Tyrannis: Contest Winners

Well, the votes have been tallied, the stars added. Spammers have been disqualified for the good of all, and the results are in!

Again I want to thank everyone who took the time to submit an entry: it’s not easy being a writer!


Forgottenby SN1P3R001

Congratulations! This is an incredible piece of fiction masterfully crafted as evidenced by the overwhelming response from every reader! You’ve won yourself 2 BILLION ISK as well as a $75 gift certificate for the EVE ONLINE STORE! I’ll be contacting you by email shortly to arrange prize collection.


Memories by Casparian

Congratulations! Another wonderful piece of prose submitted for the contest! You’ve won yourself 1 BILLION ISK as well as a $50 gift certificate for the EVE ONLINE STORE! I’ll be contacting you by email shortly to arrange prize collection.


In addition to the winners above, the following three authors have been deemed winners for their outstanding efforts, compelling stories, and reader responses. Each of you has won $250 million isk and a $25 gift certificate for the EVE ONLINE STORE!

Zero Hour – by Kreigen

Death from Aboveby Jack Carrigan

They Shine by Ryan Darkwolf

Unannounced Bonus Prize

I always find it fun to offer extra, silly, vain surprises. To that end, even though I said I wouldn’t do it, I picked my personal favourite story. Congratulations! You’ve won yourself a signed poster of Roc Wieler based on the image I showed yesterday! I’ll be in touch with you via email soon about how to collect your prize.

The Fieldby Nomzi Nomnialli

There were a lot of wonderful stories, and there was no favouritism shown for the official prizing, but there was just something that stood about Nomzi’s story that really stuck with me.  Good work all around from everyone. Again, thank you for participating. I truly do appreciate it.

Well, that’s it for CCP/Roc’s Tyrannis contest! I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did, and I look forward to you sticking around, reading the blog, getting to know a little more about my life in New Eden.

Until then, fly safe.

Tyrannis: Contest Ended

The window for entering CCP’s/Roc’s Tyrannis Contest is now officially closed. All entries have been received and posted, including a final batch of last minute entries I received late last night.

On behalf of the wonderful people at CCP and myself, thank you for your incredible interest in this contest. I think it’s safe to say everyone has quite a bit of quality reading to do over the next while thanks to all of you.

I’ve learned a few things during this contest, about contest management, expectations, fairness, etc, etc.

One of those things I would like to share with you is the notion of “popularity contests”.

It bothered me when someone commented that this was merely nothing more than a popularity contest. Upon giving it some thought, and digging around, I discovered they were right, and a solution was needed. I mean, even though I’m no longer part of the Tribal Liberation Force, I’m still a man of honour and want to make sure the right thing is always done.

To that end, I consulted with PyjamaSam, the smartest guy I know. With his help, we came up with an equation that gave greater weight to the star rating than the number of users, as well as a diminishing return penalty based on how many days the entry had been posted, as older entries had more chance of getting votes than new entries. This morning, as I started tallying results, the equation seems solid. Entries from even the last day are successfully competing against entries from the first days.

Another item that concerned me greatly was spam. Here I simply need to thank WordPress for their wonderful tools. It was easy to identify which posts were getting spam, and when re-reading a few emails sent to me, plus some of the comments on certain entries, I was quick to disqualify the spamming entrants.

So, while I take the next little while to get everything in order, double check the results, and sit back and relax for the first time in 18 days, know that I appreciate everyone’s efforts and all the hard work that went into your submissions.

PS. Not sure if anyone noticed yet, but the blog is now pointing to http://www.rocwieler.com. This is all part of an initiative I am starting with the next issue of EON magazine. There has been a lot of change in my life lately, and I think that needs to be reflected.

Here’s a sneak peek of the upcoming ad, and HERE is a link to the desktop wallpaper version.

Tyrannis: The Poorly Made Man

– by Haav0c

“Please elder, tell the poorly-made man story again!”, the children cry. A man, with a smile on his face surrounded by wrinkles of age on all sides, leans back against the wall of the hut. “Fine, children, I will tell you the story of the poorly-made man”.

“It is the third day of the planting. The three moons, Alaha, Moroha, and Gleema shine high into the night sky, bathing the unsown fields with their blue

light as the tribe sows the morana seed.

Then, there is a light in the sky, like a new ancestor, shining over us. But, children, this light was not an ancestor. It grew, like the rising sun, but

fast, until the light came to rest outside the village.

The sowing forgotten, we creeped towards the light, like stalking the wild brunda, who roam the plains. What we find is no brunda. It is no ancestor either.

It was shaped like a man, only wrong, and blacker than night. The chest was not some tanned, taught expanse of brown skin, but a drum, big enough to hold a

man twice over. The legs were bulky, big blocky things, like the gods had spent little time sculpting legs that were meant to run like brunda or dance in the

firelight. The head was much the same, there were no eyes for seeing, no ears, no nose, just a ball, with holes in the front where the eyes should be.

The arms were much like the legs, and seemed horrible for the intricate weaving of morana baskets or throwing a spear, with the wrong number of fingers, only

three. They lay at his side, unused. Then, the sphere lit with light like the sun, and the ground around the black-as-night man lit like day, but only blue,

with bumps and mounds where we could all swear there were no clumps of grass.

Sees-the-horizon, with the best eyes among us, climbed a sturdy morica tree, whose fruit is small and tasteless, but is ideal for looking for herds of

brunda. He crept back down, and told us what he saw.

The blue light was not just a light, it was a map. Sees-the-horizon could see all of the land around us, the twin rivers, Sheka and Roanka, and all the land

between them. The rocks and caves we hide in, hidden to prying eyes, were clear as day on this magic.

Then, we watched as the ghostly blue caves vanished, and turned into a great block, with lights smaller than the smallest arrowhead on the side, in little

rows. Blue lines spread from the cave, across the rivers and trees, ending with more blue boxes and spreading to another. It was beautiful.

We left for the night, and talked with the elders, them as old then as I am now. They listened without speaking, and with little discussion told us to return to him in the morning with gifts.

Come morning, we returned, with stalks-the-herd’s second best spear, a necklace of brunda bones and a basket of morana seed.

The man still stood there, still black, with the blue picture on the ground, as beautiful as it was the night before. It was different, though. In the corner closest to us, we could see thin wavy lines, looking just as the rivers around our territory, with the blue lines and boxes still present. Lines went from our territory far away, a beautiful web, like a half-woven basket, and in front of the man a square, blocky shame spun and rotated, growing more detailed with every minute.

I was the one to walk to the man, not out of bravery but because no-one else would. The second my foot landed on the very edge of the blue web, the graceful spins of the object stopped like death had claimed it, and the black man moved for the first time, the head that was not a head turning towards me. I kept walking to spears distance, too far away for blows but close enough for a spear thrust, the distance all tribes hold their discussions in. The man did not react as I held the gifts out to him, nor when I laid them at his blocky feet and walk quietly backwards. The rest of the tribe, emboldened by my approach, stands with hands out to show we mean no harm. His head turns and the holes grow and shrink, making a sound like running a spear along the bark of the morika.

As I clear the edge of where the blue square is and stand with my tribe, the blue light shines again. There are no lines, no blocks, but there is red. The river is the boundary again, and I see red shapes that were not there before. We look closer, and each one is the shape of a man. Sees-the-horizon moves to my side to see better, and we all gasp as one of the red shapes moves to the other. The rivers shrink, and the red shapes lose their shapes, as the picture seems to grow bigger, while not changing size. The red shapes grow closer and merge into one as the image grows, but there are other red spots as well. I recognise the Harana tribe territory, who we exchange children with to prevent the broken-child curse, because it is surrounded by lakes, in my memories and in the picture.

The black misshapen man is still silent, but the map grows abruptly bigger, and the red dot of us merges with the red dot where the Harana tribe is, as other red dots appear, farther away than any of our tribe could hope to travel. The map suddenly stops its growing, and vanishes. The black man moves for the first time, with noises like ten spears against a tree, as the awkward legs move him away from us, leaving the gifts where he stood. He stops, outside of a spears throw, and stands there for the longest time.

We gather the gifts, and return to the elders. They are offended, as a refusal of a gift means a refusal of peace, meaning the black man means to fight us, to hunt in our territory and burn our morana fields. We wait until dark, gather spears and bola, and amass a party of twenty men, who softly run to where the black man was. Before they leave the village, though, there is a rush of flame and light. A blue light, pulsing like my chest, flies skyward.

No-one knows what happened. The black man is gone, but the ground where he stood is black as he was. It fades, in time, and no black men ever return. It was a great day for our tribe, as the best enemy is the one who is defeated without fighting.”

