the names and I personally will make sure that they become your soldiers.”
“I thought you would. But I would never deprive them of their free will.”
“Of course. In that case, I will pray for them to choose wisely.”
YC 116 Deven II, The Combined Fleet of Gallente Navy and Militia
LC-K-114 approached the fleet, preparing for the jump. As soon as the Proteus arrived from the jump it began to burn from the scene of the battle. As it cleared from the fleet, it cloaked, and slowly drifted from the battleground.
She invested all her wealth in this war, and finally it was ready to reap it’s fruit. She looked at the sea of screens in front of her. She enlarged two of them as she always did for the past year, and dragged them on the middle. She thought she would keep her composure, but she whirled in her chair left and right anxiously while looking at the screens.
On one of the feeds was the point of view of a clone mercenary, on the other, the cockpit of a fighter bomber preparing for launch. The enemy fleet was still inbound, but the drop-ships and fighters has already launched. The fighter bomber left the Nyx and moved into position, ready to bombard the enemy fleet’s capitals, in front of them a sea of fighters waiting eagerly.
The point of view of the mercenary started to shake when they reached the atmosphere of the planet. She heard the shaking sound of turbulence and the steady breathing of the mercenary. When they reached height the red lights switched to green and the clones began to jump from the ship. The air was whizzing sharply on the edge of the dropsuit and became louder and louder as the soldier accelerated to the ground. As the clones reached the ground the thundering sound of the impact was joined by the distant sound the enemy fleet made arriving from warp.
The Gallente fleet came alive like it was controlled by a single mind. All the capitals started to align at the enemy, Battleships slowly advanced while locking on targets, cruisers and frigates were burning behind the Cyclopses. The swarm of the Firbolgs sped to the launched enemy fighters. When the fighters came in to firing range the dogfight became visible from hundreds of kilometers away even for the naked eye. Luwien glimpsed at the whirling battle of the fighters, wedging a way to the enemy capitals.
Luwien set her eyes on the other highlighted screen. The mercenary was advancing on the field with its team. They came into contact with the opposing team hiding behind metal containers. The team wore the best equipment money could buy. They were a battle hardened squad. A year of constant battle made them knew each others every move and thought. They operated silently, just by looking at the situation; the position of their team members, the enemy, the composition of their and the enemy’s weapons made them react with minimal communication.
The mercenary circled around a container, went into cloak ran to the next container, while her teammate threw a grenade amongst the enemy soldiers which drew their attention. She moved and broke cloak by unloading a round from the shotgun to a soldier’s spine, as the soldier collapsed she drew her sidearm and released half a clip on the next soldier 20 meters away. She ran into the middle, meeting her team. As they saw her arriving they moved forward.
Luwien switched her attention to the other screen, where the main fleet caught up with the dogfighting and the scale of the battle started layering. Frigates joined the dogfight, cruisers supported the battleships and spread EWAR around the field, battleships collapsed at each other, the amount of drones coming from the Gallente ships could eclipse the sun and all the stars in the sky. They pulsed around the enemy ships like the upper atmosphere of a Cepheid type star. On top of these were the thundering battle of capitals. Luwien saw that the Cyclopses were advancing in the way the fighters cleared for them. They started to accelerate in the cleared tunnel, at the end of which was their first target; a Chimera.
A rarely heard voice drew her eyes back to the other stream, where the mercenaries were pinned down by the enemy. She knew what was going to happen, she saw this move many times. Half the team went off and started to get around the enemy camp. When the signal came through she activated cloak and broke from the covers. She sprinted perpendicular to the enemy, slightly towards them. When she was 50 meters away she broke cloak. All of the hostiles started to fire at her. She felt the impacts of the ammunition on her dropsuit, almost pushing her from her feet. She was a few meters away from an obstacle, which could gave her cover, when a familiar feeling took over the dropsuits damaging. The feel of steaming hot rounds penetrating her body. She jumped behind the cover and heard on comms as her team made quick work of the enemy. She tried to get up. The thing that stopped her was not the excruciating pain, she was used to that, it was that she was physically incapable to get up. She reached for her side arm, and said “I will catch up!”. Luwien saw as she turned her pistol at her head. The screen went offline but came back in a second showing the clonebay where the marine was already preparing to rejoin the battle.
