Inspired By Images of Eve Competition Short Story

by kerplewie

This is my entry to the Inspired By Images Of Eve Competition 3. More details and links to all entrants can be found at Starfleet Comms.

 

Silence by Commander Ida

There aren’t many things in this verse that are impossible to obtain. Wealth; love; power; happiness. All are within reach for those who try, but silence is one of those things you can never truly obtain. No matter how hard you try there will always be the something that is making noise. Perhaps it will be infinitesimally small or perhaps it will be titanic, but to the living it will always be there. Always.

Those of us who die on a daily basis experience it routinely and are fluent in its meaning.

“Ida… Ida… wake up Commander”. Ida’s eyes slowly opened. In the dim light of her cockpit she could see a harsh red alarm light blinking against the beautiful backdrop of a vast number of constellations.

“What is it?” she asked, allowing the annoyance to creep into her voice. She often stopped at her personal station to get in a quick nap between jobs. The blue sphere of her star base’s force field hummed around her assets.

“We’ve just received a distress signal with an embedded message from a nearby mining colony.” The smooth melancholy voice belonged to her ship-board computer. Her’s was nothing too fancy, just enough to handle basic communications, scanning and weapon trajectory analysis.

“Play the message.” She ordered groggily. She wasn’t sure she was up for any action at the moment, but there could be profit in it.

“Yes Commander.” The computer monotoned.

Static poured through her ships speakers. Snippets of “help,” “mercs,” “opening fire,” could be heard through various explosions and screams in the background of the recording. Before long only static played through the recording.

“Shit” Ida swore violently as she exploded into action, her grogginess instantly forgotten. She wasn’t a diehard militant, but she would have trouble knowing innocents would die because she refused to help. “I want you to open a channel with all corp leaders in the alliance and appraise them of the situation.” She furiously tapped away at buttons on the console in front of her command chair. “Notify them that I will be going in alone to buy some time. I’m the only one in-system. Send help immediately.”

“Yes Com-“

“Notify the miners that we are inbound.”

“Yes Com-“

Anything else the computer said was lost to her as she was encapsuled within her pod and jettisoned out of her ship. She had been napping in her Badger Mk. II after a small hauling run for a faction agent. She flew over to her corporate hanger and opened up the HUD showing its contents. She selected the Rifter from the ever smaller list of ships. Ida was a die-hard Caldari, but even she knew the importance and tactical advantage afforded by a Rifter. It was cheap, quicker than most other frigates and had decent firepower to boot. The doors of the hanger opened and her pre-fitted Rifter floated serenely out into the light of the nearby star. She quickly docked and found herself in her command chair.

“Miners have been notified Commander.” Her Rifter’s computer iterated.

“Good. Immediately warp to the origin of the distress signal.” She felt a brief acceleration as she almost instantly left the safety of her station.

“Alliance leader Viaria notifies that she is 5 jumps out with a small force of battlecruisers and battleships. She asks that you hold out until she arrives. Please leave some for her.”

“Noted.” Ida felt the ship begin to decelerate. She began to see an asteroid belt in the distance among the stars, which quickly became larger until her ship was suddenly surrounded by hulking rocks. She could see a small metallic colony sitting on one of asteroids not too far away. Hybrid munitions streaked into metallic bulkheads of the colony. Molten metal oozed into space where they struck. 2 Hyperion class battleships bombarded the colony from 80 klicks away while 3 thorax class cruisers and several frigates fired from up close. Her instincts told her to burn towards the battleships, but logically she knew she would never be able to put a scratch in their armor.

“Target the slowest frigate and Initiate MWD systems…. Overload the MWD while you’re at it.” She ordered. The Rifter rocketed forward. Her only hope to save the colony would be to grab the attention of the assailants.

As soon as she was within falloff range, she opened fire. Projectiles from her autocannons streaked into the unsuspecting frigate, robbing it of its shield. Another couple volleys and it exploded into several pieces. The pilot was ejected in his pod. Ida didn’t have the time to turn on the pod. She ordered the computer to target the two remaining frigates and open fire. The next frigate was a little quicker than the last and took several more volleys to fell.

“Commander, Viaria notifies she is one jump out and rapidly approaching the system. Additionally, the colony is into structure and will not last much longer.”

“Overload all remaining systems, including autocannons and take out that last frigate. Prepare to engage the cruisers.”

“Yes, Commander. The Hyperion class battleships are initiating their sensor boosters and have commenced targeting actions. At this range we will not last long.” The last frigate exploded into a ball of molten metal.

Ida was already circling the cruisers, but being much further away from the battleships, it wouldn’t be too hard for the large turrets to track her small ship as it would be if she had been up close.

“Viaria is in-system and warping to location”.

“Noted.” Suddenly a huge explosion rocketed into the tiny Rifter. Its shields were instantly depleted and its armor was left scorched.

“Battleships have aggressed Commander”.

In the distance, Ida could see several Rokh class battleships and drake battlecruisers mercifully enter space not too far from the Hyperion battleships. Each Rokh had a full complement of blasters and began to make short work of the Gallente battleships…. But not before their hybrid railguns began to bristle with energy for one final volley.

And suddenly… there it was, utter and complete. Peace… Tranquility… Pure silence…

As quickly as it had come, it was robbed from her. Ida’s eyes jerked open as she abruptly became aware or her surroundings. She was in the clear canister of the generic med bay of a station, a room that could be found in thousands of stations all over New Eden. A thick, blue viscous substance clung to her. It was everywhere, absolutely everywhere. She could feel it flowing in and out of her lungs as she breathed. It invaded every pore and crevasse of her skin. Just when she couldn’t take it any longer, seams appeared in the canister which promptly split open. She spilled out onto the deck with a torrent of blue goo. Air flooded into her new lungs as Ida violently retched up more goo. She clutched the deck meekly. She was weak, so weak.

A tall figure stood passively above her, silently watching her pale form struggle. A neat long lab coat accentuated a hardened, but clean shaven, face. Pity chipped away at the granite facade he exuded.

“You again.” His voice was thick and raspy with experience.

She coughed up some more, all the while trying in vain to raise herself up onto her knees. He kneeled down, grabbed her roughly by the bicep and pulled her up forcefully. She stood there for a second, briefly suspended by the upward momentum and then slumped, held aloft by only the med-tech’s strong grasp.

“Stupid Capsuleer” he said. “I hope it was worth it this time.”

Ida smiled weakly “For once… it was”.

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