Vitoc, Liberation and Revenge (abridged)

I decided I would write a short story for the Pod and Planet Fiction Contest YC117. This was to be an EVE Online inspired story, and I opted to write one that centered on Galdir, a Minmatar slave, and I attempted to follow the lore as much as possible. The submitted stories were allowed to have 5000 words at maximum, which I went well over, so you can find the unabridged version here. The following is just an abridged version of what I originally wrote.

I decided to write a story only a few evenings ago, so I didn’t get as much time to work on it as I hoped, and as such, I’m not pleased with the end result as there was much more I wanted to put into it, and I didn’t quite have time to just make the story flow very well. Regardless, I will post it here for you all to read, so without further ado, please find the EVE Online inspired short story that I wrote below:


Vitoc, Liberation and Revenge

Galdir was awakened by the piercing siren ringing through the complex. 5:25 in the morning. It was the same thing every morning, every day, as it had been for many years now. He and his brethren would wake up to tend to the mining facility that they were bound to. Enslaved to since he was born.

Galdir sat up in his bed, careful not to rap his head on the bunk that was just above him where another of his tribe members lay. The other slaves were slowly shuffling out of their beds in the dimly lit room they were in. Most people were without shirts, some only in tattered underwear, as they filed to stand before their bunks.

Within a couple minutes, 19 able-bodied men were lined up in front of their bunks, waiting for the slave inspector to come in at 5:30 who would make sure everyone was there and grant them access to the bathrooms for 5 minutes before being ushered back into their room to get dressed for their day of forced labor.

The inspector entered at 5:30 sharp in his usual perfectly ironed uniform to perform a quick count while the 2 armed guards stood at the inside of the doorway.

Galdir and his group were allowed to go to the bathrooms to relieve themselves. They brisked past the 2 guards by the door. They would be granted 4 minutes and 30 seconds before they had to go back to their room so the next group could come in. When Galdir was young, there was less structure, more people slept in the same room, and they were allowed to freely go to the bathroom, as long as everyone was ready to head out by 6am. Due to increasing riots and rebellions on other planets, as well as on Tuomuta III, the planet where they were, the Amarrian empire had generally focused on splitting slaves into smaller, more manageable groups that couldn’t contact other groups very well which would hopefully reduce the slaves’ ability to coordinate another uprising.

Galdir and the others went into the bathroom and took care of business. His reflection showed a decently tall man who looked to be in his late 30s due to the hardships he had endured, even though Galdir was only 25. Pale skin that was marked with scars from accidents or the occasional slaver punishment were scattered across his face and body. He had a few scars going across his face: one right above his eyebrows and the other starting from his left ear and going down across his lips to end on the right side of his chin. The lines used to be tribal tattoos, but the slavers on Tuomuta III tried to discourage that, and as such, his face was branded with a hot iron to remove the scars which resulted in 2 large scars running across his face. The siren ringed again and he had to move out of the bathroom with the rest of his group and head back to their sleeping quarters so the next group could freshen up.

As Gladir and the others dressed themselves in their room, they quietly conversed about their upcoming day. It was usually the same small talk: how the weather would be (not that it would matter since they would all be underground), how hopefully nobody would get hurt, and how much they were looking forward to their daily Vitoc supplement.

The Amarr have had been many different attempts at controlling their slaves, ranging from simple beatings, to slave-collars which inject certain chemicals into the bearer depending on what the controller remotely decided, to the Vitoxin. All of the Minmatar slaves on Tuomuta III had been subjugated with the Vitoxin method which meant that they were all injected with a virus which would continuously produce Vitoxin in their system. If they didn’t get a daily dose of Vitoc, then they would start experiencing a range of symptoms within 24 hours ranging from confusion and hallucinations, to weakness, seizures, coma, organ failure, and ultimately, death. It wasn’t a pleasant way to die, experiencing almost every medical complication possible within 24 hours, and Gladir had seen first-hand how that went for other slaves who decided they would rebel and refuse the Vitoc, only to watch them suffer as their bodies shut down in the most painful way they could experience. Even when they then begged for the Vitoc, the slavers would usually let them languish and go through the motions of extreme discomfort, pain, and agonizing death to show the other slaves what would happen if they fought back and no longer received the relief the Vitoc brought. Others who tried to flee were expertly hunted down and flayed by the slaver hounds that stalked at the edge of the complex they lived in.