Tyrannis: Temptation’s Price

– by Calvin Ciaphas

“It is with great honor and even greater privilege that I introduce this years graduates. Every year I am increasing amazed at the fantastic potential that passes though this university’s halls.” The speaker adjusted his glasses and gripped the podium. “Minds that were of high caliber entering, and an of even higher when they exit. Men and women of our state, who faithfully completed their educations exceeding all expectations. The Caldari people are strengthened by their resolve, even before they have begun to serve. That is why it is now, with tremendous pleasure, that I now pass the stage to this years Valedictorian, Richard Tentatio!” Thunderous applause began as a robbed figure walked up to shake the speakers hand.
“Rick turn off that holo would you? I already had to suffer through that once today.”
“Suffer? It’s not everyday that Dean Mif says my name without being furious.” Rick turned off the holodeck on the table and with a smug grin, picked up his glass. “So then. Have you given my offer any thought?” He took a long drag off his cigarette.
“What offer? I can only recall a suicidal rant about signing up for a pod corporation in Null Sec, all while you were drunk enough to make a Gallente Midshipman blush. If I wanted to die right after graduation I would have shot myself already.”
“Oh come on Bhin, you know very well that’s not the case. Maxi-Mine has been operating in it’s production sectors for decades, and it hasn’t been at war with anyone since it’s conception. And even if it did, it’s got the guns of the Four Swords Alliance backing them up.”
“I’m not thick you know.” Bhin sat up in his seat and waved an empty glass at the idle service bot. “These corporations are at each other throats constantly. Hell, half the time they just kill each other for sport.”
The bot scuttled over and took the glass as politely as it was capable.
“Another lager please.”
“That’s just bunk the state pushes on us so we piss our pants and never leave home.” Rick finished off his beer and handed it to the bot. “Lager for me as well.” He sat up in his seat and adjusted his jacket. “They’ve invested quite a pretty penny in us, and they don’t want us shipping out to places deemed nontaxable.” He smiled and took another drag on this cigarette. “In Null Sec, guys like us can make fortunes in days that would take decades in empire, and again they can’t tax one red cent of it. So come on, you work a few years on a planet no one will so much as sneeze over and then retire like a king before you’re thirty.”
The service bot returned with fresh glasses and placed them the two ceramic coasters on the table.
“Yeah well, maybe… but how come we don’t hear about guys going out and striking it rich all the time?”
“Because there’s so much money to be made! You really think the state would let that stuff filter through to the public? If you heard about that before, would you still want to sign up for some small time mining corp taxed to death by the state? Listen, you remember Alan Brish?”
“Of course, got us into the Honors Society early. Didn’t he graduate after our freshman year?”
“Sure did, and I happened to keep in touch with him ever since. He signed up with Maxi-Mine and has been raking in more money than both our families will make in a lifetime.”
“I’m sure…” Bhin rolled his eyes and thumbed the side of his glass.
“I don’t joke about money Bhin, you off all people should know that.” Picking up the drink in front of him, Rick took off his hat, revealing his shaved scalp highlighted with blonde stubble. “But here’s the best part. How much would you stand to make in a year, before taxes, if you stayed in the Empire?”
“I dunno, depends I guess… twenty thousand ISK maybe?” He sheepishly replied starting to take a drink
“And that’s if it’s a good company with good contracts.” He leaned in and motioned for Bhin to do the same. “Alan can stand to make fifty thousand in one day.”
Bhin choked on his beer, and spent a few moments coughing.
“Bullshit!” he spat.
“No bullshit, and that was when he was just working asteroid belts. Word is, the company is planning to literally set down roots planet side. There’s a huge hiring surge on the way and freshly graduated geologists are just what they’re looking for.”
“Come on, that’s way to dangerous for me. My parents would be worried sick for the entire tour.”
“Ha! That’s it, think of your parents. Haven’t they worked their fingers to the bone for you? You know better than me just how much they scrimped and saved to put you through school even with those state scholarships. A few years out in the Null, and you can retire yourself and them on your very own moon. I’m just saying they should be able to relax in their golden years.”
“Don’t play that card on me pal… but I guess… you do kind of have a point.”
“There we go! You can see the word of reason yet. We’re the best and brightest of our lot, and you know it. We deserve better than what those statesmen deem fit.” Rick slapped his friend on the shoulder and reached into his jacket pulling out a small data slate. “Here, you can sign up for the same shuttle as me. It’s leaving this week you know, the very last one for a good long while.” A few clicks on the screen and a rather impressive looking contract was brought up. “All you need to do is sign up here and meet with the Human Resources rep before we leave.” He slid the slate across the table and handed Bhin the stylus. “Our fortunes await just a few light years away.”
“I wish I was as confident as you are. I don’t want to wind up being a forgotten corpse in the middle of nowhere… but that sure would be a lot of money…” Bhin took the stylus and scribbled his name on the contract.
“Alright then, we’ll get packing right away.” He picked up the tablet and stuffed it back into his jacket. “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I’m getting an extra signing bonus for snagging you, but I didn’t want to scare you off before. Don’t worry thought, I’ll be sure to split it with you.” Bhin’s face crumpled for a moment as he processed the last sentence but relaxed as he shrugged his shoulders.
“You’ve always been an asshole Rick.” he sighed, downing the last of his beer.
“Your attention please, all personnel are required to locate their gates for final boarding.” Small lights embedded in the floor beneath Rick and Bhin’s feet illuminated. “Penalties for missing a scheduled transport include, but are not limited to the docking of wages, company probation, and reeducation of company policy.” The lights began pulsing in the direction of the hangers.
“Looks like we’re on our way at last. The first step on a journey to becoming rich men.” Rick hefted his duffel bag over his shoulder and tapped the floor with his foot.
Bhin followed suit, and sighed, gazing at the floor. “I really hate flying; jumping even more.”
“Ha! Tell you what, if you get sick, lunch is on me when we get there.”
The two started down the corridor and merged with a herd of other recruits. Entering the hanger to check in with a manager.
Rick flipped though the paper work they received. “Ah here we go, we need to get to gate ten, and we’ll be flying in… the Scarlet Midget?”
Bhin leaned over, confused at the name.
“That’s the name of the ship, seriously, it’s being flown by a capsuleer too.”
“Why would you give a ship such a ridiculous name?”
“Dunno… but I suppose when you make the kind of money he does, it must not really matter. He probably has whole fleet of ships with equally ludicrous names. See what I mean? We’ll be able to afford our own armada soon enough.”
“I’m fine with just finding my seat at the moment.”
The Scarlet Midget proved to be a Gallente Ishkur, a small assault frigate that specialized in drone warfare. It sat modestly in the hanger, and with green and white armor there was little for it to be called scarlet. The gangway lead into the cargo bay, where a section was retrofitted to hold passengers. Seats were plentiful as it appeared that the pair were the only ticket holders. Bhin threw his bag up onto the rack above their seats and began strapping it down. Rick did the same and pulled a small box out his pocket.
“Here take one of these.” He pulled small blue pill out of the container and handed it to Bhin. “Just a little something to help you with the trip.”
“It’s not going to be like the last time you gave me drugs is it?”
“Of course not, I guarantee no one will turn into a fox or a black hole.”
“You’re a scream when you want to be.”
A small red light started flashing above them and a voice came over the intercom.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking… actually since I’m the only one doing anything useful on this ship I suppose I could be the stewardess as well. But since I’m in charge of keeping the blood inside your bodies, captain will do just fine.”
“That sounds reassuring…” Bhin groaned and readjusted his seat straps.
“Oh yes, welcome aboard the Scarlet Midget and thank you for choosing Maxi-Mine as your means of make me piles of money. Please fasten yourselves in as tightly as possible, we don’t expect to get shot at, but the day is still young! Sorry about the lack of company, I was originally just picking up some blueprints, but the brass decided to tack you guys on as well. If I were you I’d be relieved. After all, those prints are worth far more than you pair any day, so I’ll be flying extra careful.”
Bhin looked over at Rick “This guy’s worse than you. I’m surprised your not a capsuleer.”
“Would if I could Bhin, would if I could.”
The ship shuddered, releasing from the station couplers. Inertia dampeners kicked in and the pair felt their stomachs drop a few inches before adjusting to the new gravity.
“Thought you newcomers might like a look at some of our fancy toys, just try getting a glimpse of this in empire space.” A screen popped on with a visual of the exterior. The ship aligned itself to some point in the system and activated its warp engines. Light blurred and flashed around the ship for several moments until it arrived at a dead space point. Ships were already amassing in the hundreds, with one ship several kilometers away from everyone else.
“Keep an eye on that lone wolf right there; going to put on quite a show pretty soon.”
The small craft wasn’t moving, and shortly after the captain had given this advice, sparks started appearing in front of it. Sparks turned to vibrant flashing and finally a soft explosion of light left a glowing orb in front of the ship.
“Ha ha! Bhin look! They’ve opened a cynosural field! I’ve only read about them, I couldn’t even find a holo of one, and now here we are about to go through one!”
“Who said that? Yeah that’s right I’m listening to ya. You think we’re going through it? Nah, that’s just sticking our thumb out for a ride. Should be along any second now.”
The orb continued to glow and seemed to be vibrating with a higher intensity than before. Shimmering in the distance a similar orb formed, darker than the first. Then with the same intensity and speed that the first orb had formed, the second grew unthinkably large before exploding in a flash of light, leaving behind a ship so colossal neither Rick or Bhin could believe was being shown on screen.
“To the ignorant or non believers amongst you, that my mortal money makers is none other than an Eerbus class titan. It specializes in providing logistics, over whelming firepower, and being the single largest war deterrent money can buy, one of five courtesy of the Four Swords Alliance. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to navigate to the jump portal, get ready to travel five light years in the blink of an eye. Just don’t get sick on the seats, they’re new. Ha!”
“Holy Mother, Bhin… a titan. I’ve never seen one up close… the largest ships in existence and we’ve got five on our side!”
“Yeah… but think what has to be out there to need that many… sorry, but a ship the size of a small moon kind of terrifies me.”
An image of a small dog took over the screen “That’s the whole bloody point!” it barked in the captains annoying voice.
Rick chuckled “Are we supposed to think there’s a dog flying this ship?”
“Well of course not, I just happen to enjoy looking like it. But if you like, I guess I could give you a peek under the hood.”
Rick recalled stories and rumors as to what capsuleers looked like inside their pod and instantly hoped he wouldn’t find out. “Um well, I think we’d rather…”
Rick was cut off as the screen changed again, this time showing a pale corpse floating in a cloudy green liquid. Cables and machinery ran all over the body, some connecting directly to it’s spine, the largest of which were connected to head; encased in a large helmet.
The dog reclaimed the screen “There’s something to write home about ‘eh? Now you know exactly what’s floating around in these pods.” the captain barked with a cheerful demeanor.
“Hey Rick, I think I’m going to be sick now.”
Their Ishkur slowly impulsed towards the titan. The massive ship stretched for kilometers, and very well had the internal capacity to hold every ship in attendance. Instead, the ship began warming up it’s jump portal generators. Like the initial jump, it too would use a cynosural field, this time deployed in Maxi-Mine space, to transport every ship in the blink of an eye. Once more, the void jumped with spontaneous sparks and flashes, energy surging within a singularity in front of colossus. Another burst of light and sitting in front of the ships was a miniature wormhole known as a jump portal.
