Monday 2 August 2010

The Shadow

In which I get all pointy hat on your butts and try my hand at a bit of fiction writing...

This is my entry to the Inspired By Images Of Eve Competition 2. More details and links to all entrants can be found at
Starfleet Comms


Prof S N Harding
Dr J Slavic
Lucky Star Incident - REF: JSK233N1


Here is the final transcript of the Data File recovered near the wreckage of Lucky Star.

We are continuing our investigations but as yet unable to determine whether or not this was planted as some sort of sick joke. I honestly do not think it in character of any of my team, who all appear genuinely quite upset over the matter, but I am sure you will agree it is all rather irregular. There is of course the question of whether or not this could be related to the drones in some way but to my knowledge no such activity, suspected or verified, has been previously recorded.

Many factual points in the transcript are indeed correct and on your previous advice we have replaced our entire Capsuleer security team. We have been discussing the possibility of contacting the young lad’s mother, who could further verify the accuracy of the text. However she is said to be highly distressed over the incident so perhaps this would be ill advised, at least for the time being.

We would be grateful for your further thoughts on the matter.



-------Attachment Transmission BEGINS-------

Father would have at least approved of my death, of this I am certain.

I am lost in the darkness now. Yet some things I see with far greater clarity than I ever did in the light. Mother’s pain... Father’s disappointment... but always that ship... the shadow in my life.

It was not always so dark. My Mother was a bright and beautiful woman, with a smile that brought sunshine to any room. She looked so out of place in that space station with all its grey heartlessness.

She worked in the busy Docking Port Control Office and loved the ships in her charge almost as much as she loved me. The mysterious boats of the Capsuleers... they held her eyes just as other women gaze at Intaki diamonds.

On her 23rd birthday she was dragged to the infamous T2V Bar, a place filled with inebriated Capsuleers and usually somewhere the rest of us avoid. But after years in that station there were few options for fresh entertainment. No doubt she stood out in that awful place, her effortless smile like a bright star against the endless black of the immortals. It was there that she met my father and in that night I was conceived.

I never really knew him, my Father. He visited the station often and always had an interest in my upbringing but he was never physically part of my childhood. Instead he became a dark, secretive figure, always watching me and instructing my mother on what subjects he wished me to study, what hobbies I should be introduced to and occasionally even who I should try to befriend.

But she was ever the light in my life. She loved me freely and without judgement or expectation. She always encouraged me to follow my own path. But even so there was ever a feeling of distant pressure; an impending doom that I could never quite understand. I saw it in her eyes and I felt it in my heart. There was forever a shadow on my shoulders.

Mother would try to explain my Fathers behaviour. She told me of the Capsuleers and their distant way of life, their endless struggles and the battles they fought in forever wars so that people like us could live in peace. She told me of their ships and often took me down to the Ports so that I might see for myself the mighty behemoths that kept her so occupied.

After school I would sometimes sneak into the back of the Central Port office and wait for her shift to finish. I would lose myself in private thoughts against the background of her polite but authoritative tones, which filled the air as she processed the docking requests. I remember clearly the one time I heard her voice uncharacteristically falter. Peering up at the Terminal camera I saw a curved and compact ship landing neatly in the bay... the Taranis. My Father was home again.

When I was 17 Father took a yearlong break from combat and for the first time came to live with us. It was strange, this man whom I barely knew suddenly present every day. Watching and questioning me. I soon discovered that he wanted me to enter the Capsuleer training program. In my heart I did not wish for such a thing but nevertheless I applied. I tried, really I did, and considering the matter now I still do not fully know why. I had no interest in Capsuleer flight, I was no warrior. I loved biology and the study of life. Capsuleers are not life, they are abominations. But still I tried to please him. Part of me wanted his approval, his love. Perhaps then the shadows that dogged my heart would disperse.

When the result of my 3rd failed entry application came back Father became furious. He flew into a rage and screamed at my mother, accusing her of condemning me to her own cloneless life. I stood; ready to defend her against this monster in our home. But he turned and hit me. I fell to the ground, blood running from my shattered nose. For a moment he just stared at me. Then he left. I never saw him again.

Aged 23, at the end of my studies, I secured a work placement with a scientific research team. With Mothers blessing I left the station I had been born on and headed out to my new home, a small private outpost located within a desolate wormhole.

I joined an eager group of fellow graduates, all of us excited to finally be out in the field after years of study in the classroom. The project was overseen by 12 senior scientists from various corporations and supporting the entire project was a contingent of hired Capsuleers along with their respective crews. They flew our field ships and were responsible for ensuring our wormhole remained secure. During my entire 18 months on the project I never once met a Capsuleer face to face. To us they were simply part of the many machines that we worked with.