6:00. A siren with a different pitch ensued and all the doors opened and everyone shuffled outside to stand in the courtyard and line up in fashion similar to a military assembly. The multiple housing buildings stood behind them, while multiple trains waited on the platforms in front of them, ready to brisk them off to the mines where they would be working. Above the train platforms was a building which housed the Amarrian slavers and guards. In front of the building above the platforms, facing the courtyard and the slaves was a balcony were the Overseer for the complex would come out in his perfectly clean and ironed robe and address the slaves. The Overseer would greet them, much like a father would a son, and would reference to some holy Amarrian texts every morning. He always mentioned something about the holy relationship between the Amarrians and the slaves. The Overseer would always end his speech by asking if the slaves were willing to work for the Amarrian empire in their divinly decreed role, and roughly 800 men responded to the overseer with a unanimous “Yes!” To not agree would mean that you would be held back while the others went to the mines and never heard from again.

The slaves would board the trains and head off to the mines which were about 20 minutes away. After eating breakfast on the train, most of the slaves would get into light protective armor and grab some mining laser which was used to cut through the rocks and metal in the mines. The lasers themselves emitted a strong electromagnetic pulse, but not nearly as strong as the lasers that the guards wielded. To compound that problem, all guards had special armor which had built in electromagnetic resistances, so shooting their guards with their lasers would have a paltry effect, and any slaves who shot on the guards would just get slaughtered in the process.

Galdir didn’t actually use a mining laser. He was part of the Sebiestor tribe, which have always had an affinity for electronics and tinkering with mechanical parts. As such, he and other historical Sebiestor on Tuomuta III were typically used to repair broken mining lasers or other equipment used in the mines.

Most of the other slaves simply used lasers in the mines and got chunks of rocks and metals which were deposited in waiting hover carts that would be used to shuttle the materials to a train where it would later be shuttled to a spaceport. Galdir and some of the other mechanics would mostly be on call, going to miners who had defective lasers or other drilling equipment and repairing them. Galdir’s day would be occupied by running back and forth patching up defective equipment, lest him and the person with the broken tool would get punished. The work was hard and exhausting, but doable and punishments were luckily rarely needed, although that was more due to the fear of not getting their daily Vitoc supplement if they acted out. Lunch would take place around 1:00pm, and the slaves would be permitted to pause and eat a ration that was provided in their suits. The guards would switch posts during lunch as well, ending the first shift and starting the second one with a fresh set of guard. After the new guards were in place, the slaves would get back to work for another 7 hours until 8:00pm.

The guards would herd the slaves back onto the train where they were counted to ensure nobody was hiding in the mines or had tried to make a run for it, which would only have meant that the slaver hounds would sleep with a fuller belly that night. After all the slaves were accounted for, the train would make its journey back to the complex.

The slaves would need to go back to their rooms to await their turn to go to the bathrooms again. Galdir excreted frustration as he waited in the room. Frustration at being stuck in this place. Frustration that other Minmatar were free, while they were still destined to toil away until they got too weak to work in the mines. The Injured, weak and old were always sent somewhere else. The Overseer said they would work at other complexes that had less demanding tasks, but they had their doubts. The slaver hounds had to have some form of regular nourishment…

8:45. Their door opened and they were allowed 5 minutes to go to the bathroom and shower. The shower was adjacent to the toilets, and it was a large, simple tiled room with shower heads every few feet.

The slaves would then go back to their room where a cart of food was waiting. They each removed one tray and would silently eat on their beds. The food was largely tasteless, and of an odd consistency like tapioca pudding.

Despite the bland dinner, the excitement in the room was high. Soon the food cart would be retrieved and the doctor would be by to give them a shot of Vitoc. That was the highlight of the day for any slave on Tuomuta III. They needed the Vitoc to live, otherwise the Vitoxin within them would kill them in a most painful way, and Galdir and the others knew that. But that somehow didn’t matter to them, they were almost happy to work all day just to be rewarded with their daily Vitoc. The euphoria it brought them was so immense that they couldn’t describe it. Some of the slaves would stand, but most would sit or lay on their beds and zone out, lost in their daily nirvana, their solace from the living hell they normally inhabited. Their bliss would last for an hour or 2, and the lights in all the sleeping quarters would usually be off by the time their high ended, signaling the end of the night where most would drift off to a fitful, but much needed sleep in order to work another day.

This was the daily life of Galdir, the others in his room, his complex, and countless other slaves to the Empire on Tuomuta III and across the Amarrian Empire, which held so many systems and slaves in New Eden.

The whole galaxy did not belong to the Amarr though. Elsewhere was the Gallente Federation, the Caldari State, and the Minmatar Republic, among other groups and individuals.