“Ha ha! We are lucky, lucky boys indeed. We’ve been scheduled to be the first ship though. Please hold on to all personal organs and fluids while we go between two points in space faster than the speed of light.”
The Ishkur increased speed and aligned itself with portal. As it grew nearer, time seemed to slow for the passengers in the hold. All of reality stretched and swayed as the ship was compressed impossibly small and then stretched back to it’s original size.
Bhin’s stomach finally betrayed him and gave his seat an interesting new color scheme.
“Hope the trip was as fun for you as it was for me. Well it was probably more fun for me, I get a tasty cocktail of all sorts of drugs when I go through one of those. After all, we wouldn’t want to risk little ‘ol me getting queasy when popping into an enemy position.”
“I’m going to start needing drugs just from listening to this guy.” Muttered Rick under his breath.
“Heard that. It’ll be on the transcript to if you want to hear it again when we dock.”
Rick sank as far into his seat as far as he could.
“Well boy’s we are now officially in Null Sec. If I weren’t being paid so fabulously by the dullard miners I work for, I could eject you into the void with no more repercussion than if I had ejected a load of veldspar.”
Bhin coughed and spat out “Are all pod pilots as sadistic as you, or are we just lucky?”
“Yes I suppose we all are, and yes again. You’re fabulously lucky to get me, most of my coworkers would have popped you out and paid the difference, but I don’t get to talk to mortals that often, so I tend to enjoy the novelty.”
Quiet overtook the ship as the pilot began their journey and the passengers recovered from the shock of jumping. Some time pasted and the trip began to seem almost bearable. Without warning the ship shuddered and resonated. Before the first shock had even ended, a second made the ship creak even more.
“Thought you might like to know, we’re under fire from some pirates. You can watch If you like.”
The screen in front of Bhin and Rick flickered and now displayed a pale green, fish shaped ship. Dull green lights shown from it’s belly as bright streaks of light shot out from its guns striking the frigate. A Serpentis Vexor cruiser, nearly three times the size of the frigate.
“Just so you know, this is really cute. He hasn’t even scratched the shields yet. If I wasn’t in a hurry, I’d scrap him right here and now. But we still have a ways to go.”
The ship shook again, but this time an odd hum remained.
“Oh that’s swell. He’s jamming the warp drive. Well, can’t go anywhere with that going on. Looks like I’ll just have to pop him.
The screens camera moved towards the aft of the ship where a small door opened. With the swiftness of angry hornets, five drone ships popped out and orbited their host. In a calculated unison, they sped off towards the cruiser. At the same time, the frigate adjusted it’s course and flew towards the pirate. The drones arrived first and in sequence began firing volleys of high velocity anti-matter rounds. In the upper right hand corner of the screen, three bars labeled shields, armor, and hull appeared. As the drones continued their assault, the shield bar quickly lowered and the armor began to chip away.
“You know boys, there’s only one job I’ve truly taken a liking to, that being munition sales.”
The frigates guns swiveled and fixed their barrels on the cruiser.
“In fact, I’ve even come up with my own hook. I give all of my potential customers free samples, delivered straight through their bulk heads!”
The guns fired and their distinctive whine echoed thought the ship. Fiery bolts of anti-matter suspended in a magnetic field, raced across the void; striking the cruiser with deadly precision; gaping holes formed on it’s side. The armor bar fell completely followed by the the hull falling to a tenth of it’s original height. The drones released another volley, finally compromising the ships structure. The ship jerked as a small explosion rocked it’s engines. Then with an eerie silence, the entire ship burst into a white fireball, dissipating just as quickly as it formed.
“Oh shoot… another customer who didn’t like the samples. Well that was fun, sorry about the delay.”
Bhin shifted in his seat and started readjusting his straps “Jeez… you actually enjoyed killing that guy?”
“Guy? You mean guys. Serpentis doesn’t fly pods out here. Actually I don’t even think they have any, that would be a shiny kill let me tell you, much bigger bounty than this one.”
“You mean there was more than one person on there?”
“Sure, whole cruisers worth. Ship that size would have a least a few thousand, even with a skeleton crew”
Disgust leaked out of Bhin’s face“So you just kill thousands of people like it was nothing?”
“Well they shot us first, and then they webbed us. Once again welcome to Null Sec aka Zero Security space. The only laws out here are the ones you enforce yourself, and as you can see that’s done by the gun… or rocket… or drone… I like drones, they’re a lot cheaper.”
Bhin finished strapping himself in and stared at the floor. “Rick… now I think I’ve officially made a mistake.”
Thirty minutes of silence passed before the captain spoke up once more. “Ladies and Gentlemen it is my esteemed pleasure to welcome you to your new home, SVX-D4 planet V. We’ll be docking up at the orbital station soon, where you can find a shuttle to surface or just jump out if you so choose. Station time is 00:38 and once again I’d like to thank you for flying on the Scarlet Midget. I’ve enjoyed our time together, but don’t expect me to stick around, I’m shipping out to the boarders to shoot people who really matter. Ta ta for now and don’t forget your bags.”
Bhin released his straps as fast as he could “Finally. I don’t think I could get off of this boat fast enough.” Hopping out of his seat he grabbed his bag and began walking towards the door.
Rick was still fumbling with his straps “Hey wait for me.”
The station was similar to the one they had departed from but almost entirely deserted. Off in the distance a bright neon sign was proudly displaying “Pub”.
Bhin rapped Rick on the shoulder “Here, you can make good on your little wager. Happy hour is a fine substitute for lunch.”
“Hey Rick how are those deposits looking?”
“Down to eighty percent, should last another week before we need to do any maintenance.”
“Sounds good.” Bhin checked off a few notes on his data slate. “We already have the next three months scouted right?”
“Finished this afternoon. You going to the pub after the shift?”
“Heck yes. You’d think after eight months I’d be sick of the place, but it has a certain charm.”
“I assume you mean the booze?” Rick smiled and busied himself with his own slate.
The panel in front of Bhin displayed the off-world shipments made in the past twenty-four hours. It froze for a moment and an alarm sounded.
“What’s it this time, another blocked pipe?” Rick murmured without looking up.
Bhin put down his slate and wheeled his chair over to the blinking screen. “No… looks like a meteor…” He tapped a few options on the screen and pulled up a visual of the object. “Oh heck, it’s a ship!” The camera panned along side the husk of a ship, obscured by the heat of reentry and totally unrecognizable. Bhin calculated it’s trajectory “Rick… it’s going to hit the command center…”
“Jeez… alright, we need to get a hold of anyone there and get them to evacuate.”
“Already ahead of you.” Bhin grabbed a handset on the table and called the command post. “Command this is outpost Gamma, we’re tracking a inbound ship on a crash course with your position.”
A crackled voice responded “Roger Gamma, we’re not tracking anything on our end.”
“Double check, I’ve got a ship the size of a cruiser breaking atmosphere on my cams and it’s heading right for you!”
“We’re still reading nothing, we’ll switch to visual.”
Static retook the com as Bhin watched his screen.
The ship seemed to be spinning slightly, but not enough for an object it’s size. Getting closer to the facility, it’s started to lurch up.
“Holy mother! Command, it’s still active. Was anything scheduled?”
“Negative Gamma, this is new to us.”
As the ship regained control it leveled out, still on course for the command center. Temporarily blinding the screen, a flurry of missiles and lasers shot out and struck the command center. Huge explosions covered the face of the building.
“Command this is Gamma, what’s your status?”
“All hell’s broken loose! The main reactor’s been compromised. We’re starting an eva-” The com cut out as the facility burst into a fiery hell.
“Holy…” Bhin was cut off by an emergency transmission from the orbital platform.
“This Orbital Platform Omega, who’s in charge down there now?”
Bhin racked his brain, if everyone in the command center was dead, then it would have to be… “Us…” he weakly squeaked.
“Then here’s the sit-rep. The whole sector’s under siege, pretty big force too, that bomber was knocked down by our forces and crashed after taking out your command center. Thing’s aren’t going so well up here, stay put and await further orders.” The transmission cut out.
Rick jumped from his chair and raced to Bhin’s panel. “Holy hell… get a sky cam online.”
Bhin tapped the screen again and the picture changed to the sky above their outpost. Even from the surface, the onslaught was visible. The camera zoomed in as far as it could, revealing ships of all sizes. The void swelled with battleships exchanging volleys to tackler frigates doing their best to lock down the defenders. Suddenly huge explosions racked the distance as an invading capital fleet emerged from warp. Ships only slightly smaller than titans directed their massive weaponry at the defenders. Within minutes there was no one left to fire back.
Bhin and Rick stood silent, unable to look away from the battle above.
“What are we going to do?” Rick stammered.
“How the hell should I know?”
“Don’t we have a capital fleet to come to the rescue? I thought we had guns? I was told we have guns!”
“Calm down, they must be on their way.”
The screen flashed again as another transmission from the platform announced itself.
“Outpost Gamma, this is Orbital Platform Omega, do you copy?”
Bhin scrabbled for the handset “We read you, what the hell is going on?”
“We’re frakked is what’s going on… our forces have been completely overwhelmed and the company is ordering a full retreat to neighboring systems.”
“How are we getting out of here then?”
Silence overtook the com for several moments.
“We aren’t… the company as decided to cut their losses and give up this system for the time being.”
“What?! They can’t just leave us!”
“Well that’s what they’ve done and that’s the situation. Stand by for further orders…”
Bhin dropped the receiver and turned to Rick. “What the hell are we going to do?”
Rick said nothing and stumbled back into his chair. “I… I don’t know…” He leaned forward and put his hand on his forehead. “Maybe… maybe they won’t kill us? Maybe they’ll need us just like Maxi-Mine did. We could still get paid.”
“How are you thinking about money at a time like this? Everyone at the command post is dead, these guys seem real eager to collect their winnings.”
“It wasn’t supposed to be like this, ok?” Ricks voice grew frantic as he began pacing the floor “This wasn’t supposed to happen. We were supposed to sit on our asses, mining rocks for these pod dwelling freaks, and make fat sacks of cash doing it.” He slumped back down into his seat and held his head in his hands. “I don’t to die out here.”
“Well… neither do I…” Bhin couldn’t think of anything else to say.
An hour passed before anything happened. The panel flashed once more with a transmission.
Bhin looked it over. “It’s a video broadcast…”
“Maybe it’s the directors wanting to make a big speech about winning?” Rick was frantic again. “Come on! Play it!”
Bhin pressed play.
The image of an elderly gentlemen came into view, he wore long flowing robes and had a wide assortment of precious stones around his neck. He was sitting behind a glass desk, sipping a cup of tea. “Hello, I am Reyo Ulmarti, chief executive officer of Falcons Head Spacing and Trade corporation. I would first like to apologize for any stress caused by recent events. As you may be fully aware, we have annihilated the defending forces in your system and have already begun establishing sovereignty over it. The Four Swords Alliance has been disbanded by a mole and all of their territory is currently under siege. You have no hope of rescue, please do not do anything rash.” He put the tea cup down. “We are not ones to waste assets acquired through… hostile takeovers.” A small smile flickered before returning to his serious demeanor. “My sincerest condolences go out to the personnel who died when one of our pilots crashed planet side, he has since been reprimanded. Now, the matter of your employment.” He shifted a data slate on his desk and folded his hands on his lap.“We at Falcons Head run a much tighter operation than our predecessors, and do so by eliminating unnecessary costs. For instance, we were simply floored at how much money Maxi-Mine was spending on your payroll alone, which will result in cuts across the board. As well, we at Falcons Head are a capsuleer first corporation and have no intention of wasting money on single purpose personnel. That is why it is my esteemed duty to announce that you are now property of the Falcons Head Spacing and Trade corporation. Explosive collars will be fitted during your next resupply, resistance will be met with capital force. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience and hope you all have a nice day.”

