YC111.01.19 // Blood and Bone; Steel and Flesh

[date/YC111/01/19_return.log]

Fewer things have shuttered me like the cries of one of Nation’s monstrosities; they shriek and howl, their voices amplified through advanced audio devices implanted in their throats. It would be fitting, then, that their form should suit their sound. Metal and skin melded together, oil and blood congealing in their wounds. Wires ran from brain stem to assorted areas on their bodies, sinking and slithering under the skin. Some cyborgs were so twisted and bent from Nation’s machinations and experiments that they lurched and thrashed, blood curdling war cries echoing even in space, it seemed.

However, Sansha had seemed to master some of his smaller, more nimble designs and created far more cunning and fearsome Slaves that were as fast as lightning and who’s intelligence had reached new levels. They were far more deadly than those who had been employed previously to serve Nation’s needs and desires in regards to front line combat, all under Sansha’s guiding hand.

These Slaves were surpassed only by their True Slave brethren, and even this only applied to the intelligence of both groups. In combat and sheer strength, True Sla//REDACTED[SANSHA_SLAVES&&SANSHA_TRUE_SLAVES]//

//Power had been down in the station for hours following a concentrated electronic attack by Nation ships in the beginning stages of their assault. Multiple teams of Federation Navy Reconnaissance units had boarded the station; however, the Nation forces were overwhelming. Entire teams were destroyed, disappearing off the grid one at a time. It was a harrowing experience, traveling those hallways and corridors. The only source of light was a single highbeam – from my helmet alone. My entire team was gone; Ambromotte had been decapitated by a Slave wielding a shredded piece of metal; what remained of Calliamode had been sucked into the vacuum of space after luring a horde of Slaves into an airlock – we witnessed the failing of her shields and armor and the ensuing carnage at the crippling blows and tears of Sansha Slave might.

Hario had fallen to his death after wrestling with one of Sansha’s new, deadly creations off the edge of a massive ventilation shaft.

Undulomontte’s spine had been severed after a particularly massive Slave swung him by the feet into a power conduit.

I had escaped the horrors now behind me only to find myself in a deadly trap – hunted in a massive cargo bay by a lone Slave. It – she – was stalking me, silently. Every other moment, I could hear a light clank of metal as she searched for new vantage points, always hovering on the outer edge of my light. That’s when she hit me.

She had barreled forward fast, straight toward me, shrieking a metallic battlecry. A fist flew up, and in an instant, aeons of evolution altered by decades of technological tampering converged on my lower jaw, shattering teeth and knocking my helmet from my head. I saw bright lights flash in my vision, and heard a thunderous shuttering. My combat shotgun, which had flown from my hands, was now resting in midair as I traveled farther and farther away from it – higher and higher until I crashed against the ceiling. I spit blood from my mouth, shards of teeth coming with and watched as it fell slowly downward without trajectory. I was looking down at her, and she let out a shriek as she lunged up for me, metallic bone flexing with muscle and tendon to spring her into a zero-gravity leap.

In a moment, I had reached for my helmet and reattached it in time to lift my arms and partially shield myself from a crushing blow to the side of the head; my vision blurred and was swallowed in blackness as a great sigh seemed to emanate from everywhere, and I felt myself become subject to the laws of gravity once more and began to fall. I heard the clack of my gun landing, quickly followed by the sickening thud that only metal and skin can make, emphasized even more by the sound of my hardened armor landing on top of the beast, bones audibly cracking and metal folding under the sheer weight of the impact.

She screamed in what I hoped was pain, and in an instant I was up, my gun mere feet away. As I began to run toward it, I felt myself crash forward, a great force pulling me down. I rolled onto my back as a fist cratered a section of the steel floor where my skull had just been. Her other arm hung lifelessly, mutilated and crushed. I swung my arm around to the back of her head, grabbing the bundle of cords in my hand and using them to twist her off of me. As she tumbled away, I made a bolt for the gun, picking it up as she threw herself at me, her screaming now deafening and blood thirsty. I turned and unloaded a slug into her metallic chest; it was echoed by a series of audible explosions far off, followed by an even louder shutter than before. We were tumbling laterally now, her hand grasped around my neck, squeezing so hard I could hear the armor buckling.