Our primary goal had been the study of the Sleeper drones, mysterious machines found primarily within wormhole space. The key to discovering the fate of entire race of humans was said to be locked within them and we were all eager to try and find out more. We studied their behaviour, reactions and daily patterns as well as their strange structures floating in space. Destroyed samples and sometimes complete but incapacitated drones were brought to the outpost for further analysis.

It wasn't particularly safe work, the drones themselves were tricky subjects and there was ever the threat of rogue capsuleers. But it was fascinating and truly rewarding work. I knew I was lucky to have even gained a place in the team and the things we learned... oh the things we saw... most people, normal people I mean, well they never get to see half of what we did in their entire lifetime. I was in my element. I was happy... and I no longer felt the shadow.

On that last fateful day we received word of a strange new site that had just been uncovered. A Capsuleer scout brought back scan readings that were off the charts and unlike anything previously seen. A new kind of sleeper site? Or something else... something new? It was potentially the ground breaking discovery we had been waiting for. Five volunteers from our team were requested to go out and perform more detailed study of the location.

I had always detested Capsuleer driven space flight. For one thing having my life in the hands of someone with eternal life was always unnerving. Furthermore, a gut wrenching nausea plagued me during warp. The Capsuleer crews of course had little sympathy. I really do not understand how they live their entire short lives living and working this way. If it hadn't been for the importance of the mission I would have certainly passed up the offer and remained in port.

We boarded a Helios class Covert Ops Frigate called Lucky Star. I headed to the small onboard Laboratory and strapped myself into a warp harness. Trying not to think about the apprehension forming in the pit of my stomach my mind went elsewhere. I found my thoughts drifting towards my Mother and her beautiful smile.

We reached the new site, or at least as close as we dared to get to it and our Helios host remained cloaked to hide our presence. My colleague, Michella, threw me an anti sickness tab and a lopsided, knowing grin to go with it. We all set about analysing the data coming in from our Capsuleer pilot’s probes.

It was quickly apparent that something wasn’t right. There was indeed a Sleeper site at the coordinates supplied but it was long abandoned and no readings taken came close to what had been sent to us back at the outpost. Deep in discussion and on the verge of heading home, an alarm suddenly tore through the ship. Michella picked up the internal coms receiver and shouted back to us over the din; “Shit, guys something knocked the cloak off and the Cap can't reactivate it. She’s also picked up an unknown pilot on D scan fast approaching our location, we have to get to the evac pod ports NOW in case this goes tits up, c’mon people MOVE IT!”

Around me the lab erupted into a flurry of shouting, shoving and running as people grabbed essential items and fled the laboratory... but I was frozen.

The shadow; it was here. I could it feeling creeping up my spine, surrounding me, enveloping me. I felt my heart turn cold and I could think of only one thing... my Father.

I turned to the Lab’s long, thin viewport. And there I saw it... from out of the light of the sun came the Taranis. For a second, a single second in all of time, I saw that ship through my Mother’s eyes and my Father’s heart. The web like warp tunnel brought it to me as though a gift lovingly bestowed. The light caressed its steel curves and accentuated the raw power of the turret covered panoply speeding towards our Helios. The shadow, it was coming for me now.

The warp tunnel faded and the ship momentarily left my limited view as it orbited its prey. Something gripped my soul and I could not shake it. I was alone in the Lab now. The alarms continued to ring and I was aware of distant voices shouting over the open com system. But I could only watch in my stupor as the Taranis fired upon us.

Lucky Star
crumbled around me. The breath left my lungs. Everything stung and burned. I left my body.

But I saw the capsuleer pod. I saw it fail to act and fall to Blaster fire.

I saw my body, just one of many tiny stars that had failed to find the passenger escape pods, now drifting from the open guts of the Helios.

And I saw the Taranis, the shadow that moved across the sun to survey its kill. Then, having sated its violent desire, it vanished into warp.

I am still here... waiting for the search crew to arrive... but I know no one will see me. No one ever does anymore...

...I try so hard to see Mother’s smile... but it never comes. I am alone in the shadows, alone with my one final memory... the Taranis...

-------Attachment Transmission ENDS-------


  1. Great story eelis

  2. Tyvm, really enjoyed writing it.

  3. Gaaah, fiction?!

    /me deletes blog and refuses to read it ever again.

    Har, I kid. Very nicely written.