Tyrannis: Meet the New Boss

– by Nestor X

“Final copies, proofed and printed,” said the woman, gracefully tossing a thick stack of forms onto Morshan’s desk. “Just missing the signatures. Two, on the last page,” she added helpfully.

“Thank you, Kay,” responded the man behind the desk. With a gesture he dismissed a report scrolling just above the desk’s worn surface, and turned to the documents, leafing through them idly. All seemed in order. Selecting a black pen he signed twice at the appropriate locations and handed the documents back.

She took the papers, and then hesitated for a moment. “Something else, Kay?”

“It’s just that…” she paused. “Prices are up again. The front’s still a dozen systems away, but… what am I saying; you’ve seen the reports.”

Morshan’s shoulders slumped. “I know. Everything’s gone up.”

Kay gave him a long look. “I trust you. I know the cuts are across the board. Still—most people won’t even read the reports. They’ll just see the numbers falling.”


“Falling, Mister Aduralis! That’s all wages did over the past four months!” The People’s Voice strutted about on the short platform, a thin man with a keen lawyer’s nose for blood in the water. One didn’t rise to People’s Voice without a talent for prosecution, after all.

The Voice rattled a form in front of the unkempt figure sitting behind the dull steel table. “Morshan Aduralis, this is you, correct?”

Morshan looked at the paper. It was his signature all right. It looked naked, sitting on the line at the bottom of the form in bare black ink. None of the little flourishes that made penmanship an art, none of the strong lines of a proud decision. Just bare black scratches.

“I signed the order.”

“Straight to the point. I like that about you, Morshan,” jested the Voice in an aside. “Never bothered with splitting hairs; always liked lopping them off instead. A clean cut, just like with our salaries,” he added in a louder voice for the benefit of the cameras. “Care to explain just what Order 207 did?”

It saved your lives, you idiots, screamed Morshan silently.

“Order 207 instituted a global freeze on benefits and started a series of pay reductions, to accumulate in a twenty-three point nine percent drop over the next six standard months,” he recited stonily, staring the Voice in the eye.

“Wow,” replied this other sarcastically, “I’m impressed. You managed to say that without blinking. And without looking at the document, either,” he added for the cameras. “A guilty conscience makes the crime hard to let go of, after all.”

Laughter outside, where a huge crowd had undoubtedly assembled. The courtroom was closed to the general public, but somehow managed to be packed with various notables and dignitaries, all of whom probably contributed a nice pile of isk towards the High Archon’s retirement fund. He looked bored up there behind the raised platform; this wasn’t much of a trial anyways. The cameras confirmed that.

The Voice had kept talking, but now had finally come out of the flowery mode of address reserved for the cameras and found another question for the witness.

“So tell me, Morshan, aside from your hatred of the Glaaran people, what drove you, a harsh but mostly rational planetary administrator, to take a plasma torch to this planet’s economic infrastructure?”

He ignored the barbs and answered the question straightforwardly, in an unperturbed voice. “Without the cuts this planet is not and cannot be profitable.”

“Ah, the almighty god of isk. So that’s who you serve, hm?”

“No,” Morshan replied sharply, “but the Cranton Corporation does. The same corporation that owns—” he caught himself. “That owned this planet and paid for the defence fleets,” he continued in a strong tone that made even the preposterous Voice pause.

“If this planet isn’t profitable, Cranton pulls out. You’ve all heard the news reports about the Sansha. Unless this planet is in the black, no one will want to defend it.”

“That’s a mighty fine plan right there,” conceded the Voice. “In fact, it’d be a great plan. If only,” he nearly shouted, “if only you were right! The People’s Voice invites Wilsung Strage to speak!”

A man rose from the audience, wearing in an impeccable suit of the highest Empire fashion. “People of Glaarus! On behalf of the Hakatena Corporation, you have nothing to fear. I’ve seen the books, run the numbers, and—” here he paused and gave a genial smile, “—you’ve got nothing to fear. Cranton Order 207 is rescinded. I present to you Hakatena Order One: full pay and bonuses, effective immediately!”

Morshan didn’t need to read the summary his defence coordinator had provided him; the statistics spoke for themselves. Hakatena forces were drawing closer. They had been for weeks now, but this was a full-scale offensive; Glaarus wasn’t a strategic system by any means, but its planetary infrastructure made it ripe for the taking. Assuming the pay cuts didn’t directly lead to rebellion, Glaarus would remain profitable, and thus Cranton would defend it.

Still, he feared it was already too late. Sooner or later Hakatena would come. Glaarus was a source of income, but when push came to shove Cranton would pull out in favor of more important assets in nearby systems. Capsuleers may be immortal but their ships were not; Cranton couldn’t afford a siege. A dedicated push by Hakatena would lead to the fall of Glaarus. Morshan hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

Optimism wouldn’t stop him from writing the letter, though.

“To the Hakatena Planetary Administrator,” he wrote. Then frowned. Crumpled the paper, grabbed a new one.

“To the poor bastard they stick here after getting rid of me,” he began.

Wilsung Strage gave a little bow and sat back down as the crowd outside roared with approval. The Voice waited for a bit, knowing that the throngs would need a bit of time to simmer down again. He got the High Archon’s attention with a nod and strutted to the center of the courtroom.

“Your Honor! I thank the esteemed representative from Hakatena. I think Order One speaks for itself.” The Voice gave a low bow, then returned to his platform.

The High Archon rose. “After deliberation—” Morshan noticed the old man hadn’t said considerable deliberation, as was traditional for sentencing, “—we find Morshan Aduralis guilty of conspiring against the welfare of his corporation and a traitor to the Glaaran people. He will be shipped back to the Empire immediately and shot on sight if he should be found on Glaarus again.”

The gavel’s thump echoed in the chamber, mixing with the muted cheers of the crowd outside.

Tyrannis: In Dreams

– by Azenn

Part I of III:

Bishop twisted his lacerated neck towards the port-side hull window as best he could manage. He had been tethered mercifully to the upper catwalk, allowing him (unknown to the taskmaster, of course) what he loved best in life: a commanding view of an entire ship. The ironclad shackles bit hungrily into his slivered ankles, the chains lacing around his writs made him wince… but, ah! – he had done it. He had contorted himself into a freakish shape he would have once thought impossible at his thirty-two years of age. He had devolved back into the boy of his youth, slim and slender; but unhealthily so. His bruised ribs began to hurt, but what did it matter? Damn his withered back; that was his only worth to the corporate dogs. He would break himself if it meant enjoying this, his last fleeting glimpses of the sky, the stars, of freedom.

And what a sight it was, almost worth the price of his admission as human cargo on the Bestower class industrial. He couldn’t help but gasp. His lined eyes blinked in awe. The heavens in all their glory melted into sunfire around him; for even as the twilight sea of bluish-gray clouds swam past, it sparkled the colors of the setting sun: orange and gold and liquid crimson at the tips. Beautiful the clouds looked, dipped like translucent feathers in a sanguine ink. The dying red sun in this, the lonely fringe system of Saza, bathed everything in that pale glow. It dyed the mists and fog a watery red; it set aflame the enameled ship plates a smoky red; it even spotted the skin of the sickly man shackled to his left a putrid red… or maybe that was the blood he wheezed all over himself.

The Bestower sunk further into the ominous sea of clouds like an unwelcome lead weight; they were now completely enveloped in the darkening mist, now a light shade of purple. A nameless dread pushed against Bishop’s chest. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he was drowning, drowning somewhere deep in this lightless region of Aridia where all screams went muffled and all wails became choked gurgles underneath the cruel whip of the taskmaster. He rubbed his neck and traced his descent through the heavens. How far he had been swept from his tribe; how long it had been since his coming of age; but alas, through the stretches of time, here they were: the shimmering feathers he had once worn, dipped in the cloudy purple blood of the hunt.

Bishop bit down hard on his tongue. That had been the day it all changed. He remembered dancing round and round the bonfire, spurred by laughter and music, pressing his wife’s warm palm to his as they counted the stars and talked of growing old. It had been fourteen years since he had–

He paused, noticing the skeleton of a youth, impossibly famished beyond humanity, grinning at him from across the catwalk aisle. For a brief second, Bishop wondered if he himself now looked like that; and then he saw the dreadlocks, crusted with grey, and realized he stared at kin. Skeleton man was one of them, another Minmatar tribesmen, perhaps even from Bishop’s own homeworld.

Skeleton man laughed a dry cough; the kind of cackle made possible only when the mouth has long since traded spit for soot. They had gone waterless for two days.

‘Beautiful sight, isn’t it, mate?’ said skeleton man. ‘And I don’t mean you staring at me,’ he added with a wink.

Bishop shot him a feeble smile that he hoped made it across the shadowed space that gulfed them, lightless as it was save for the eerie red glow. He then shrugged as he turned to resume his vigil. ‘Yeah,’ said Bishop to the glass. They were canned like sardines in a barrel, and every conversation meant dozens of eavesdroppers. Only thoughts were private, and sometimes – like now — those could be stolen. He hated it.

The skeleton gave another hacked laugh. ‘You have kids, mate?’ he asked. ‘A wife, a family?’

Bishop froze. ‘Yeah,’ he said, clenching his fist. A bead of sweat broke on his broke, and he whipped himself back towards the skeleton man, and said, almost a yell: ‘Yeah, I have a family. Why?’

‘Hey, same here,’ said the skeleton, holding up his hands. He then motioned a bony finger towards the window. ‘Good on you if you’ve got someone you can say goodbye to, mate. They’re out there, somewhere amongst the stars. And us, as doomed men, should pay our respects. Each and every one of us. Already dead, we are.’

‘Shut the fuck up, would you?’ interrupted a wiry-looking woman to skeleton man’s left. She wiped the greasy strings of hair from her starved eyes with a shaky hand. ‘That’s the third time you’ve preached this rubbish. Shut up already! Just shut up. I’m sick of it. We don’t need to hear it.’

‘But it’s the truth,’ commented the sickly man to Bishop’s side. A wet cough rippled through him, but he soon continued: ‘We are the dead. We must be. For this planet is a dead world, a poisoned world, and it consumes the living.’

Wiry-woman shook as she glared at him. ‘What are you, a witchdoctor? Don’t spread rumors,’ she snapped. ‘Don’t spread rumors!’

The skeleton chuckled again. ‘But rumors are fun.’ He took on a dour face, and deepened his already scratchy voice. ‘They say on the palest of winter nights on Saza IX, if one listens long enough to the wind, you can hear the song of the legion-dead fast asleep in their unmarked graves.’

Wiry-woman turned the full force of her icy glare towards him, but an unfamiliar voice spared skeleton man the verbal reprimand that was about to accompany it.

‘And that’s the name of this planet, isn’t it?’ asked a hesitant voice from somewhere nearby, obviously well aware yet still dreading the answer. ‘Saza IX, right?’

The skeleton nodded. ‘Ever since the good old boys Concord lifted their ban, the Amarr corporate pigs have been tripping over themselves in delight. Why do you think they’ve been shipping us ‘voluntary’ migrant workers by the month to Saza IX? I’ll give you a hint: it’s not our women, renowned though they may be,’ he said, winking at wiry-hair.

She rolled her eyes, and skeleton man continued. ‘Let me tell you all something I heard. It’s an archaeological corporation that runs this site, yes? But they never run a dig; they don’t ever excavate ground; and they never build more shelters or warehouses. People come here. They don’t leave. What happens to them?’

‘They VANISH!’ shrieked what must have been a rather panicky woman somewhere out of sight. Bishop didn’t like the sickly man much, but he was sure glad he wasn’t chained next to her. ‘No one ever sees them again! Just like my kin who–’

‘That’s right,’ interrupted the skeleton, glancing down the catwalk aisle towards the dozing taskmaster. He lowered his voice as if to lead by example. ‘Wish doom on these Amarr dogs while we still draw breath. It was nice knowing you all, mates, but we drew the short stick.’

‘No!’ said wiry-hair with the fierce fire of desperation in her eyes that made even Bishop pause. ‘There’s always hope. Don’t listen to this Brutor village idiot. You have to believe. Let me hear you all say it.’

