Monday, March 8, 2010

Ecliptic Rift's Flash Fiction Friday: Polycarbon Engine Housing

Ecliptic Rift is hosting a weekly prompt for fiction from the EVE-Online community. Below is my contribution for the latest prompt: Polycarbon Engine Housing

I am floating in space, nestled between asteroids in a belt.  My side facing the system's sun is boiling hot and my other other side is freezing cold.  I see omber and scordite asteroids floating around me, but where are the veldspar asteroids?  Oh, there they are.  Next to me, behind me, in front of me.  We are so many.

A ship warps into the belt; a Hulk.  Mining lasers flash and fire, harvesting the asteroids around me. I wait for my turn.  Who is going first?  Not the omber.  Not the scordite.  We veldspar are chosen this time.

The mining laser makes its way to me.  I feel it pulling on me, breaking me up and lifting my pieces away.  I am traveling down the beam now, leaving my rocky home.  I no longer feel whole.  I look at the sun one last time, feel its scorching heat, and turn away to feel the freezing cold of deep space before the collector scoops me from the beam.  I end up on a conveyor belt, whisked through the inside of this Hulk.  I no longer feel cold or hot, safely inside this Hulk's hold.  I am no longer in the belt with my brethren, but I am still with my brethren here in the Hulk.

There are too many of us to fit in the Hulk together, so the pilot returns to his station to unload us.  Vacuums lift me up from the hold, conveyor belts carry me around.  I find myself spread across many holds in the station.  I find myself amongst scordite and omber and others I have never met before.  We tell stories of our belts, and make manly jokes of who had the biggest rocky home in space.  It does not bother me to be deep inside this station for I am just veldspar.

Conveyor trains travel by us and the jokes stop.  Clear tanks full of whispy gas pass by.  We all stare in wonder.  We hear them laugh at us.  They see us stare at them.  We are mesmerized by their figures, shifting curves and voluptuous shapes.  We no longer want to be in our holds.  We want to break free and mingle with these ladies of deep space.  But the conveyor trains do not stop and those ladies are carried away from us, giggling as they go.  We do not tell jokes.  We do not mention our old belts.  We are silent.

More vacuums and conveyor belts return and I am broken up and carried away to processing lines.  I am pounded and ground and pulverized.  I am washed in foul chemicals and blinded with light and rinsed clean.  I feel new and bright.  I am tritanium.

Set free of my dirty existence as veldspar locked in a hot and cold rocky rubble, I see more now.  Some of me is sent to the market, some of me goes back to the holds, and some of me goes to manufacturing lines.

I am sold on the market.  Some of me travels far away until I can no longer feel that part of me.  Some of me travels two dozen jumps and I am put on the market again.  Sometimes all of me is sold at once, sometimes just a portion of me.  Eventually my pieces are so small I can no longer feel them.  Some of me returns to space when the transport ship I am on is destroyed.

I am also sent to a manufacturing line.  I feel pieces of me turned into auto cannon ammunition and I travel deep into low sec.  My life is short but fierce as I tear into armor and die in a brilliant flash.  I also find myself in cruise missiles, enjoying the long flight to my target, exploding and shattering the poor sod who feels my wrath.  I become hybrid charges and feel the excitement of being energized before I am splurted out of a blaster cannon.

I also end up in a mighty battleship, heavy and solid and able to take anything thrown at me.  I laugh at the small ships that try to tear me apart.  I groan under the weight of the punishing firepower from a dreadnaught.  I watch my battleship death from the safety an interceptor, zipping around the battlefield.  But that too ends.  I experience taking parting in killing myself as I, a web stasisfier, am commanded to catch myself, an interceptor.

My vast existence across the universe reaches a peak and starts to declines.  I am forgotten in cargo holds of docked ships, lost in warehouses in far away places, destroyed in combat, scattered in space by pirates, spent as ammunition.  A thousand existences wink out, a thousand stories to explain each one.

My awareness shrinks down to a single item.  I am on a hanger floor.  A salesman's voice is talking to passing merchants.  I am new and improved.  I am cheaper.  I don't know I've ended up here.  I was in a ship of some type, destroyed in space.  Salvage was collected.  I must have been a tritanium bar.  I am now a polycarbon engine housing.  But not just any polycarbon engine housing.  I am an improved tech 2 variant.

I shut the salesman's voice out as I notice the two gorgeous Caldari models standing by me.  Their clothing is cold and gray and very much military in style.   They seem wrapped up tight in those uniforms, prisoners in their clothing, begging to have someone set them free, release their bodies.  I notice their skirts have revealing slits, showing smooth skin.  Their neck lines are lower, hinting at soft bosoms underneath.  Their sleeves are shorter, showing jeweled wrists and .  These models are wearing the perfect dresses.  Revealing nothing, hinting at everything, showing off their figures, yet demanding release to be fully enjoyed.  They catch the attention of every man in the crowd.  I am reminded of those whispy ladies of deep space from so long ago.  

One of the models turns and looks at me, then morphs into a lamp.  I stare in puzzlement.  I see the lamp is sitting on an end table.  The crowd of merchants fade out and I see the faces of people I know.  I turn to look at the other model, hoping to catch one more glimpse and see my girlfriend instead.  The hanger disappears.  I see the ceiling of a house, and a carpet on a floor.  I feel the softness of a couch under me.  I feel a hand on my chest.  I am lying on the couch, with my head on my girlfriend's lap.

“Welcome back spaceman.”  she tells me.  I smile at her.

Two of my friends begin to argue.  One thinks he should go next because he's never done BlueSky before.  The other says he should go next because he bought the BlueSky.  But I don't care.  I am back.  I shut out their voices and turn my head to the side to push my face against my girlfriend's  belly.  I feel the rhythm of her breathing and listen to her voice as she tells me how I danced around the room and mumbled about ships and battles and life and death while I was tripping on BlueSky.

I fall asleep and dream of her and I, floating in space, lazily dancing around a sun, her whispy currents enveloping my rocky body, without a single miner to bother us.

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