YC109.08.04 // In the Handwringers

[date/YC109/08/04.return_log]

They live beyond the coils of space, where they wring your hands and twist your face.

They tie you up and burn your feet, they’ll pull your nails and taste your meat.

They slice your flesh and drain your blood, and rip you up all covered in mud.

They’ll whistle and howl to your family’s mourn, the men of Bhaal and the children of ‘Gorn.

 

They’ll creep in the dark and laugh in the night, grabbing you quick with all their might.

They’ll strike your eyes and cut your hair, then hang you up all wet and bare.

They’ll dance all night to a hurried beat, far from the light of a burning heat.

They’ll  toast you up and make you torn, the men of Bhaal and the children of ‘Gorn.

 

And all at last they’ll shake you down, a jubilant crowd dragging you to the town.

A parade they’ll make of flesh and bone, then lay you atop a street of stone,

to gather ’round with all hands wringing, all gathered ’round and quietly singing,

 “We feast on all who are dead and born, we are the men of Bhaal, the children of ‘Gorn”.

[date/YC109/08/04.end_log]

YC109.08.27 // Messenger

[date/YC109/08/27.return_log]

Mrs. Uomari,

As you very well know, your husband was one of the many casualties aboard the Leviathan-class Titan ‘Emra’ that was under the command of the Caldari Navy. I recovered your husband and used some of my personal funds to have his body restored and a casket prepared for burial. Please accept my condolences for your loss.

Sincerely,
A. Gwanwyn

[date/YC109/08/27.end_log]

YC109.08.17 // Bring Back the Dead

[date/YC109/08/17.return_log]

The rubble of the beast cast a thick shadow in the dust that hung in space. Fires silently burned throughout the vessel as the superstructure spun slowly. The crewship navigated its way toward the Leviathan, skirting past twisted metal and specks of glass.

It skimmed along toward the front of the Titan,  careful to avoid any large fires or the myriad of material that jutted from it. The crewship stopped just above a large, gaping hole not far from the bridge. It stabilized above it, carefully matching the spin of the behemoth’s slow roll. The hangar door opened, and I descended down slowly, gliding quietly through the thickness of space to the Titan below me.

“Alright Adainy, let’s do this one quick and easy. Grab the capsuleer’s corpse and get out so we can be done with this before the scavengers arrive.”

Shadowy figures in the fluid echelons of capsuleer society were willing to pay good money for the corpses of dead immortals – even though the bodies didn’t truly belong to a departed soul.

I gave myself a quick kick off the structure of the ship, floating lazily down the length of the structure toward the hole, which now seemed to be a mouth grimacing in some frozen pain as I approached it. I peered into the depths, lights still flickering in the corridors. Holding onto the edge, I could hear the rumblings of the ship travel through my hands as it tumbled in the burning light of the sun. A groan that couldn’t be heard, forever trapped in the body that held it. I activated my headlamps, and sank down into the maw.

I navigated the hallways, pulling myself around debris and pushing some away. Light glinted off of broken glass panels and sparks burst here and there. I came upon a stairwell that descended downward, and as I corrected my course, a ghastly visage hung before me. It spun slowly, like the ship, and I watched as the face turned to see me. The eyes were open, but looking upward, and the arms were stuck wildly out to the sides. A name tag was pinned to the dress shirt. It read PFC Uomari. I looked the body up and down, and noted it was missing the left leg and most of the left side of the torso. I danced around it, and continued on.

I made my way to the bridge, where I found the installation for the pod. It had burst, just as it was supposed to, but the pod’s ejection and escape maneuvers hadn’t activated properly. It had remained locked in its housing – whether through accident or design, I do not know.

I waved aside the remnants of the amniotic fluid left drifting from the pod, and found the body. This one had a face full of tattoos, and scars marking the length of his body, some cut in intricate designs. The capsuleers were curious demigods.

Tugging the body along with me, I made my way back through the corridors. I passed Uomari and paused, inspecting the face. It was in agony. For every person that died on this ship, somebody thought them priceless, worth more than anything in all of New Eden. But ever since the capsuleers had been born, the price of life had been given a number. So many baseliners could barely afford the cost to recover their loved ones, let alone the reconstructive and funeral fees to make them presentable for their final farewell – and yet, countless eggers were willing to risk life and limb ad infinitum to obtain a shell of a person, a cast off container. Sometimes, I wondered if they even knew, or if they even cared.

I grabbed the hand of Uomari, and pulled the second corpse along with me. I had an idea, as I drifted up and through the dark maw of the ship and back into the blazing light, that perhaps bringing back the corpses would change something. But I knew that wasn’t the case – Uomari’s family would want justice they could never have, and the capsuleers would keep waging their wars, oblivious to the plight of those beneath them.

[date/YC109/08/17.end_log]

YC109.09.23 // The Hard Way

[date/YC109/09/23_return.log]

“The capsuleer program is not an easy road, Adainy. Many attempt and very few actually ever succeed.”

I nodded.

“And you know that once one becomes a capsuleer…” he hesitated. I met his gaze. “Adainy, there’s no going back.”

Another nod. “I know.”

It was quiet for a moment. The ventilation in the room kicked on, letting out a slight creak. I rubbed the scar by my right eye. The slight paralysis that affected the muscles near my temple was acting up again.

“How are your piloting skills?” he asked, breaking the silence.

It was a loaded question. None of the empires would let any regular soldier join, let alone one whose piloting was limited to shuttles and civilian craft. I didn’t respond. There was no need to.

“You could complete the Federation Navy Reconnaissance program. Extremely dangerous, but they teach basic frigate skills, along with tactical fighter piloting with carriers.”

It was an option. I was hardly the most competent and skilled soldier, but I had shown an innate ability to not die. I thoroughly surprised those higher in the chain of command after being sucked into the vacuum of space following a debilitating attack by Amarr extremists on the Minmatar tower where I had been stationed.

“Would you write me a letter of recommendation, Barle?” I asked.

“For the FNR?” He looked puzzled.

“No, for an application to the Federal Navy Academy,” I corrected him. “For capsuleer training.”

He raised his eyebrows, and let out a huff. “Provided you complete the Federation Navy Reconnaissance program – and live trough any subsequent missions or sorties – yes.”

A terse response. He furrowed his brow, shifting some papers on his desk, then looked up at me.

“Adainy, if you do complete the program,” he paused, mulling his thoughts around, ” – well, I can’t make any promises, but I’m sure we could find a way to declare the recommendation to be from the whole of the Servant Sisters of EVE, not just one of their contracted agents.”

I smiled a short smile. That was enough for me. “And my debt with the Servant Sisters?”

“You know there was never a debt to begin with, Adainy.”

I sighed. Barle lifted a glass off his desk and stood up, gazing out his window at the planet below. He took a sip of his drink.

“Moral obligations – there’s something you won’t have to deal with when you’re a capsuleer.”

[date/YC109/09/23_end.log]