The Minmatar Republic had been gaining momentum ever since the Minmatar Rebellion, and they were always struggling to liberate more slaves and return them to their ancestral lands and deliver them from bondage. In YC107, one particular contingent of the Republic Fleet came into control of a leaked prototype of Insorum, a cure to Vitoxin which would rid the body of the virus that creates the toxin. Since some of the Capsuleers among the Republic Fleet had managed to obtain a small batch of the new Insorum prototype which they had stored in Pator, they made the bold decision to liberate a colony that was employing Vitoxin to control the slaves. As fate would have it, they decided to launch a surprise raid on Tuomuta III. A fleet embarked, consisting of several Rifters class frigates, some Thrasher class destroyers for orbital bombardment, and a scattering of other larger ships, along with other drop ships carrying the various tanks and infantry that would be used on the surface.

The fleet departed from Rens in secrecy and made the few jumps necessary in order to reach the Tuomuta system.

For the people on Tuomuta III, it was just like any other night as they slept in their chambers.

The battle started in space, near the Ducia Foundry Mining Outpost as the larger Republic Fleet surprised the Amarrians. Any hope of quick resistance quickly faltered as the Minmatar managed to outnumber the Amarrians. At some point in the battle, it was clear what the outcome would be and even before the liberation fleet had managed to land on the planet, an emergency code was sent down to all of the complexes.

Galdir was always a lighter sleeper, and tonight it would save him and the others in his room as he was awakened by the muffled screams that he still managed to hear in his room. He glanced around. The lights were still off, so unless there was a power failure, it was still the middle of the night and something was amiss. Due to the screams, he rightfully figured it was the latter. He jumped down out of his bed and, despite the absolute darkness, woke up the others in his immediate vicinity since he knew the room like the back of his hand. They couldn’t barricade the doorway because their bunks were fastened to the ground but a plan was devised to at least use their blankets and pillows, as well as unneeded clothing to make a barricade that they could push on from behind with the hopes that if explosives or something very destructive was used, the makeshift barricade would protect them somewhat.

Then they felt it. Massive explosions that knocked them to their knees and made their teeth rattle. Everyone desperately tried to keep pushing on the barricaded door in order to hold whatever unknown terror that was on the other side of the door at bay. After a brief few minutes, the largest explosions petered off, but there was still much noise to be heard as cannons and gunfire rang out in and around the complex. Just as Galdir and the others started to relax, the door was thrust open from outside. They immediately pushed back and slammed the door shut on whoever just tried entering. The door was pushed on again, but it was stopped by their collective effort this time. There was no sound immediately outside the door from their would-be guest, but gunfire and cannon fire could still be heard through the muffled door. It eventually got much quieter, save for the occasional gun shot that could be heard. The slaves trapped in the room were still not sure of what that was though as the gun shot sounded more explosive and less like electromagnetic pulses that they were used to hearing. They held fast against the door, pushing back whatever inevitable fate awaited them outside.

After what felt like an eternity later, they heard muffled footsteps in the hallways, going through the halls and speaking a language unknown to them, yelling out what sounded like shouts or commands. They would then say that they were there to help free them in the Amarrian language they were familiar with. What was the other language the strangers on the other side of the door were using? Where they really freeing them, and why did that have an accent?

The oldest among them volunteered to step out in the hallway to see what was happening. Galdir and the others pressed their ears as close as possible to the door after he stepped out, and they were elated to find out that the men on the other side were indeed Minmatar, and they were there to free them, but everyone had to move quickly before a larger Amarrian backup fleet managed to reach them.

They thrust the door open and poured out and gazed in wonder at the Minmatar troopers in the hallway.. They looked similar to them in many respects, but more fit and still different since the ones who had been in slavery longer still looked more malnourished.

They made their way to the door. Galdir could see the remains of some of his fellow slaves, burned with electromagnetic waves as the Amarrian guards attempted to kill off the slaves instead of letting them be liberated. There were also the occasional corpses of their previous captors leaking blood from bullet holes since the Minmatar militia still used primitive projectile weaponry. Galdir arrived at the courtyard and the Minmatar boarded some armored personal transports that were waiting to whisk them outside of the complex so they could rendezvous with the orbital drop ships that were waiting to take them and the rest of the planet-side military back up to the fleet that was in position above the planet.

The slaves boarded the battle cruisers and cruisers orbiting above. The freed slaves were so caught up in their rescue that they forgot about their Vitoxin and the necessary Vitoc. After the initial excitement winded down though, the reality came back in a very stark comparison to the elevated mood they were just experiencing. Their concerns quickly elevated to mass panic and the slaves were screaming out in the Amarrian language they were born with, but most of the Matari troops and personnel on the ships didn’t understand them and some Amarrian-Matari translators needed to step in and explain to them that they didn’t need to worry. They knew they were infected with the Vitoxin, and they had a cure for them.