A silence fell between them all. No one said it. Bishop had closed his eyes. It would be nice to believe in something, but the skeleton was right. They would all die here on Saza IX, each and every one of them, like cheap cattle for the corporate slaughterhouses to meet some fat cat’s bottom line. And if they survived this desolation, if they made it a week, perhaps a month, maybe a year, what would it matter? In the cosmos, manpower fueled industry, and the captured tribesmen from various Minmatar fringe worlds would all be spent like horses and left in the morning slop for the birds of prey.

The skeleton grinned. ‘Hey, look at that. We’re here.’

And so they were. The Bestower coughed itself out of the blanket of mist that had smothered it, and all of a sudden, as if a wind had blown away the sheets, Bishop could see the shattered world that lay smoldering not more than a precarious fifty kilometers below him. If it had once been green, that time was long past. For all the world had turned to ash; and it swirled playfully with its brothers, the grey snow and yellow dust, all three smearing themselves like rain against the glassy port-side window. Bishop could see the empty ruins, so vast and so very silent, stretched out like a graveyard of twisted metal. Rubble littered the sunken, snow-covered streets. Fallen monuments, like toppled sepulchers, shone with a soft metallic gleam. And here and there and everywhere between, the colossal wrecks of an unremembered people, gilded silver and cloaked in translucent deathshrouds of mist, rose out of the barren landscape like ironclad cairns and vanished into the fog at dizzying heights.

One of those colossal wrecks swung dangerously close, and for a brief moment Bishop assumed they would crash and burn in a fiery inferno of charred steel. But with that thought, the heavy ship lurched sideways and upward, creaking like an old battering ram, and averted them from a passing fate. He heard a few curses from those around them as they banged and bruised limb against limb. But Bishop couldn’t help but smirk. He had shared a thought, trivial it may have been, with a pilot.

The ship leveled itself to the sound of the engine moaning. They now skirted at a safe altitude, well above the unreal city of the dead. Their course had them slowly sinking further into the red sun that itself sank on this ashen world.

‘Prepare yourselves,’ cackled the skeleton. ‘We’re descending again.’

((insert quarter for parts two and three))

Tyrannis: The Fields

– by Sadic Anark

It was a perfect summer day, the sun was high in the sky, only surrounded by a few fluffy white clouds. The fields painted with an almost infinite variety of greens extended over the hills. His eyes were fixed in the blue sky as his memory traveled trough time and space to a far away world not so long ago, when his family and him were taken aboard huge ships, along thousands of people, and traveled several days to this place… this place that his father called “home”. He was only 4 years old, and he didn’t had much memories of his past life before the long travel. He remembered his mother kneeling every morning to pray to someone called “God”, as his father looked down to her with a extremely sad look on his face. He also remembered his parents fighting the first night they were on the huge space ship; his mother was on the floor, crying quietly, as his father talked about “being finally free”, “beginning a new life”, “going back home”, “being a proud member of the Minmatar Tribes”, an another things that he didn’t quite understand yet. The only words that came out of her mother lips that night were “God is going to punish all of us for this”.

How could this little boy know that his first memories where from one of the most significant events in all of New Eden in the past decades? How could he even start to understand that he was one of the last Starkmanir alive? That he and his family had such a huge signification in the political landscape of the entire galaxy? He had been told that they were now at home, that he was now free of chains… it was weird, he didn’t remember being chained before, what was all this people talking about? The only things he knew for a fact was that they were living in the countryside of a small city in this new planet, he remembered his father coming back from working on large fields like the one he was lying on now on the past… but now he came back home smiling, he couldn’t understand the difference between the old planet and this new one, except that the one with the sad look on her face was now his mother. He was thinking about this when his eyes started to close, and a peaceful and warm feeling invaded his little body bathed by the sun… just before falling sleep on the grass he thought he heard his father shout his name.

The serious Minmatar soldiers stood near the large vehicle, already filled to the top with the possessions of this last family on the area… waiting just another few minutes… it was sad, but they couldn’t wait more than that. The father moved desperately from one place to another, shouting at the top of his lungs his only child’s name, the mother remained quiet, his hand tied together in a silent prayer. The soldiers had already prevented the father from running down to the huge farming field several times, and despite the fact that they felt sorry for them, they knew that there wasn’t much time left… they were arriving at any moment now.

Finally the order was given, and the soldiers grabbed the couple and took them into the vehicle, despite the tears running without stop on their faces and the desperate, although futile, resistance of the father. The transport accelerated fast trough the road, leaving the farm and the fields behind. The broken family in the back kept crying without stop… some of the soldiers cried as well.

He was dreaming. He was hiding in his house, wile he heard the steps going up the stairs… he wanted to shout, but he was afraid of the person coming up. He remembered his mother words… “God is going to punish all of us”. But he didn’t understood why this God person was now coming after him, he always made some trouble in the house, but it wasn’t that bad was it? He heard the steps outside his bedroom door… the sound of the door handle made him shiver… he opened his eyes. At first he didn’t realize were he was… the sun was gone but he couldn’t see a single star in the sky. Suddenly a tremendous roar filled the air, silencing any other sound, he could feel the heat wave long before seeing the light above him, getting bigger and bigger every second… his heart started beating faster and faster as his worst nightmare became real: HE was here and there was no place to hide.

The last thought on his mind was a single word, a question asked billions of times along the history of mankind, and never answered properly… “Why me?”. Every single particle of his mind and body was obliterated, without any time for pain, as the ship’s afterburners slowly took the immense spacecraft to the now completely scorched fields that were once the new dream of a freed slaves family.

Fenrir-class Freighter, in orbit around Gelfiven V.

The channel opened with a small blink, the smiling face of a gallente woman appeared in front of him. “- Sir, everything ready in this system, the last Planetary Command Center is being deployed in Gelfiven V”. The minmatar in the capsule smiled to himself… “- Great job Lieutenant, told the guys to get ready to move to the next system, and leave a small fleet behind to roam the system in case someone has the stupid idea of come to OUR planets looking for trouble”, “Has you command, sir”.

The large fleet aligned to the stargate and warped, in his tireless march trough the region taking possession of the planetary resources, out of their reach until now. A perfect, massive, unstoppable and inevitable force, roaming the entire Galaxy in search of profit… and power.

The new Gods were leaving behind they brand new temples of destruction.

Tyrannis: The Forgotten Souls

– by Cewl

“Welcome to Gushkewau. Surface temperature is a balmy 35 celsius or 84 Fahrenheit with the winds from the south east and a chance of precipitation in late afternoon. Time is 0600.” The pilot’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker in the cabin of the Minmatar shuttle. The passengers were crammed into their seats. The shuttle was full. There were kids playing in the aisles, laughing and yelling. I could see a little girl asking the passengers in the aisle seats for their names. I prayed she would pass me by, but alas, she strolled up to my seat and asked the inevitable question, “What’s your name Mr.?” I paused for a second. I knew this was coming but did not know if I should go with the truth or a lie. Before I knew it, in a split second I heard myself say, “Mr. Seagle…Jim Seagle.” Her head spun back from looking in another direction; possibly at the two old maids fussing with their purses and bickering softly to one another. “What are you doing coming to Gushkewau?” “Well, I’m a journalist working for the government of the Minmatar Repulic.” She looked at me for a second and without any hesitation said, “It’s my home.” Then she ran off down the aisle to her brother a few seats ahead.

The pilot’s voice came back on, “We will be descending in a few minutes so all passengers please take your seats and turn off all communications devices, please and thank you.” The No Smoking and Fasten Seatbelts signs are lit with a “ding” from some unforeseen bell. “Good thing I never took mine off” I thought, feeling quite smug as I watched most of the other passengers fumble with the over the head harness which clipped in awkwardly right at the groin. The lights dimmed and the shuttle’s thrusters roared into life, with a rumble in the cabin and a few creaks and groans from the interior walls. From my seat which was four seats from the viewport, I could see a dark portal steadily becoming light as the ship descended through the planet’s atmosphere. Damn, I hate landings on solid ground; they are always so bumpy and there’s always a risk of crashing. Not like the space stations I have been living on for the past few years – towed in, towed out safe as shit.

The shuttle settled to a stop and the doors were now open. Passengers were fussing about. I grabbed my carry-on bag and shuffled into the line to exit the cattle car. I passed through the many security checks on the way to the Arrivals Lounge and came to the frosted doors knowing that on the other side would be the people waiting for their loved ones. I have always hated this part, passing through the doors and hearing the screams of delight greeting other passengers, but no loved-one waited for me. It always felt like a fashion show to me, walking through the doors to the waiting crowd. Their eyes would instantly dismiss me wondering how did I get through quicker than their loved ones? I swung through the final doors to see right ahead of me a sign with my name on it being held over a man’s head. I head towards him and say, “I’m Seagle”. He tells me to meet him at the exit.

Well, it’s not just one man who meets me, it’s several men; one very well dressed man surrounded by four not so well dressed men but all of them way better dressed than me. The man in the designer suit approached and had his hand out way before he got to me. “ Welcome to Gushkewau’. My name in Kris Todd. I am the Vice President of Operations for this the sector of the planet. I will be taking you to meet the person we have selected for you to interview”. He had gripped my hand and was wildly shaking it when he suddenly pulls me close with a jerk and whispers, “I hope you make this a favorable column…. you know what I mean”. I whisper back, “ my column will be true and to the point, if you get my drift.” Mr Todd gives me a stunned look, then smiles a toothy grin, “ Let’s head off then”. Todd places an arm around my back and ushers me along to a tinted transit vehicle waiting just outside the doors.

The lights were on in the car and the tint was so dark I could hardly see out. I managed to see that we were passing buildings, then fields, then a mine, followed by more buildings. The trip took only a few minutes and we passed polite pleasantries as we drove along.

Once we had stopped, the door was opened from the outside by a woman who greeted us with a friendly, “ Hello Mr Todd and welcome Mr Seagle. The room has been prepared and Mr Sims is waiting.” I asked Mr. Todd where we were and he replied, “you’re at the main Promethium refinery depot, Mr Seagle”. It was a huge building, at least 35 storeys high and taking up two city blocks. It was clean and well kept at the front with perfectly symmetrical landscaping on either side of the entrance, but I suspected it was dirty and untidy at the back. As we walked through the massive doors to the main auditorium I saw a well lit, well decorated room with fine art and stuffed animals indigenous to the area on display. Todd spoke up and asked, “ Mr Seagle, what is the purpose of your interview?” “Well Todd, it’s on the Tyrannis project that was installed a year ago. The Republic would like to know what affect it has had on the indigenous population” . “Oh, ok. Well you will find we have taken these savages and changed them for the better, you will see!!! Ya! You will see. By the way, Mr. Seagle, you’re not the first reporter to come here. There have been a few before you.” I noticed a real edge to his voice and studied him closely, wondering what happened to the “few before me”?

