G.I. Aura

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Planet VI, Moon 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station

Having “earned the right” for another question I immediately asked it, “Ger, how long does it take an Aura to develop a rapport with the capsuleer?”

“What do you mean by rapport?”

“You know, adjust emotions, humour, and behaviour in general to suit the particular capsuleer’s personality.”

Gerhardt shrugged, “They don’t do that. Auras are virtual assistants; their programs are pretty standard and do not evolve. Although they are highly intelligent, Auras do not have emotions, to say nothing about humour.”

“That’s strange,” mused I. “I thought they all started the same but then adapted to the owner’s personality.”

“What made you think so?”

“The contrast between my Aura and yours.” Continue reading “G.I. Aura”

The Training Plans

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Planet VI, Moon 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station

While I was getting back to the Navy office I got a message from Gerhardt who congratulated me on becoming a capsuleer. He had some business in The Forge next day and suggested to have a catch-up in the evening. I gladly agreed as again I had a lot of questions for him.

This time the agent, her name was Annukka, didn’t have objections; apparently my vandalism was either unnoticed or, more likely, totally inconsequential. Yatagarasu was now owned exclusively by me, without any restrictions. I felt like celebrating but decided to wait until Gerhardt’s arrival tomorrow.

Before I left the office, Annukka asked, “Have you already found a place to stay?” Continue reading “The Training Plans”

To Kill a Seeker

The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – Planet VI, Moon 6
Science and Trade Institute School Station

Itamo VI - Moon 6 - Science and Trade Institute School Station
As soon as we docked, Aura transferred the salvaged data to the Navy. I went to the local Navy office for debriefing and to finalise the transfer of Yatagarasu. Shockingly, the agent who supervised my mission told me that it was not completed: my objective was to retrieve datacores, but what I brought back was a raw dump of the backup system. My objections that it was the same data but in a different format didn’t get me anywhere – the lady stubbornly stuck to the letter and insisted I had to fly another mission before encumbrance on my Yatagarasu title could be lifted. While we were bickering about T&Cs, the agent received a message on her commlink and excused herself. After reading it she said, “Take a look at this. I’ve forwarded the message to your address.” Continue reading “To Kill a Seeker”

The First Mission

It was September 5th, YC120. I was standing in a big hall with several dozens of other graduates and listening to Admiral Nobuyuki Oshiro. He commended us on our skill and dedication. He told us how lucky we were to be able to join the elite ranks of capsuleer pilots. He reminded us of our duty to protect Caldari State and a way of life of Caldari people. He said many other things expected on such occasion. Then he shook hands with every graduate and exchanged a few phrases which showed detailed knowledge of our personal files. To me he said that I was lucky to meet Gerhardt who was an outstanding role model for all aspiring capsuleers. Despite my rather cynical self, I felt inspired by the Admiral’s speech and his personal touch. Later I was told that he was always invited to capsuleer graduation events because of his exceptional people skills.

Continue reading “The First Mission”

Navy Training

Although I’d passed the required tests I was not immediately entitled to become a capsuleer. To be honest, my control of the capsule engine was still rudimentary and I knew absolutely nothing about the ships I was going to fly, so further training was in order.

The education programme I received at Caldari Navy base was light on theory and heavy on practice. Its main goal was to ensure that my brain-machine interface was developed to the point where I could use it unconsciously. In addition to the engine, I also had to master control of various slots where ship modules were installed. Each slot was represented by a separate neural path which had to be activated in my brain. Interestingly, their activation happened much quicker and smoother than the first one. That had always been the case for all candidates who had passed the initial tests, and no one knew why. It was like the initial breakthrough raised the control of our brains to a new level and enabled us to easily adopt new appendages in the form of ship modules. At the end of the training I was able to manage up to 8 slots in each of low, medium and high energy categories. Other brain-machine interface functions that I had learned to use were navigation, drone control and Neocom – a ship’s information system. Continue reading “Navy Training”


The second test had finished. Out of our group only I passed it, and only Lenka was able to activate the pod, but she was never able to repeat her breakthrough. Before leaving I came to her room to say good-bye. She hugged and kissed me, wiping away a tear.

“Lenka, I am so sorry that you…” started I, but she interrupted me.

“Don’t worry, I am not crying because I flunked the test. But it’s always sad to lose friends. We had a good company here and there were many happy moments, but I don’t think I’ll see anyone again, especially you.” Continue reading “Farewell”

At the Drop of a Key

I was surrounded by darkness. I looked around and saw a blue light. I flew to it. The light was growing brighter and brighter as I approached it. I was curious if there was something behind it and circled the light. I didn’t find anything but then I saw a yellow light in the distance. I went to it but again didn’t find anything except steady luminescence. Then I noticed a red light and, like a moth, I got attracted to it and made a full circle around that light. By the time I finished my circumnavigation I heard a strange noise. It was getting louder and sounded like a loose sail flapping in the wind. The noise was very disturbing and I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. Finally, when I decided to investigate the source of that sound I… opened my eyes and woke up. Continue reading “At the Drop of a Key”

Sleeping with a Key

“Professor,” pleaded I, “what else can I do? Every time I see that dream where I fly in space, I wake up and find I have moved the pod, but I have no clue how to do it consciously. Daydreaming does not produce the same effect. Your theory about strengthening neural paths either does not work, or requires much more time. But I don’t have that time – there are only two weeks remaining before the end of the test.”

Professor avoided my imploring gaze and drummed his fingers on the table. He seemed to fall in trance and nodded his head following the steady rhythm. After a while his fingers performed an intricate coda and he surfaced from his reverie. “I have to admit, Vlad,” he sighed, “I am totally out of my depth here. As I’ve already said, your case is nothing like I’ve seen before. I am as desperate as you, and would buy snake oil if someone told me it would help.” Continue reading “Sleeping with a Key”

The Dream Continues

I didn’t know at what time Professor Muhamad normally had his breakfast, but mine started at 16:00 next day. After weeks of pushing myself to the limit my mind welcomed the opportunity to catch-up on the missed rest, and as a result I soundly slept for twelve hours straight. I guess, all that time Prof was anxious to interrogate me, but I was grateful he gave me R&R I badly needed. When I woke up I felt light and energised, like I was newly cloned.

After the “breakfast” I knocked on the Professor’s door. He greeted me as if nothing happened, “Come in, come in. Had a good rest?”

“Yeah, thank you for letting me oversleep.”

“Don’t mention it, you needed some downtime. Not sure if you noticed but for the last week you looked like a zombie. I wonder if that contributed to the breakthrough you had. It would make your case extremely unique – you would be the first person who tortured himself into a capsuleer,” said Prof and chuckled. Continue reading “The Dream Continues”

The Power of Dreams

Lenka started coming to our evening catch-ups and also visited us in the docks having a chit-chat with the guys and me during the breaks. It lasted about a week and then she got bored. Looking at our consistently unsuccessful attempts to activate the pods was as entertaining as watching the paint dry. So one morning she simply returned to her dock, boarded the pod and everyone pretended that nothing happened. After that I got a message from Professor Muhamad with just three letters – IOU.

Continue reading “The Power of Dreams”