A cure? What would that bring? Would that mean that they wouldn’t ever need Vitoc again and they could live normally? …did that mean that they would never get to experience Vitoc again?

The fleet arrived at Matar in the Pator system, the ancestral homeland of the Matari People. Drop ships were sent down with the freed slaves to an internment camp set up to take in recently liberated slaves. Everyone lined up and told the attendants their name and their family history as far as they could remember. In the mean time, they were granted beds in windowed rooms, and allowed free reign to the bathrooms and showers which was a totally foreign concept to them. So foreign that they still ended up waiting untill someone came by to check up on them, and after being asked if they could use the bathroom, the personnel told them that they could go whenever. It was starting to get later in the day by that time, and Galdir and the other were getting anxious.

What about the Vitoxin? They didn’t want to die, and answers were hard to come by in the internment camp, especially since there was a language barrier. Galdir asked one of the translators what was going to happen to their cure when an intercom announcement rang out asking for all the freemen from Tuomuta III to report to the medical facility.

Galdir and the others managed to make their way to the medical facility where they went through a routine medical checkup. Unlike a normal checkup though, a special medical team was present this time. This team had a box full of injections and would inject every Matar that had the Vitoxin. The team had to explain that they would all need to remain in the area so they could be monitored for the next few hours, as the normal effects of Vitoxin would normally start to kick in if things didn’t work absolutely perfect. What they failed to tell them was their their Insorum was just a prototype that they had managed to obtain.

But it was indeed a prototype, and it didn’t work correctly for everyone. After about 24 hours since their last Vitoc supplement, they started to have complications. It wasn’t as bad as if they hadn’t taken the Vitoc, but it didn’t work out 100 percent. Some of them still experienced tiredness, confusion and hallucinations. Other experienced shortness of breath or panic attacks. A couple people would eventually later die due to the Insorum simply not working very well for them, but most of them fared OK in the end. Galdir was one of the ones who experienced a sharp shortness of breath which would continue through the rest of his life as his lungs had developed some scarring. In the moment when they were experiencing these complications though, panic ensued, and a small riot almost happened if it weren’t for the other Minmatar troopers that were called in and forced them to remain in an orderly fashion in the room, lest they be shot. Several hours passed as Galdir and the others were forced to remain in the medical wing under supervision while the medical team dealt with the more serious complications that arose. It did seem apparent to most of them after a while that, despite their minor ailments, they were not fully succumbing to the Vitoxin. That also meant that they would no longer get the Vitoc, which brought them such joy which was a bittersweet realization.

They remained in the internment camp for a few days as they were monitored and them deemed fit enough to go to a reintegration center where they would stay and get some further education, and most importantly, learn to speak Matari since they were used to speaking the language of their previous Amarrian enslavers.

Life went fairly smoothly, if awkwardly for about half a year as the freemen got used to the grasps of a new language and a new way of life, where they were allowed to do what they pleased for the most part. Not being told what to do was a foreign concept to them though. After many month of adjusting and learning the basics of the language, Galdir and the others slowly parted as they went to their ancestral tribal lands which had housing for them. As Gladir was part of the Sebiestor tribe, he and other Sebiestors went to the arid Mikramurka continent in the northern arctic region of Matar. Despite Matar being a much more temperate planet than the barren Tuomuta III they were used to living on, being so far north was a cold unlike anything they were familiar with.

Life proceeded, but Galdir was not satisfied with his life. It was cold, and he felt awkward going to the bathroom, showering, eating, or any myriad of other activities without permission since he was used to asking for permission all of the time his entire life. He was given a job doing minor repairs on the water extraction plants in the town he resided in, but he always managed to annoy his supervisors with requests to eat or relieve himself. Having to work to get money was also a foreign concept to him. What was this ISK, and why did he get it for working? Why did he need to give it to somebody for him to sleep in a room or to eat food? He was also unhappy that everyone was just happily living their lives on this planet, isolated from danger and anguish while so many other brethren were still trapped in slavery, suffering what he was suffering less than a year ago.

Galdir’s dissatisfaction with his environment, his “empathy-less” brethren in Mikramurka, and with himself, his hatred of having to deal with ISK and making poor decisions with ISK, and most importantly, his desire to free other brethren would lead Galdir to join the Republic Fleet as a mechanic.