At that moment, a slim, well dressed woman, holding a few papers in her hand, walked out from a door that was just behind the front desk . “Hello, Mr. Seagle. Would you kindly follow me”. Mr Todd turned and held out his hand as if to say good bye, “Well, it was a pleasure, Mr. Seagle.” “Same to you, Mr. Todd.” I replied.

After passing through the doors behind the front desk, the opulence disappeared. I followed her down a long corridor lined with pictures of the mine and the surrounding site at different stages of development. The photos told me that it only took a year to take a beautiful valley and turn it into a dark, desolate pit. “Well, here we are Mr. Seagle.” The woman turned to me, holding open a door leading into a brightly lit room with no windows, just white walls, a small desk and two wooden chairs. A second door was on the opposite wall. I thanked her and sat down to wait.

The second door is thrown open and a very large, muscular man enters. A dirty, tank of a man with an angry expression on his face. I stared up at his huge height and immense size and felt a thrill of trepidation. Clearly he did not want to be here in this room with me. “Well, what am I doing here? and who the fuck are you?” “I’m Jim Seagle, just call me Jim. I am a journalist commissioned by the Republic to interview you about your new life, I guess. I have to tell you that this session will be hologram recorded as a personal record of our meeting.” “Fine” the huge man snaps back.

“Please take your seat and tell me your name”. “Sims… Henry Sims.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr Sims. I have a few questions to ask you and I am going to start recording now if you don’t mind.” As I placed the recorder on the table, Henry’s hand reached over and covered mine. His hand dwarfed the size of mine. Henry leaned towards me and said in a gruff tone, “Are you here to do a “fluff” piece or the true story? My answers to the questions you ask will change, if you get my drift. You’re not the first interview I have done, you know.” I responded that I am not a “fluffy” journalist. I just tell the truth and I will write it that way. He would see. “Then let’s proceed, Mr. Seagle.”

I started the recorder. “Hello, my name is Jim Seagle and with me is Henry Sims.

Mr Sims, can you tell me about you background please!”

“I was born on an Amarr slave planet, deep in Amarr controlled space. I worked the fields till about two years ago when, as an act of god, the elders staged our rescue. I was one of many and only a few were rescued. There were lots of my people left on that planet and I felt great pity for them. To be a slave is no life at all. It’s just an existence.

On the day I was liberated, I was in the field when the sky lit up full of light and dark, as if the gods were fighting. As I watched in panic, out of the bruised heavens I started to make out the dark strange forms of some kind of foreign spacecraft. The huge armada roared over me on its way to attack the city. The ships seemed to be dancing as they tried to avoid the violent responses from the planetary defenses both on the ground and in the air. I have never seen war. It is a terrible thing to behold. I thought my prayers had been answered, that my god had come to smite my foes and free my family and friends. When I first got a glimpse of the face of the soldier that was in the field with me, I must have looked as if I was seeing a ghost. The face looking back at me was my own, smaller in stature but of my own people, yet speaking in a foreign tongue.

My family and I were transported to a battleship named the Defiant, a typhoon class ship. The Amarr ships attacked and destroyed most of the elders forces who were obliged to retreat back to Republic controlled systems. They took me and my family and the other liberated slaves and scattered us all over many worlds. I ended up here.”

I then asked him how he felt about the Tyrannis Project.

He slowly replied, “Well, Mr Seagle, let me tell you this. To allow some silver spooned capsular the right to buy portions of planets is fucked, excuse my language. The capsular is a rich kid who went to the right military school, graduated in the top twenty percent of the class, spent three years in the Republic or what ever military they were assigned to, and if they did well they were accepted to the Republic Capsular Program where they spend three more years in service. But, and that’s a big But, at the end of that time they are given a small ship and the right to make, or, destroy whatever or whomever they like within concord regulations, and time and death are their allies . This means that if they so choose, they have been given the right to take my home and turn it into a hole, a deep hole .” I could hear the anger and frustration in his voice.

“Tell me, how do you feel about your new overlords?” I pressed him.

“When that first ship landed here, some had forgotten what ships looked like. We were put here by the Minmatar Elders after our rescue so when that ship landed I was expecting a survey team, but alas it was them – the puppets of our silver-spooned capsular. They walked around, took samples of the land, and promised us that nothing would happen to our homes. After that the military ships landed and the soldiers rounded us up. They told us that our land, the property that the Elders had given to us, had been sold to their employer, the capsular ! Imagine some silver- spooned Fuck had bought our land for the mere sum of 15 million. The puppets started telling me and my people that our land was now his. All our hard work trying to achieve a better life for ourselves and our families, masters of our own destiny, was gone on a whim of some rich kid.

At first the new building was a few miles away from my village. It started where we are sitting now and my home was safe. Then the soldiers came, rounded us all up again and brought us here. We were put in a holding facility which over time turned into a slum with killings and rapes and starvation. Then the day came when the soldiers once again entered our lives and separated us into families who were assigned to work. My wife ended up in the textiles factory. I work the mine and my kids work in a sweat shop making clothes for the workers. For a home we were given a cell measuring 800 square foot for my family of six. I said “thank you”, it was better than the slum. We had jobs and a home. On my first day of work I was taken with all the other men and shuttled to a hole, a massive hole, located where our village once stood. My blood boils with rage and frustration every time I think about it. For the last few months I have worked hard to give my family a better life, a normal life, or at least as normal as I can make it, until they no longer need us, or we can no longer handle our tasks…used up…..tired.”

I then asked him, “Mr. Sims, if you could say anything to the capsulars who will never visit your planet, what would you like to say ?

He exploded into his reply. “To the capsulars I would say fuck you , you fucking fucks. We were fine before you got here and now you’re here were fucked . All I can think is that the Elders have sold our forgotten souls back into servitude under the rule of our own race not even some other race … it’s bull shit, you hear me?!” His hand slammed into the table with such force that the table jumped clear off the floor. His despair and frustration overflowing as he talked.

The door right behind me suddenly swung open and the four men who had met me earlier at the Arrivals Lounge burst in. They roughly grabbed me and lifted me clean out of my seat and straight to my feet! Henry Sims did not flinch at this happening, he just lowered his head, sunk into his chair and clamped his hands together on the table as it settled to the floor. I grabbed wildly for the holorecorder as it bounced across the table and put it into my pocket.

The sergeant said to me “ Mr Seagle, your interview is over and you must be on your way. There is a storm coming so you must leave right now to beat it.” Another piped in saying “It’s a brief window of opportunity, Sir. Now let’s go”. Before I could say another word to Mr. Sims, we were off down the hall, the door slamming behind us. I wanted to make a fuss about being marched out but the guards seemed to mean business and allowed no fussing. We strode down the hall. The four guards spaced themselves, two in front and two behind me, as if they thought I was going to run away. Back through the opulent main auditorium, out the main door and into the tinted transit vehicle. This time the trip was a blur of motion, definitely no dilly dallying . The four men joined me in the vehicle, no-one saying a word, no one looking at each other . The one sitting just in front and to the right of me had his suit jacket unbuttoned, the silver butt of a pistol showed in the light. I didn’t feel good about that.

This time I think you have gotten in over your head, Jim, I thought to myself. I just hope they are sending you home and not to a remote little hole in this foreign ground. I could feel the sweat starting to bead on my forehead. I did not look out the windows to see if I could make out any of the shadows that I might recognize .

“Please step out, Mr Seagle we’re here.” The four men set up the same formation around me as they had when they escorted me from the refinery, and this time we passed through security checks with the flash of a badge. We began our ascent to the shuttle boarding platform. The two men in front slowly slipped behind me. As we turned the last corner to the shuttle door I saw Mr Todd ,the Vice President of Operations, standing to the right of the door. As we approached he moved to the center, blocking the door. “Mr Seagle, please stand against the wall.” The four security guards drew their weapons , three of them placed their laser beads on my forehead, the fourth one jokingly placed his laser on my crotch and smiled. I said to myself, “well Jim, hope it was a joke!” I struggled not to show my fear.

\ Mr Todd began to talk in a stern and violent tone, “please turn over your holorecorder now” He held out his hand. I reached into my pocket looking for my data pad to call headquarters and noticed it was still turned off. Todd angrily shook his hand and repeated himself, “ Turn over your holorecorder now or you will not like the ultimatum” looking in the direction of the four men with guns. I reached into my other pocket. “Here. HERE have it.” “Thank you. We now have what we need on Mr. Sims. Have a safe trip” Mr Todd moved from the door, passed the four men and disappeared down the hall. The four men ushered me with their weapons to the door of the shuttle \

I was seated by the window this time, near the cockpit, and I was the only passenger on this flight. “What the hell just happened? Why am I the only one leaving this place?” The geeforce of the take off made my mind wander over what had just happened. Should I tell some one what I heard? Should I tell anyone? Is my life still in jeopardy? Wait! my data pad. I could call the office and get this sorted. I fumbled for my pad, waiting impatiently for the pilot to say I could use it, why is he taking so long? As soon as I could I turned it on. It buzzed immediately with a message from the head office, which read:

To: Mr Seagle

:You were never on planet Gushkewau .

:The man you met never existed.

:Your interview never took place.

:If you feel the need to tell someone, your friends/ family and yourself will be in jeopardy.

End of line.

The last accounts of the late Mr. Jim Seagle

Tyrannis: Retribution

– by Citizen Smif

Chapter 1: Mukiri’s Time

“The Gods of old are long dead and gone; they never answered our calls at our time of greatest need. We were a simple people, living on a world far from the constant wars that engulf the universe. When the first of us arrived here many years ago we renounced our technology and embraced the world around us; it contained everything we needed to survive from medicine to food to water. I remember when the first of the immortals came and it all changed… The destruction… The death… The unbearable screaming. It took them just a day to raze our cities to the ground and transform our green rolling hills and emerald lakes into a land of fire and ash. There was nothing we could do, the missiles they launched destroyed cities at a time, and they were the lucky ones. They sent down ships beyond human comprehension, the very sun itself could not compete with them and we were plunged into permanent darkness. On the second day temples of industry were raised in their name and the ground-rumbling noise began, those of us still alive were forced into a life of slavery, either we worked or we died. By the third day all resistance was crushed, we were all assimilated into the great machine of industry and what for? I still cannot comprehend what could possess the Demi- Gods in the skies to do this to us; we were a peace loving people. I swear on the lives of all those lost that we will have our retribution, our time will come and we will reclaim what is rightfully ours.”

Chieftain Kin’Arkder Markyl of the Brutor Tribe exiles

1130th day of the capsuleer’s industrial colonisation – Mukiri’s first day of maintenance work- 22:00

I looked up and grimaced, 3 years had passed since the capsuleers had first invaded my home world yet still the great shadow remained suspended up in the sky, unmoving but watching us all. I always thought a man can get used to anything but the perpetual darkness still unnerved me. What was previously a land rich in nature was now a burnt-out wasteland, black and grey were the only colours visible as far as the eye could see. I coughed into my gloves and looked back at the task in front of me; I simply had to clean the ash off of the control tower’s air filters. The air filters were located high on each side of the tower, to access them I would have to enter the crawl space and physically repair the machinery at the end. “Usually this would be work for drones” I was told, luckily for me there was a shortage of them. The control tower was inactive today; the rain had made the ground too soft so none of the other machines could move, it didn’t really make much difference to me anyway. They were colossal structures, some as high as 200 meters and 300 meters across, as far as slavery went it was a well sought after job since the risk of immediate death was down to your ability to climb. However every job has its inherent problems, breathing in ash and vapours all day deteriorates your health much faster than expected, life as a slave was never meant to be easy I suppose… I’ve waited 3 years for this job and only yesterday I’ve finally managed to get it, the last guy tripped and fell onto a shard of glass apparently. Tragic.