I unloaded a second round into her, and while she was stunned, I gripped the cerebral cords and tore them from the base of her skull. She spasmed momentarily and tears rolled down her face as another sigh overtook the station, the two of us falling onto the floor. I stood on my feet and watched her face slowly become lax as her wounds finally overtook her. It dawned on me then that the face had suddenly become familiar; perhaps it was the lack of bloodlust strewn across it, or the serene look of a final death, but there it was. Undeniable.

I knew that face, and I was filled with rage. An uncontrollable anger at all the things Nation had taken from me. I was overcome with a great sadness and weight, and in a moment of weakness I fell to my knees. Sansha had destroyed many lives in his horrific schemes; I was sure mine was not the last in New Eden.

It took me a moment to hear the shrieks and the howls. Adrenaline set in, and suddenly I was on my feet, running. Running toward the exit- and entryway ships used to accept cargo, toward the forcefield that contained the atmosphere – I could barely see it, only given away by a light flux every few seconds.

I could hear the clanging of metal, the cries of ruined lives edging closer behind me. My lungs burned and my head throbbed with pain, but my eyes remained focused. As I neared the gateway, I heard a loud crack, like a deep clap of thunder, and my visor display signaled that higher order communications were now re-established. The pounding of metal was now within breathing range, and I lunged for the door as another great shutter overtook the station. I rocketed toward the gateway, metallic hands inches from my body. As I soared through the barrier, I turned to see the Slaves thrashing and convulsing as zero gravity destroyed them from the inside.

That’s when I saw them; the entire might of the Gallente Federation Navy bearing down on Nation’s ships. Myrmidons and Megathrons, squadrons of Incursus’. A Moros dreadnought was blasting away at the Nation controlled station, lights blinking on and off as it suffered more and more damage from the capital sized guns. A call was relayed for any survivors, and I hailed them. I activated my personal beacon, and drifted silently through space, awaiting help.

This would not be the last we would hear from Nation. Sansha – if he is still alive – would strike again, destroying more lives and taking more loved ones; with the vastness of the unknown wormholes and systems now before us, there was no way to discover where he may be hiding.

And so I waited.

[date/YC111/01/19_end.log]

YC108.03.31 // The Endless Black

[date/YC108/03/31_return.log]

Twisted lengths of metal floated silently. Through blurry eyes, I could see the sunlight glinting off of the metallic dust that flitted through the sky, shimmering against the stars that shimmered back. I could hear the static in my ears; soft hissing, beckoning me out of my sleep. My breath was labored, and my body ached and felt oppressively weighed down, as if the vastness I was falling into was trying to push me away. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to close my eyes and shut my ears. I wanted to become like one of the corpses that drifted around me.

Slowly, as time wore on, my mind awoke. I struggled at first to think clearly – my body actively fought back, trying to suppress me into another deep sleep, but my thoughts wouldn’t allow it. There were things I didn’t know; how long I had been drifting, whether or not I was within contact of other survivors, whether help was on the way or had already come and gone. Panic began to set in. Had I been left behind? Had I somehow been missed? I asked these questions aloud to the darkness that was surrounding me; it offered me no answers or comforts.

For the first time in an eternity, I forced a movement. Turning my head as I slowly tumbled through space, I saw the station. Torn and cratered, it hung quietly in space, a grim visage of sadness and death. Scrap and bodies floated around it. Fire erupted in some parts, spraying violently into the night. The colossal structure seemed to sigh and twist away from me, its Minmatar bones shrinking into the shadow of the planet it orbited. The fires burned ever brighter as it cowarded away, tongues of flame licking its wounds. They wrapped around and slithered into the blackness, dissipating in the expansive cold.

My eyes began to water at the intensity of the light lashing out from the fires; I squeezed them shut, trying to force it out of my mind.

But some images cannot be forgotten.

[date/YC108/03/31_end.log]