Dark and numbing – that is the experience I must go through each time I lose a capsule. The experience of having my consciousness ripped out of one body and forced into a clone if my previous residence might meet an untimely end. With current technologies, it is a simple matter to transplant what you might relate with a consciousness by “uploading” it from one body and “downloading” it to another; of course, the body that was uploaded from is immediately disposed of through disintegration. That is all I fear we are, just another program to be loaded onto hardware; we are known as capsuleers.
With the use of a command console known as a “pod”, humans, or what one might refer to as “human”, are now merely organisms used to pilot ships that range in size from small frigates to the monstrous titans. A pod is nothing but an egg-shaped capsule that contains a bodies and a mix of specialized fluids that allows the pod to constantly scan brainwaves and for you to single-handedly pilot a ship with even the most complex of modules fitted to the ship. Pods allow you to fire a volley of missiles with a single thought, activate a warp drive, repair a ship’s shields and armor, or even overheat your fittings by overloading it with energy from the ship’s capacitor to stretch their capabilities to the utmost limit possible.
Gigantic mega-corporations govern the many diverse constellations. Each constellation includes star systems; usually including anywhere from a mere two systems to as many as fifty. There are four main constellations, each governed by one of the four different factions and are all high security. The security in the systems differs from one to another ranging from what is known as null security, low security, and high security.
In high security systems, you are unable to do anything detrimental to another capsuleer less you face the wrath of CONCORD, the peacekeepers of the universe. Anywhere that CONCORD has an outpost is known as a high security system. Due to the safety these systems provide, most capsuleers that roam these areas are industrialists; capsuleers that mine asteroid fields and/or planets for materials to sell in the market, use in chemical reactions for more valuable materials, or use them directly as base materials for the construction of ships and fittings. Others choose to partake in missions sent from the mega-corporations such as helping to clear out areas infested with rogue drones or outlaws.
Low security systems are a bit different from the relatively safe high security systems; in these systems, you can open fire on other capsuleers. Even with the risk of these systems, some daring industrialists roam to these systems in the hopes of finding higher quality ores and materials for use in construction. However, capsuleers known as pirates and outlaws find these systems to be good hunting grounds to test their ship against another’s. Using their skills and refined tactics, they are able to probe out –to locate using space probes– and “corner” another’s ship. After they pacify their target through use of force, they may do whatever they wish with their prey; including ransoming it to the pilot through voice communication and thought-to-speech software, as most capsuleers would gladly pay an amount to save their ship that is worth much more, or the pirates might simply destroy the ship and take whatever might be left behind – such as the cargo.
Systems that have no security from CONCORD are known as null security and are much harder to live in. These areas are governed by capsuleers who form their own corporations and who form alliances with others. Logistics adds itself to life in null security, for knowing where you are in this unexplored space and knowing where possible enemies and targets are becomes just as important as acquiring materials for producing ships and fittings. However, industrialists are still desired in null security areas as you will easily find a need to acquire more tools for intelligence gathering and ships to defend your territory.
This is the universe I live in, one that dismisses the importance of life and cradles the idea of immortality, political influence, and military strength.
“Aura, bring up display of ships currently in my possession within a 1,000 AU radius.”
“Database accessed, list of ships on standby for injection.” Replied my pod’s AI, Aura.
“Injection approved, start download now.” A list of around sixty or so ships appeared in my mind, though they had yet to be sorted. “Sort the list by hull size, from smallest to largest.” They instantly whizzed around and rearranged into an orderly list that was much easier to brose. Browsing through the list, I noticed that I had only owned two in the current station I was docked in: a Kestrel – a frigate –, and a Raven – a battleship. I did not feel like bringing out my Raven as there was always a possibly for a war target to be setting up an ambush outside of the station and a battleship was simply too large to bring out without proper support. “Initiate pod transfer sequence,” I said suddenly, suppressing the anticipation I had felt for the upcoming thrill.
“Transfer to XT19N7, hull class of Kestrel.”
“Initiating; please standby for recalibration of the pod’s cerebral scan settings as you are linked to XT19N7 and transferred into the Kestrel’s bay.” Aura serenely replied.
I felt the pod begin moving as the metal gears outside creaked and sprang to life with cautious and careful handling.
Inquisitively, Aura queried, “Would you like to view current modules that are fitted to your Kestrel while you wait?”
I thought for a second before deciding, “Yes, bring up the list of modules both fitted and those in my hangar; sort in descending order. If power grid need is equal to another, sort by CPU need in descending order” A list appeared in my mind, this time injected through the use of the pod from its stored memory. This time, however, it displayed currently owned modules that were capable of being fitted to a hull class of Kestrel. The list listed modules included, but was not limited to: rail guns, shield hardeners and repairers, drones, armor hardeners and repairers, warp core stabilizers –which decrease chance of being jammed out of warping–, warp core disruptors – which do the opposite–, and a cloaking device that Kyras had just recently acquired the software to use. “Let’s give the cloaking device a try, just fit a warp core stabilizer and an expanded probe launcher with it for now.”
“Confirmed. Modifying current fitting of Kestrel XT19N7; this process should take one minute and twenty-seven seconds.” Just before the fitting process had been completed, Aura alerted me that the pod transfer sequence was successful. “Pod transfer and ship fitting process successful.”
I felt the pod ease to a stop as it had finished loading into its new dwelling. “Aura, undock from the station and transfer control of ship to user.”
“Transferring module and thruster control of Kestrel XT19N7 to user Kyras, male Caldari of Achura decent, pilot code of 31X9R7-28E-34Z1-6L, after undock sequence has been completed.” Aura’s elegant, if austere voice resonated throughout the pod. “Undock sequence activated.”
The ship launched out of the station, slowly but surely.
“Control of modules and ship thrusters successfully transferred to user.”
I felt a surge of energy course through me as my very mind was integrated into the ship’s control system. It was a feeling of sheer vigor as I felt areas of my consciousness touch the ship’s capacitor and thrusters. The feeling alone was enough to drive some mad through the immense sense of ecstasy; though the mental hardening I had endured for years to become a capsuleer kept me to my senses. After I had come to my senses, I aligned my ship the nearest star, C64-S13, in order to be in a more strategic spot to probe someone out in this desolate space known as null sec. “Initiate warp to aligned object, Aura. Set warp bubble to collapse fifty thousand kilometers from C64-S13.”
“Initiating warp drive.”
I felt the power be consumed from the capacitor, feeding the warp core. The thrusters began burning, increasing in heat by the second. Finally, I felt them reach max power capacity. “Enable warp bubble and activate warp.”
“Warp drive active. One hundred and twenty-one astronomical units until warp bubble collapse.”
The Kestrel suddenly pulled away from the station at a mind-numbing six astronomical units per second. While increasing in speed from a mere three hundred meters a second to max warp speed, the ship cringed and shook from the pressure of condensing all of the space in its entirety to a form of tube within which my ship –wrapped in a bubble produced by the warp core– sped through. As I neared max velocity, the shaking reduced until it was a smooth ride. The feeling of increasing my speed at such a rate, even while cushioned by the liquid in the pod, is a gut-wrenching feeling that takes a while to get used to; though it is no easy feat to do so.
“Nearing set destination, twelve astronomical units until warp bubble collapse.”
Aura brought to my attention that I would soon be pulled out of warp and I prepared myself for the reverse feeling aforementioned – slowing down.