I reached into my tool bag, pulled out a wrench and began to unbolt the grill preventing me from entering the crawl space. “If you do your job well we’ll reward you with a gas mask.” The slavers had told me, I had simply nodded back. I hated the Amarrian mercenaries with all my heart, but they were nothing compared to the demon in the sky. At least the slavers had some humanity, they loved, cried, even raised families, capsuleers did none of these things. Boosted by neural implants and plugged into a pod for most of their immortal lives they had learnt to discard emotion, their minds were focused on one thing and that was ‘ISK’. From my understanding all capsuleers were different, some were warriors of space, some were miners and others were businessmen and traders. There must be more to life than money and power, but every time I look out at what used to be my home world I’m no longer sure. If people can do this to each other then what is the value of living life as a good person? What is the value of honour, justice and kindness? I learnt young that in order to survive in an imperfect world you must be the one willing to do things that no one else would be willing to do. Morals are out of the question, friends cannot be trusted, I’ve even heard stories about families selling out their own if it benefits them. People are self centred in nature; to survive they will do anything.

I finally unbolted the grill and entered the metallic crawlspace; I was greeted with a high pitched whirring noise. My face contorted into something reminiscent of a grin and I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. “3 years… 3 years… 3 years…” I mumbled to myself over and over, reminding myself how long I’d been waiting for this moment. I reached the end of the tunnel and stared at the machinery in front of me barely illuminated by a dim red light. I reached into my tool bag once again and pulled out the sum of my obsessions for the last 3 years. I studied it, feeling what must be joy spread to every ounce of my body. “How can something so small cause so much damage?” I asked myself out loud but I didn’t really know the answer and I didn’t really care. All I knew is that this was the only place that wasn’t protected by the Tower’s shield and armour. I placed the device next to the machinery and armed it. I took a moment to catch my breath, I could hear the distant rumbling of volcanoes in the distance, I could smell the sulphuric scent of volcanic ash in the air. Everything was so still, so perfect, I looked down at my device for a final time and placed my finger on the button. I closed my eyes.

My name is Mukiri; I was just 13 years old when the space demon first came. It’s funny how everything you think you know about life can be obliterated in just a few days. I knew happiness and love before but after the great destruction I knew nothing but hate. I thought it might go away one day but I was wrong, this hatred grew in my heart like a black cancerous growth. My mother… My father… My people… Lost and nothing will ever bring them back. Even at the most crucial moment of my life I cannot remember the sound of their voices, the feeling of their arms around me or what they even looked like. The space demon and his horde of mercenaries took away everything from me, but oh I will have my vengeance. I will not live to see the effects of all actions but I do not care. Many will die, many will be my people but their deaths will not be in vain. 3 years of planning boils down to one single moment, the catalyst to signal the start of the ending. My name is Mukiri, son of Kin’Arkder, and retribution is at hand.

I pressed the button.

Chapter 2: The Catalyst

“How far must you go down this road of destruction and death? When will you learn that there can be no victory? Compared to the immortals we are all but specks of dust, we are nothing more than an inconvenience of something far greater than we can ever comprehend. Brothers and sisters lay down your weapons; do not fight that which cannot be killed! You have been spared for a reason, your purpose is unclear now but the role you play now will reverberate throughout space. We are all drops of rain on an already moving surface of water, the effect we have may be unclear and unnoticeable to the eye but rest assured each drop has an effect on the outcome of events. Look at the people all around you; are their lives really worth it? Must your final legacy in this universe be a failure of an uprising? Lay down your weapons and let the universe resound with peace! Join me brothers and sisters, you are His chosen and you will do His bidding.”

– High Priest Amenas of the Cult of the Capsuleer on the third day of the invasion

1130th day of the capsuleer’s industrial colonisation – The day of punishment for Adrald – 22:43

“Stop” I gasped, I couldn’t breathe, my lungs were burning. “Enough! Please…” The whip hit me quicker than a bolt of lightning and I collapsed to the ground feeling something wet trickling down my back. The whip slashed into my back again and again until my throat closed up from the screaming. I rolled over and looked up at the creature that was causing my suffering; his face was one of total satisfaction. His thin lips curled up at one side, his eyes were small and bloodshot, his hair was a greasy mop combed to one side. I loathed everything about him from his sneering face to his unusual golden armour. “Fuck you.” I murmured and weakly grinned straight back up at him. His eyes widened with rage and he raised the bladed whip once more.

The Amarrian scum was suddenly thrown forward towards me and a wave of blistering heat rolled over my skin. My eyes were blinded by a burst of white light, I could feel bits of rocks and ash fly past me and I was deafened by an earth shattering noise so powerful that the ground beneath me rumbled. I lay still, blind, deaf and stunned by the sudden explosion in the distance. I felt the Amarrian’s body on top of mine beginning to stir, I flailed my arms in desperation, grabbing what I thought were his shoulders and flipped him underneath me. I straddled his chest and my hands instinctively went to his throat. My vision was beginning to return, I could see the Amarrian weakly trying to pry my hands off his neck. I grinned at him again and murmured “Fuck you.” His beady little eyes stared into mine with desperation, but even he knew his time was over. I just pressed down until I slowly felt something crunch and the life leave his eyes.

With a long sigh I staggered to my feet and turned around. “Wow…” I said out loud. The whole valley was illuminated from the orange glow of the mushroom cloud, I fell back down to my knees and grabbed the blackened earth around me. We’re all dead… We’re all dead. Destruction on this scale will only warrant more destruction, who did this and why? I felt a tear roll down my face, this was the end, we had no chance against the technology arrayed against us. I stared out into the distance on my hands and knees until the mushroom cloud had turned into a shapeless mass of black and the light left the valley.

Fuck it. What’s done is done. The time for war was upon us now, the call to arms had been sent out, every last woman, child and man would have to fight for our very survival now. With a sharp intake of breath I grabbed a handful of the soil beneath me and pushed myself to my feet. I smelt the earth in my hands and rubbed it into my cheeks and bare chest. “I am one with the earth.” I spoke into the sky, my voice cracking. I turned around and tore one of the blades off of the Amarrian’s whip. “I am one with my people.” I put the blade to my forearm and pressed lightly down until blood began to trickle down my skin. “And I am willing to spill blood for our cause.” And with that I had become a warrior once again, I was poorly equipped, malnourished and weak but I’d be damned if I would betray my people.

I looked to the west at the ancient mountains that held the bones of the elders, that would be the place of gathering, I was sure of it. My skin was charred and my back bleeding but one foot after another I staggered toward my destination. I had never killed a man face to face before today and I guess I would have to kill several more too. Before the immortal came I was nothing more than a farmer, I always kept a simple rifle to defend my livestock but the use of weapons was never encouraged by the council and they were in low supply. I remember why we abandoned the Brutor Tribe in the first place those 30 years ago. All 400 of the first of us, the men and the women, were warriors for a time, collectively we piloted a Typhoon for war against the Ammatar traitors. I saw so many injustices during my time serving the Republic, we shot down civilian convoys and they shot down ours but after a while it became clear we weren’t so different at all. The Ammatar people were our brothers and sisters and we slaughtered them because they chose to put their faith into an Emperor rather than our council. After years of such injustices we mutinied and took some of the Ammatar sympathisers in the station we were docked up in with us, we took our ship to the furthest reach of space we could and coincidently we found paradise. Altogether there were around 1000 of us, we destroyed our ship and built a place for us to live out of it, it was scrappy and imperfect but it was our own. We lived for 27 years in peace and harmony away from the troubles of the Universe but at the back of all our minds we knew it was never going to last. In New Eden there can be no peace.

I trudged on for what seemed like hours, the wasteland never seemed to change aside from an occasional charred tree stump or pool of murky water. The mountains never seemed to get any closer no matter how long I walked for, they remained a barely visible shape in the distance; a test for my willpower. At the back of my mind I began to hear a familiar sound, like the sound of an engine. I looked around but saw nothing, it had to be my imagination, lack of water and food does that to a man. As I walked on and on the noise became more prominent until it was clearly not just a figment of my imagination, I dived to the ground, un-tucked my blade from my ripped overalls and faced upward toward my people’s great nemesis in the sky. With an explosion of blue light the engines of the colossal ship spurred into life, the ground visibly shook as the ship slowly pulled out of our atmosphere. Oh no… I jumped to my feet and began to ran as fast as I could toward my destination, I knew it was pointless but it was better than doing nothing. The land around me was finally illuminated again; I stopped running, (what was the point?), and basked in the glory of the pale aura, finally the land once again received the light of the midnight moon. Screw it. If I were to die today this would be the perfect place, I wouldn’t scurry away like some rat on the ground. Sure enough the ship was in space, but I could still see its shape blotting out the stars around it. Little flashes of light emanated from the ship and the lights were only getting closer. Here they come. The first missile hit somewhere beyond my line of sight in the north, but I could feel the suffering of the earth in its groaning. The next missile smashed into the mountains in front of me, the whole mountain was crushed, vast pieces of rock were thrown in every direction and the planet once again rumbled it’s grief. The missiles kept crashing into the earth around me, the ground shook with strength I’d never even imagined before and what was left of the mountains exploded in an array of ash and lava.

I looked up into the sky and screamed my anguish but it was futile, I was less than a speck of dust to the creature destroying my people. Suddenly the missiles stopped… Something was wrong with the sky, the stars suddenly started to disappear rapidly. My mouth fell open and I slowly whispered to myself “Specks of dust.”

Chapter 3: Specks of Dust

“Remember brothers, after this there is no going back. There can be no victory but we’ll make sure the Universe never forgets u. All of you must fight… Down to the very last man.”

– Mukiri Markyl to his fellow slaves three days before the bombing of the Control Tower.

1130th Day of the Capsuleers Industrialisation – The Resistance – 23:19

“Move! Move! Move!” I screamed at the top of my voice. I looked around, my men were getting slaughtered. Lasers flashed in every direction, burning holes into the planetary vehicle we were taking cover behind. I poked my head over the top. 3 Amarrians were directly in front of us crouching down, damn laser rifles. “For fucks sake! Tarak! Adil! Move…” An explosion to my far right knocked me over, I could hear my heartbeat pounding in my chest and my ears ringing. My face was sinking into the wet mud underneath us; I picked up my weapon and pushed myself back up to my knees. “Move! I’ll cover!” I screamed but I couldn’t hear my own voice, Adil looked at me blankly so I pushed him away. “Run!” Him and Tarak started to sprint toward another vehicle on the left. I took a deep breath and rose over the top of the vehicle firing heavily on the Amarrians. Most of the bullets just bounced off of their golden armour but one of them crumpled to the ground, I think I got him in the leg. I ducked back down, hearing the screams of the Amarrian in their foreign tongue. “Ok Tarak signal me when you’re ready!” I bellowed, he nodded at me. I looked at his hands… 3… 2… 1… I launched myself in his direction, sprinting as fast as I could. Something hit me in my right arm and I dived down behind Tarak’s vehicle.

