Capsuleer

Capsuleer. Respected. Revered. Immortal. Hated.

My name is Jonathan C. Stapleton. I am a warp core engineer aboard the Gallentean Megathron class battleship, named the Aurora. We were once a proud ship, bustling with life, exploring dangerous territory seeking adventure. Then, the captain, who I had respected up to this point, retired and sold the ship on the capsuleer market. The very sight of one of those green oozing pods makes my stomach churn.

Most of us left the ship, partly because of the significantly lowered crew requirements, but also because of the fear of dying in a suicide run. This fear was not held by the capsuleers, and it was this very lack of fear that had cost the lives of countless mortal pilots and crew across New Eden. Among them was my father. I loved him more than anyone else in this world, and now the only thing I have left is his last words before embarking on the suicide mission that the capsuleer had planned to amuse his lofty friends. He had said, almost knowing his fate, "You and I; we're mortal, son. Don't ever stop loving that. We die, but because of that, we live! Capsuleers are people to feel sorry for, not looked up to or hated. They wander infinity not aging or feeling the warmth of another body, but rather the cold fluid and neural wiring that surrounds them. I might not see you in this flesh again son; I love you."

With that, he left. He never quite told me where he was going or what he was going to do; he said that it was secret. A week later, I received news that his destroyer, under command of a capsuleer, had been destroyed after attacking a mining barge in empire space. That moment I swore to avenge my father. That is the reason I stayed on the Aurora. Not because a warp core engineer is necessary; repairs are handled by ever evolving nanite paste these days. I stayed because I am going to avenge my father. I am going to kill the capsuleer.

It was a grand ceremony. Despite more than three fourths of the crew being gone, it still left well over a hundred people on the Aurora. As the capsuleer was being loaded into the control chamber near the heart of the ship, a crowd gathered around, watching in awe. I gave them all dirty looks.

"What are your plans now that you are in command of this vessel?" a technician called out from the crowd. The lifeless green pod clicked into place as support personnel connected tubes and wired to small notches in the slender metal.

"I am going to take this ship to a system approximately thirty jumps from here," a synthesized voice boomed through the chamber. "We're going to be defending the assets of the corporation we're now all in."

"What are you going to do about our current caliber weapons?" a gunnery officer inquired. A few more individuals commented on the ship's currently installed modules. I prayed that the capsuleer would say something other than a rack of guns and rapid fire modules where our armor plates should be.

"I looked over the ship's current fitting," the voice answered, "and I think I'll keep it. I know how to manage a ship's power grid more efficiently than the previous owner, so I'll be swapping out these armor plates for thicker ones. That is all."

I sighed in relief. So we weren't going to die in a suicide run just yet, but from what I've heard, fleet battles can take down just about any ship, no matter how many damage resistance modules you have installed. I couldn't allow this ship to become a part of that. This capsuleer had to die.

"Will you be making any changes to the crew?" a voice called out. Numerous others agreed with the question.

A security camera swept the crowd, as if it was looking for someone. I glared up at it, making it stop for a brief moment. "No," the capsuleer said.

"Alright, you're good to go," a technician reported, slapping the side of the pod. "Run a quick diagnostic just to make sure while I'm here."

I watched as the capsuleer ran through all the ship's systems. The technician tapped his fingers on his arm, waiting for a response. At last, the capsuleer answered, "All systems check out. I'm going to begin our journey immediately. Undocking now."

As the ship maneuvered through the docking bay, we all went our separate ways. I jogged down to the warp core as I felt the ship's engines rumble.

I sat on my uncomfortable metal chair, watching the swirling colors of the warp core. Glowing blue cables fed into it, delivering vital coolant. The warp core slowly dimmed as the ship exited warp, and then pulsed white for a brief second as it activated a star gate.

A few moments later, the warp core hummed into life again as the ship set a course for the next gate. This was jump seventeen out of the thirty estimated by the capsuleer. If I was going to take action, it would have to be now.

I walked over to the control consol by the warp core, and accessed the security feeds. Using my superior access, I quickly severed their connections to the rest of the ship. I then locked the doors using a security technique my father had taught me.

I knew that if I killed this capsuleer, the punishment would be more horrible than death. I loved this ship, but I could not live to see it in the hands of a capsuleer. I took a deep breath in, and closed my eyes. This decision would be my last.

I opened the control panel for the coolant lines. I disconnected them, and put the same security lock on the tank. Almost immediately, red lights started flashing through the ship, and alarms screamed of the highest priority. I estimated that in about five minutes the core would detonate, hopefully killing the capsuleer.

My communication unit buzzed. I checked it, and saw that the capsuleer was calling me to repair the warp core. I threw the unit aside, and it clattered to the floor.

I took a seat in my chair, and folded my hands. I wiped nervous sweat off my forehead, and swallowed a lump in my throat.

The temperature of the room started to increase. The warp core dimmed as the ship initiated an emergency exit from the warp bubble. I wasn't counting on that; it would buy them at least a few more minutes.

I then heard a pounding on the door. I sprang up from my chair, and looked around for a weapon. I picked up a wrench, (a remarkable tool, despite its age,) and hid myself under a scaffold near the warp core.

The door then opened, and a slimy figure wearing only underwear appeared. It had to be the capsuleer.

His head was bald with little metal prongs sticking out where neural cables were once attached. His skin was covered in a green liquid, and despite my previous assumptions, he was actually rather muscular.

"Mr. Stapleton!" he shouted, quickly scanning the room. He then moved over to the control console, and started to reconnect the coolant lines. I slid out from my hiding place, lifted my arm, and then brought the wrench down up on his head.

I heard a gruesome crack, and he fell to the floor, screaming in pain. A metal stud loosely hung from his head, critically damaging his interface with his pod.

I brought my wrench up again, ready to strike down upon his face. He looked up at me with familiar green eyes. "John…"

I hesitated for a moment. "F-father?"

The warp core finally detonated. It tore a great hole in the side of the ship, and ignited the ammunition stores. The entire ship was engulfed in a fireball as the Gallentean metal was torn to shreds.

The capsuleer's consciousness never made it to its clone after the incident.