Galdir proceeded to go through basic training, which he excelled in, despite his lacking, but rapidly improving language skills. The whole atmosphere was more what Galdir was used to: being told when to eat, when to work, and how long to take in the shower. He reveled that he did not need to worry about paying for his bed at the barracks, where he shared a room with other men again, which was a sharp contrast to the loneliness he felt in his place in Mikramurka. Galdir finished basic training after a few months with the others that signed on with him and he was granted the rank of Nation Warrior in the Republic Fleet. He would rapidly rise in prestige as his superiors realized he could repair about anything thrown at him. It wasn’t long before Galdir was put in a unit that operated on a Rifter that actively patrolled Minmatar controlled space where Galdir would perform repairs on the ship, both typical repairs and repairs in the midst of combat.

On one of their many patrols, the Rifter that Galdir operated on was in a small fleet consisting of a few other Rifters and 2 Cyclone class battle cruisers. They were patrolling through the Molden Heath region when they encountered an Amarrian slaver convoy consisting of 3 Tormentor class frigates and 1 Maller class cruiser. Without hesitation, the Minmatar fleet engaged the Amarrians and managed to beat their smaller convoy, rapidly destroying one of the Tormenters and the Maller. The two remaining Tormentors were damaged and made a hasty flight away into the Great Wildland. The 3 remaining Rifters, 1 of which Galdir was on board, pursued them with the intent of eliminating them. After a few jumps, the fleeing Tormenters made a last stand in B-VIP9 and engaged the Rifter that Galdir was manning. The incoming damage was almost too much to take. Their shields dropped almost instantly, but luckily the armor did a better job of protecting them against EM pulses. Galdir attempted to manage the heat that the Autocannons were expelling, but their Capsuleer who controlled most function was pushing them to the extreme. Their Afterburner was also putting out more power than it should and the heat made the inside of the Rifter like an oven, causing Galdir to struggle to keep his breath. Galdir and the few other crew members were frantically trying to handle all of the heat that all the modules of the ships were exerting when the Afterburner gave out do to the stress it kept receiving. One of the other Tormentors exploded which was a godsend in part because the rapidly depleting armor would stand for a little longer, and their Capsuleer let off of the heat on the Autocannons so that they were operating under normal temperature now. As the Rifters quickly chewed through the last tormentor, Galdir let out a sigh of relief as he had managed to live another day.

Their ship was badly damaged though, and the warp core itself had taken damage in the process. As they were in the Great Wildlands, the nomadic Thukker tribe was sure to be around in one of their caravans. They requested for help in the system-wide communication channel, and a group of Thukkers came to their aid. They managed to aid them and brought them back to the N-DQ0D IV – Trust Partners Trading Post, which they controlled.

While they were docked in the space station, Galdir conversed with the other Thukker there and learned how they were also occasionally staging small scale raids against the Amarr. They were working on assembling a fleet that would “ignite the skies above the Amarr and liberate all of their brethren”, which despite the audacity of the claim, was a rhetoric that resonated very well with Galdir. He inquired if there was a way he could work with the Thukker task force he was hearing about, and they agreed that they could use his mechanical prowess on some of their ships.

Galdir would then spend the next year rapidly rising through the internal ranks of the Thukker Tribe’s militia and working on cruisers, battleships, carriers, and ultimately he was called upon to take part on the engineering team for their newest Ragnarok. Galdir was unsure what a Ragnarok was when he was asked to join it, and the Thukker tribal leaders informed him that the Minmatar Elders, thought by many to just be fictitious, were in fact real, and together with part of the Minmatar Republic and the Thukker Tribe, the Elders had been assembling a fleet that would launch the largest attack on the Amarr to date with the intent of freeing as many slave as possible. To this end, they had constructed their own fleet of capital ships, including a few ships that were so big in scope they would be considered Titans. The Ragnarok was one of these ships. The Ragnaroks and the rest of the Elder Fleet had been constructed in secret and they were just waiting for the right opportunity to strike.

That opportunity would come shortly in YC110 when Otro Gariushi, the CEO of the Caldari based Ishukone corporation would develop a full scale and effective Insorum and subsequently gave it to the Minmatar Elders for free.

The timing was perfect, and the various cells and elements of the joint Minmatar-Thukker fleet would assemble and lead an attack on CONCORD in the Yulai system as a testament to their new found combat prowess and to shut down the DED defense systems that CONCORD utilized.

Galdir was not part of that attack though. Galdir was prepared with one of the other armadas that was preparing to jump into Jarizza: a system deeper under Amarrian control, and home to countless slaves. Galdir had only made a few cynosural jumps before, and it always made him feel nauseous afterwards. He and the rest of the thousands of other crew members on the Ragnarok prepared themselves. Hearts raced and knuckles turned white as they were about to jump into the most important battle of their lives.

“All hands, prepare for Cyno jump.”



Sources that I used:

Posted on November 18, 2015, in Short stories. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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