“Dammit!” I groaned, my arm was hit, I forced myself to look at it. I sighed in relief, it was just a graze but steam rose off it – A warning of what could have happened. I gritted my teeth and pushed myself to a crouch.

“You alright?” Tarak asked me, Adil leant round the corner of the vehicle and started firing.

“Yes. I’m fine, just a graze. Ok here’s the plan…” The vehicle we were previously at suddenly burst into flames, shooting bits of shrapnel everywhere. “Tarak I want you to focus fire on the one on the left, they have weaknesses in the armour somewhere around the legs! Adil do the same for the one on the right! There’s more of them about, I’ll cover your backs!” They both started firing upon the soldiers and I sprinted the opposite direction into a small crater behind us and dived into it. I turned around and lay still watching my comrades. I couldn’t see the Amarrians beyond the hover-craft but I could tell Adil and Tarak were having little success.

I suddenly looked up into the sky, something was wrong… The missiles had stopped and the rumbling of the earth beneath us was slowing down. I looked back down at Adil and Tarak, the hover-craft in front of them started smoking heavily. “Adil! Tarak! Fall back to me!” They both began to run in my direction, flashes of lasers zooming past them. “Get down!” I bellowed but it was too late, the vehicle suddenly exploded throwing them both forward in a spectrum of bright light. Silence. I couldn’t take the loss of two more good men lost due to the greed of capsuleers. I waited for the sound of anything… A whimper, a groan, anything. Nothing happened. Maybe the Amarrians were dead too…

I lay on my stomach perfectly still, counting the seconds go by. Nothing happened. I looked at the unmoving bodies of my friends, Adil was little more than a boy – He was only 15 years old. He honestly thought we had a chance, he was so enthusiastic… He was face down in the mud, I knew he was dead but I stared at him anyway hoping for some movement… Any movement. His brown dreads loosely shook in the wind revealing a gaping hole on the upper back of his head. I felt something die inside me, it was my fault. This was a bad idea, if only I had done something different… He was untrained, I should have never taken him with us. I clenched my jaw and looked over at Tarak, he was a grown man, like me he had fought before. Both of us were Capacitor Engineers onboard a Brutor Tribe tempest but we had received basic hand-to-hand combat training… Not a lot of use that came in. I knew he was dead too, better now than never we used to joke. Dammit, why am I thinking like this? Tarak had died a good death, an honourable death, he would have been happy with it.

I waited for a few more minutes, I felt empty… So empty. With half lidded eyes I got up and threw my weapon down. I took one step at a time towards my friends, feeling the light breeze through my hair. I didn’t care anymore. I heard something click to my left and I slowly turned in its direction. An Amarrian.

“Shoot me.” I said softly to him, raising my arms on each side of my body and closing my eyes. I was ready for it. Better now than never. “Shoot me.”

Click. Pain exploded in my chest and I was thrown onto my back into the mud. I coughed and wheezed but I was smiling. “Thank you.” I murmured before I looked up at the sky. “Wow…” I whispered, clusters of stars were blotted out by thousands of shapes in space. Thousands of strafing lights shot through the sky toward one shape. Our enemy. The ship exploded in space and something came zooming back down into our atmosphere. “Thank you.” I murmured again before everything went black.


1st day of the destruction of the Capsuleer’s ship – Adrald’s Mission – 03:43

I saw it fall out of the sky… I’m sure it was his pod. The ship exploded then it came shooting into our atmosphere, it crashed somewhere to the North and I’m going to find it. I’m going to make him pay for every single life lost… For every inch of land maimed… For everything. He’s not going to die and I’m not going to kill him. He’s too good for that. I will find him, he’ll be begging for death but I will never kill him. Never.

I pressed on, I would never give up. I’d been walking for hours, my throat had closed up and I’d lost feeling in my fingers and toes… The temperature had dropped to something far below 0, the mud beneath my bare feet was sharp and cutting deeply into them. I forced myself up and up the hill until my legs and lungs burnt. From the top I would get a clear view of the whole valley, and hopefully of the pod.

I climbed to the top and looked around, my heart dropped… There was nothing there. I was just about to turn around and give up when I saw it – a slight glimmer in the horizon. I grinned from ear to ear and staggered in it’s direction.

I’m coming for you, you bastard.

Tyrannis: Great Things

– by Sinclair Ferguson

It was only by great concentration that Orwell Fine repressed his glands’ inclination to call his bluff before the world by dotting his forehead with beads of sweat. The fluorescent, almost neon glow of the cameras’ supplemental light lent no heat to his place behind the senatorial podium. Perspiration would mean only one thing: his words were less than sincere. Still, Senator Fine had stood behind this same podium on a number of occasions, and his experience and practice had taught him to mask himself well.

“Like my father before me, I will persist with upholding the will of the people who’ve repeatedly promoted me to this post. We will continue to insist that our sovereignty be recognized, and that the people of Eruka V are not merely a workforce to be recruited, but a free people, destined to write its own future, not subject to the whims and fiscal quotas of mega-corporations who through their political wooing, can bend the ear of CONCORD. We will continue the fight. Thank you.”

Concluding his statements, he abruptly turned, his entourage following him. The cameras rotated from their focus on the podium to their respective commentators who began to offer narrative on the senator’s remarks. Senator Fine absently dragged his thumb across the left side of his forehead. It was still dry. His secretary leaned into him as he turned the hallway corner to the double doors of his office, and said, “You have a visitor.” “I’m sure,” he replied, as the double doors were parted for him by eager staff.

His office was plush. Kobalt blue carpet spread like the sea to the edges of the curved walls, lined with fine wood, dyed white. Behind the large desk at the end of the room stood a wide window, flanked by tall drapes, edged in gold lining, a breathtaking view of the senatorial lawn behind it. The view was occluded by the silhouette of a man, looking out the window. Orwell turned to the staffer who’d followed him in. The man immediately recognized this as an indication to leave the room and exited, closing the doors behind him. As the latch engaged on the door, the figure by the window turned. “That was quite a speech, Senator. You’re getting better at them, I think. I was almost sympathetic.” “Mr. Trinnix, it is customary to make appointments with with Senate. We are very busy these days,” Orwell remarked, stepping behind his desk, taking his place in his own ornate but comfortable chair. “Won’t you have a seat?”

“Thank you, Senator.” The man descended into one of the leather chairs opposite the official desk, and leaned back. “My corporation was expecting a more generous and expedient schedule. We’ve demonstrated the courtesy of working with you, showing good faith. CONCORD has given us a clearance that doesn’t exactly require such formalities. We would have thought you would have responded differently.” The Senator’s chair rotated back and forth slowly as he listened, his fingers pressed together before him. “Mr. Trinnix, I…” “Just Trinnix,” the guest interrupted with less than sympathetic correction. Orwell noted the posturing and continued. “Trinnix, it takes time to soften such an independent people. If they had any inkling you were even planetside, they’d dismember both our bodies on the capitol steps.” The guest’s eyes were steady. “I’ve been dismembered many times,” Trinnix replied, a grin playing upon his face. “Ah yes,” Orwell returned, “your immortality. A thousand rebirths amongst the stars. Your little 600,000 member oligarchy. And we all have to play the good and faithful subject, we poor mortals.” The Senator has frequently used sarcasm to mask fear or awkwardness. He was doing his best to project confidence, but he wanted little more than for this zombie to leave his office. “I’m trying to broker a situation that will guarantee your corporation’s initial unfettered access to Eruka’s resources and to its skilled labor. You know I have to continue to masquerade until I have courted the unions, put in place the propaganda that will convince the public that your molestation of their planet is in their best interests. Your insistence on a stepped up timeline is making this very difficult.”

“Senator Fine, we have no intention of delaying our plans, with or without your help. Do you think we’re ignorant to your other dealings, to your maneuvering to delay our progress? We know you’re in bed with Hyasyoda.” Trinnix was attempting to trump the Senator’s sarcasm, and by the look on his face, it was working. “They’ve been a major shadow contributor to your campaigns over the last 25 years, and in return you’ve given them mining contract after contract, unregulated and unmonitored. They’ve practically assassinated the reputation your opposition in elections going back a decade. Your love affair with the press, your influence amongst the member planets of the Eruka system, and your prominence in this constellation will come to ruin if you take one more step to suppress our right to immediately develop this planet any further.”

Orwell broke this gaze with Trinnix. His lips pursed, his nostils opened as he inhaled deeply. For years, he’d sat behind this desk while his father was in chambers, pretending the seat was his, pretending his power was limitless. His father, a highly successful and popular politician, practically secured Orwell’s ascension to the seat when he died 4 months after the beginning of his 3rd term. He was practically appointed to the office, and riding the wave of well-wishers and political capital, proceeded to secure seats on the most prominent of committees. He was the darling of the lobby circuit. In return for his support, he’d secured great wealth and influence. He could have spent that capital and influence in back-room opposition to CONCORDs treaty, to preserving Eruka V’s bounty for its inhabitants. He instead chose to peddle them to the highest bidder, to welcome in corporations with the intent of trading his planet for even greater power. Now, it appeared that he was losing his leverage, and for the first time in his political career, losing the ability to control the situation.

“You know, Trinnix. Eruka is not without it’s problems. CONCORD’s grasp here is not such that the safety of your operations here can be fully guaranteed. I want what’s best for my people.” He leaned forward on his desk, his gaze sympathetic. “And, I want what’s best for your corporation. We have a great opportunity to build something great, something in all our interests. I would hate it if this system’s underbelly did anything to jeopardize that.” He was playing his last card. It wasn’t exactly a bluff, but it was close. “Piracy has been a real problem in the lower security systems of The Forge for years. We’ve made great strides in securing safe commerce for our member planets and systems through negotiation, and yes, through a bit of racketeering. Unpleasant, I know. I want you to rest assured that I’m going to be working very hard in the coming weeks to secure agreements from the pirate entities here that nothing will happen to your dear freighter fleets. It will take some time, though, and not a little ISK. I know I have your support on this, yes?”

Trinnix’s shifted in his chair, pausing for several moments before speaking. “Senator Fine, space has taught me many things, the hardest of which has been patience. Please keep me apprised as to your progress. We’re looking forward to beginning operations here soon, Senator. Soon.” Orwell stood, his guest with him. He extended a hand to Trinnix, which was taken. “Soon enough, Mr. Trinnix. I think you and I can expect great things.”