Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ecliptic Rift's Flash Fiction Friday: Nebulae

Ecliptic Rift is hosting a weekly prompt for fiction from the EVE-Online community. Below is my contributuion for the latest prompt: Nebulae

Graveyard Nebula

Sister Gehlt stepped onto the observation deck of the Megathron Navy Issue Seeker.  The deck was empty except for her and Admiral Mearthenal, as he had promised.

“Thank you, Sister Gehlt, for joining me.  I wanted to share with you our current status, as we are here in support of your mission.”

“Thank you, Admiral Mearthenal, for inviting me.  It is comforting, having your fleet as an escort here in Amarrian space.”

Admiral Mearthenal nodded in agreement and continued, “As you can see, we've arrived at Nebula YRT-890 and have deployed thee of our four scanning detatchments..  They have been busy getting into position around the nebula and planning their probe deployment.”

Sister Gehlt nodded in understanding.  The graphics disply the admiral had on one of the observation windows clearly showed the nubelua at 107 AU wide by 63 AU deep and 14 AU high.  Yellow dots massed at the edge of the nebula marked the position of his 240 ship fleet.  Blue dots showed the positions of the scanning ships spread about the edges of the nebula.  Around each blue dot was a cluster of white dots, obviously representing support and defense ships assisting each scanner ship.

The admiral continued, “My communcations officer tells me we are ready to deploy probes and begin scanning the nebula.  We'll receive real-time updates here.”

Sister Gehlt stood quietly as a series of green dots emerged and scattered across the nebule.  Nearly clear blue globes around each green dot showed scanning ranges.  Within a few seconds the green dots had arrived at their destinations and started scanning.  Results of finding began to trickle in.

32 returns...
67 returns...
183 returns...
1,749 returns...
6,561 returns...
9,462 returns...

Sister Ghelt sighed a heavy sigh.  “Are you sure they are all general freight containers, Admiral?”

“Yes, they are.  Our scanners are set to filter out everything else.”

“Then it would seem the reports were true.  Holders have been dumping slaves that have tried to claim their freedom.  Dumping them here to die.  Dumping them because if they can't keep them, they'd rather kill them.”

“It is fortunate then that Empress Jamyl was serious about her decree of freedom and allowed the Sisters of Eve to investigate.  I suspect this will result in a.....Sister, I'm receiving reports of container time codes from 9 months to just a few hours old.  We may have survivors to rescue.”

“Admiral, please do all you can do to rescue them.  Hopefully the Graveyard Nebule won't be the final chapter for everyone brought here.  And hopefully Empress Jamyl will write the final chapter of the Holders responsible for this genocidal act.”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Ecliptic Rift's Flash Fiction Friday: Sensor Boosters

Ecliptic Rift is hosting a weekly prompt for fiction from the EVE-Online community. Below is my contributuion for the latest prompt: Sensor Boosters

It's tougher than I thought to keep these short so thanks for hanging in there with me as I work on shortening up my writing.


Found and Lost

Kiak Jeckta's Marauder class battleship, Toughnut, slipped out of the short warp jump from the acceleration gate.  Data from the ships sensors trickled in showing just two Drone frigates patrolling the area, one small, oddly shaped drone structure and no more acceleration gates.  It seemed very anticlimatic, having been through six deadspace pockets, half his combat drones lost, the structure damage Toughnut had taken.  Most of the attenna arrays were melted, leaving him cut off from civilization.  Well, he thought to himself, time to see what this seventh pocket holds and get out of here.

The two Drone frigates acquired locks on Toughnut and started to orbit, their ineffective turrets doing damage that felt like grains of sand bouncing off his skin.  They hadn't set out distress calls yet, so he let them be and started moving towards the lone drone structure.  Camera drones zoomed in to give a closer look.

The structure turned out to be a regular Drone construction.  What had made it look odd was the wreckage of a ship pulled in close to the structure.  He could just barely make out the power and data cables crisscrossing the few meters between the wreckage and the structure.

A few quick changes to his sensor filters told him what the wreckage was: a Shadow Serpentis battleship.  Now how the heck did that get out here?  And what are these Drones doing with it? Kiak thought to himself.

Toughnut's targeting system quickly obeyed Kiak's commands and acquired a lock on the wreck.  Aura reported the salvager wasn't able to scan the wreck due to some sort of electromagnetic and gravitic interference from the Drone structure.  Anoyed, Kiak swung a beam laser around, targeted the Drone structure, and severed the power and data cables, letting the battleship wreck float free.

Kiak reactivated the salvager and waited the ten long seconds for it to do its thing.  The first scan resulted in nothing.  The salvager auto-started a second scan.  The salvager had found something.  The two Drone frigates started screaming distress calls.  Kiak launched his remaining Warrior IIs and set them upon the Drone frigates to silence their annoying screeches.

With a comm link set up with his salvage team, Kiak watched Ioya, his salvage team lead, fasten the silver gray five square meter box to a scanning table.  The scanner completed its level one probe on the box in two seconds, reporting that it was a sensor booster, and started a level two probe.

Kiak felt one of the Drone frigates shudder and explode.

Ioya moved around to the other side of the box and examined the sensor's data cable.  She reported it had six extra optodata pins; a Shadow Serpentis Sensor Booster.  Kiak grumbled to himself.  Not much of a find for all the trouble I've gone through.

The second Drone frigate exploded and the Warrior IIs lazily returned to orbit Toughnut.

Ioya's face frowned as she pulled up a second cable.  Kiak thought it funny she would frown at a power cable until she mentioned it had twelve optodata pins but no power connectors.  Two data cables?  The scanner beeped as it finished its level two probe.  Ioya looked at the display and her eyes lit up.  "Look at this, Kiak.  The numbers are off the charts."

Kiak pulled up the scanner results in an info window.  He could see why Ioya was impressed.  400% boost to range and strenght.  Self powered.  1 terraflop needed due to a heavily miniaturized slave CPU integral to the unit.  Wow.  The Drones are moving on to modifying their own equipment now, he thought.  This is the best discovery I've ever made.  I can't wait to get this on the market.  I'll be set forever!  This is the best day of my life!

Ioya pipped up. "Several research companies are going to pay a mint to have this.  CONCORD will reward you very well for these coordinates.  We're gonna have to---"

Kiak's sensors screamed at him, drowning out Ioya's words.  120 Drone ships slipped out of warp from every direction possible.  The pathways between Toughnut's CPU and the external sensors saturated in a split second with all the data streaming in.  50 more Drone ships slipped out of warp.  His overview shuffled and reshuffled, trying to sort the ships by distance.  More Drone ships dropped out of warp.  He could feel hundreds of target locks crawling along Toughnut's hull like a thousand spiders.

Kiak sent a command to his armor repair systems to start cycling immediately while simultanesouly commanding his navigation systems to warp to anything directly in front of him.

Neither command made it to their intended systems.  The Drone fleet alpha stike obliterated Toughnut and all on board in a flash.