The bombers were advancing full speed, when they caught the attention of an enemy fighter squadron. The fighter bomber called on comms for support, but the friendly fighters were busy in the dogfighting. That is why Luwien hired a squadron of frigates. The best frigate pilots from different pirate and mecenary capsuleer corporations. Their job was to ensure the arriving of the bombers, well at least it was on the contract. The squadron’s major purpose was something more important. They received payment after every enemy fighter cleared from the bombers tail, and a bonus for every bomber reaching its destination. They cost a fortune, but it was only money. The paid fighters dispatched from the brawl and caught up with the bombers and went headlong into the enemy Dragonflies.
On the other screen the mercenary joined her team again, and were preparing for the last assault against the enemy HQ. Their way was cut off by an encampment reinforced by heavy tanks. She signaled for an orbital bombardment. Luwien enlarged the screen of the orbital strike team, they already positioned themselves above the battle on ground. The battle was kept far away from them, preventing the Caldari to help their ground units. she waited in cover for the hybrid charges to explode on the ground. As soon as she heard the explosion her squad scrambled from their cover and started to storm in the HQ. The dust did not settle yet, so they switched the vision of their helmet to see through the dust, debris still flew around, but they were running, knowing the sooner they capture the HQ on ground the sooner they can help the fight above, and she had a good reason to be reckless and was first to step into the building after activating cloak. When she was inside, she ran past the enemy welcoming soldiers and ran for the stairs. When she reached the top level she broke cloak and killed two guards on the corridor. She rushed to the main briefing room, on the way she heard the fighting on the ground floor. She ran past the entrance of the briefing room and tossed in a handful of grenades including a flash bang. When the explosion went off she went in with an assault rifle and finished the soldiers who survived and were struggling with their visions. She went to the main holotable showing the map of the battle, behind it was the Major General on the ground left untouched by the grenades. She stepped next to him pointing her assault rifle at his head as he rose to his feet. When he opened his mouth she squeezed the trigger splattering the general’s brain across the table. She hit transmission and said:
“Ground is ours, HQ captured. I repeat. Ground is ours, HQ captured.” – as the rest of her squad arrived in the room she stepped to the screen displaying the fight in the skies. Looking at the pacing fighter bombers she whispered to herself: “Come on sis’… come on…”
As the battle on the planet ended Luwien focused all her attention on the bombers stream. The bomber pilot exhaled sharply after every breath she drew. On the way to the Chimeras missiles flew by her by the hundreds every second, and she heard the hybrid charges gliding by, but most of her attention was to not bump into the swirling amount of fighters around. She was listening to the comms of the frigate squad picking fighters from their tail. They were a crazy group not at all organized, probably drunk again, but they got the job done somehow. She never understood capsuleers. When they reached the enemy capital fleet friendly dreadnaughts and the Erebus already started to chew on their defenses. When they launched the first bombs, the battleships came into range as well and started to focus fire on the broadcasted targets, while the cruisers and frigates finished the remaining subcapital fleet. Bombs hammered on the enemy carriers. As more and more went down the pressure on the fighters and frigates started to dissipate and they joined the attack. The space around her was a graveyard of metals. While reloading another round of bombs she saw as escape pods of crew men and capsuleers tried to navigate through the debris, they did not even try to dock into any of the remaining Caldari capitals, most of them flee for one of the stations or planets, but many decided that they had the most chance surviving if they docked in a nearby enemy capital and became prisoners of war. At last nothing was on field except a damaged Wyvern fighting unrelently with its Dragonflies. She heard the signal that all smaller ships have to withdraw from the Wyvern. As they flew from the scene she heard the doomsday of the Erebus charging up. The green light overshone the light of the system’s star. The Wyvern exploded scattering its hull around the space. The battle was over, and the fleet started to maneuver out of the debris. The capitals and battleships pushed most of the wrecks aside clearing a way for the smaller ships behind them. The fighter bomber caught up with the Nyx which received heavy fire in the battle and started to dock in her hangar. While slowly drifting through the shield protecting the hangar from the nothingness of space, she looked at the planet’s surface where the ground battle has been won. When she landed half the hangar was on fire. She opened the cockpit and took off her helmet. When she lifted her hands she noticed her hands were shaking. She climbed out and joined the men fighting the fire.
Luwien muted the comms and laid back on her seat with a calmness and emptiness felt after a year long project fulfilling its purpose. She threw her whole wealth into the Gallente factional war effort. But it was not for the Gallente, it was for herself, it was for revenge. She gave the command to deactivate cloak, and the Proteus LC-K-114 emerged from space. She looked at the two young women on the screens.
She knew their father. He was one of her crew member murdered by Caldari Militia in YC 114.
His name was Lieutenant Commander Kalle.
The things that inspired and helped the writing of the story: