This is chapter 2 of “Redemption” a fictional tale set in the EVE Universe. Please see this page for more background on this story.
His metamorphosis had taken place deep in Amarr space. Getting there had been frightening and only the special visa had prevented detention, death or slavery on the way. Orv was not the only Gallentean in the passenger ship but certainly the only without government or business purpose. None disembarked at the medical station in Emrayur.
ID check. Yet again. Armed guards led Orv to his bunk in the detention wing, evidently the station was not prepared to accommodate Gallente pilots in the medical facility at all and this prison cell would have to do. As a nod to his special status, someone had kindly removed the shackles from wall and scrubbed the floor drain clean of bodily fluids. Apparently, a billion ISK go a long way to create a warm welcome.
The medical tests prior the surgery took days and were as thorough as the ones he had gone through in the academy before he set out on this trip. Of course the Amarr doctors would not believe the test results that their heathen colleagues had generated and in addition, they rarely had living Gallente specimens to prod and poke. A score of giggling medical interns were allowed to subject him to battery of unnecessary and degrading examinations. He was evidently the first enemy they had seen outside the holoreels and he made a point to be patient, polite and even cheerful throughout this ordeal, some of these interns could well end up on some battleship caring for Gallente casualties. In addition, his mission was to destroy one man, not an entire race.
Once, his sense of humor was tested when they made him sign his last will before the procedure. A sensible precaution but the questions made him laugh, the forms were designed for a religious Amarr, not an agnostic Gallente. Whether Orvalone Signoret wanted his ashes to be dedicated to the Empress and fired into the nearby sun or sent by courier to his home? He chose the Empress / Sun combination because it was much cheaper and besides, he had no home address.
And the evening before the operation, he was allowed to meet his sister Lydie – in his cell under the watchful guard of unblinking cameras in the walls. Of course he knew that she was on the station, that was the hole point of doing it here and not in Gallente space. But he had not seen her in weeks and when she finally walked into his cell, he could not contain his bottled-up emotions any longer and fell apart in tears. Lydie sat and took his head on her lap and stroked his bristly hair while he sobbed.
Her dry eyes stared down the watchers on the other side of the the camera.
After the procedure, Lydie walked Orv back to his cell. His body did not know what and where to heal next and simply shut him down. In vivid dreams, he was a boy again at home, listening to his dad’s tales when he had returned from some far flung journey amongst the stars. His father had been a engineering officer and crewed more starships and had seen more solar system than most capsuleers. His tales grew more and more fantastic although he never let on when he crossed the threshold from truth to fiction. Like when he single-handedly rescued a Damsel in Distress from a pleasure-hub single. To his mother’s chagrin, his dad told the stories with so many details as if he actually had been inside the structure, not just outside in the Minmatar Battleship keeping the shields charged. He heard himself asking “Dad, what is a pleasure-hub?”, which resulted in his mum giggling and blushing.
Sometimes, he woke fully aware where he was but could still hear the voices of his parents in his head. Then he realized that they were dead and he relived the surprise, the anguish, the feeling of abandonment, the guilt and last, the rage and lust for vengeance.
The next night, Orv came around finally and his body felt like it had been through a particularly hard combat session with his sister. Lydie was half his weight but twice his speed and could dance around him without impunity, her fluid kicks coming out of nowhere and her tiny fists striking like ballpen hammers with surgical precision. He was no match for her and they both knew it, but he never declined a session, never backed down, always got up. Orv expressed his love in these fights with an almost inhuman stamina and Lydie hers by not showing any mercy. He learned how to take the worst pain and she learned how to inflict it. Together, they would conquer the universe or so they made themselves believe.
And so Orv recovered from the surgery much better than the nurses had thought. He observed a glimpse of admiration in their eyes when they came change the dressings around the connectors in his neck. This is where would jack in the main communication link, effectively joining his nervous system with that of the ship he was flying. All output was going via that line and the conscious decisions as well. So he could think the ship into doing something. Unfortunately, combat situations did not allow for this slow method of decision making and this is where his new pod-suit came in. Bright-blue and made of a stretchy biomaterial it literally consisted of electrodes and stimulators. The electrodes read his status and responded to subtle movements, changes in temperature, conductivity and so on. The stimulators had the opposite job, they would activate based on the urgency of the the issue in their sector of the ship. So for example, small meteorite scratching the shield would induce a slight itch in his hand. A full blown hit of enemy laser fire into the structure would feel like a flaming fist penetrating into his stomach. Pain was the body’s normal way to rank possible decisions. The engineers who designed the system simply jacked into the firmware of his biomass.
On his last night on the station, Lydie left to fetch more water and never came back. Her owners had allowed her to stay with him since they had fronted the ISK for his transformation and wanted to see their investment pay off. Beyond that, they needed to make sure that she doesn’t get any ideas to bust out of the station and run away with him. Her collar had turned on the nasty flashing-red light indicating that it was charged with enough raw electrical power to kill her and anyone near her if she decided to leave her set perimeter. The surge would be strong enough to sever her neck cleanly and cauterize the wound, so not to make too much of a mess. Amarr love neatness.
And so, instead of a long good-bye, she simply walked out. Orv knew her well enough that he anticipated the move and said all the things he needed to say before she left. Saying goodbye to your last relative is hard enough. Saying it fully knowing that it may well be the last time in your life is worse. Doing all of this in front of a camera with the enemy watching was the ultimate torture and humiliation.
In the morning, heavily-armed security officers walked him to his transport. Overkill, he thought, I can barely walk and certainly not take over this station with my bare hands.
Although the thought had crossed his mind.