Friday, May 8, 2009

Beginnings: The Enemy Revealed

The Enemy Revealed

Thukker stations have a reputation for starkness. Since the Amarrians had invaded Matari Space, the Thukker Tribe has been on the forefront of the fight. And luxuries don’t have a place during time of war. JJ knew his way around the station. While being a young man, he has worked for Special Ops for almost two years now, ever since he graduated from the university. No longer having any family ties, the Brutor had found himself a capable agent. One who could infiltrate and kill without concern over the loss of loved ones.

The young Brutor knocked, and opened the door. He knew he was expected, so without hesitation he entered the small conference room and approached the two officers sitting at the table.

“Are you…”, began one officer.

“My friends call me JJ,” came the quick reply. “I’ve been told that you need my … um, … talents?”

Both officers stood, smiled, and shook his hand. “Yes, we’ve been expecting you. Please, have a seat.” The first officer said, “My name is Takkal, Captain of Special Operations in the 4th Thukker Division. This is Captain Sardis from the 3rd Division.”

“I’ve been told that we have an opportunity to infiltrate one of the houses,” said JJ. “How can I help?”

Takkal, turned and glanced at the second officer without saying a word. He then turned back to his guest, “It’s not the house we are after.” He paused and took a breath. “We need your help to get into the Theology Counsel.”

JJ didn’t say a word. Every Matari knew of the Theology Counsel. The Amarrian Empire was hated, yet it was the Theology Counsel that was despised the most. It was well acknowledged by every Minmatar that it’s their religion that drove the Amarrian to destroy and subjugate other worlds. It was their belief system that energized the enemy to commit such atrocities. And it was the Theology Counsel that promoted their vile faith.

“What can I do?” came the slow reply. “I’m no Amarrian priest!” JJ spat out the words as if they were coated with poison.

Sardis, who remained quiet so far, opened a folder and glanced through it. “I have a report here that your degree is in archaeology.”

The Brutor squirmed in his seat. His hatred for the Amarrian scum didn’t cloud his good judgment. JJ knew that to get too close to the Theology Counsel meant he would be scrutinized more closely than normal. “My degree is in Signal Analysis and Scan Probing,” JJ said. “I only minored in archaeology at the University just to fill in my credits.”

“That’s fine JJ,” came the first officer’s reply. “We need your skills and background to slip in and infiltrate a project the Counsel has been working on.” The lights went dim and the wall screen lit up showing the plans of an archaeological dig. Apparently an ancient building complex was discovered several years ago that contained an almost intact library. For well over a thousand years, this site had remained dormant and now with the expansion of nearby construction, the ruins were uncovered. “It has been found that many of the records translated so far have shown to contradict the current Amarrian religion. If we can get solid proof that the Empire has no foundation to their beliefs, it would go a long way to undermine their Manifest Destiny.”

“I’m not interested in religion!” shouted JJ, pounding his fist on the desk. “I want one thing! I want Amarrian blood!!!”

There was a long pause of silence. Captain Sardis took a breath and began, “JJ, we know how angry you are over the loss of your family. Many of your Matari brothers and sisters have lost family members to the Amarrians as well. You are no exception.” He leaned forward in his chair and continued, “We have an opportunity to strike against the empire, right where it will hurt them the most; in their precious beliefs.”

“JJ,” Takkal included, “We have the report on your home-world invasion.” He reached into the folder and removed several papers. Looking down at them, he continued, “Your father and brothers were killed defending your home, and your mother and both sisters were taken.” JJ bowed his head. He thought the years would have dulled the anger and bitterness over his loss, but the tears wouldn’t stop. The officer continued, “We also know who sponsored the raid.”

The Brutor looked up and glared into the eyes of his companion. “What does that have to do with me getting into the Theology Counsel?”

The two officers looked at each other and smiled. “The archaeological dig is headed by an unknown scholar by the name of Doctor Gabriel Theodoulos. His father, John Carl Theodoulos was the Amarrian who sponsored the raid that killed your family.”

For years the burning hatred and anger had sat in his belly, smoldering and festering in his very soul without having an outlet. He had tried to focus this hatred by volunteering for raids against the Empire. JJ believed that the only way to satiate this hatred was to find the murderers of his family and extinguish this inferno with the flow of their blood. Now he has a name. The name of his enemy. The name of the guilty who deserved nothing less than to die by his hand.


“When do I begin?” was his only response.

- -

For a Minmatar agent to infiltrate the Amarrian Empire took lots of training and lots of time. Training began on how to behave without giving away your identity. Though the Empire had harvested many of their slaves from the Matari worlds, it was not normal for such a proud race to bow the will to another. It took training. Immunizations also had to be slowly given to the agents in order to become immune to the Vitoc which was regularly used by the Amarrians in order to keep their slaves in subjection. Without this immunization, the agent would be lost.

And finally it took time: time to produce legitimate forgeries of documents and passports. Time was needed to establish viable alibis in order to cover the tracks of the agent. Time is essential to prepare the agent for what they were about to encounter. Normally, an agent was slipped in with a cargo of slaves heading toward a certain point. Body would be pressed against sweaty body, with each slave’s Vitoc collar clanking against another’s while the transport made its way deeper into Empire territory. Once at their destiny, the slaves would be herded off and allocated to their assigned tasks, depending on their menial skills.

JJ’s entry into the Domain Region was different. Unlike the normal route of a slave, JJ arrived from Sinq Laison on an Interbus transport. Though still a slave, he had come by way of a wealthy Gallentean. JJ’s papers showed that he was an educated slave with a degree in Archaeology. While still a slave, this made him more valuable. Unlike the normal bulky Vitoc collars that are commonly seen amongst most of the laborers, JJ wore a more discreet version that allowed him to move among others without drawing attention to himself.

After landing in Amarr, the Brutor walked off the transport and headed directly to the closest terminal. Inserting his passport, the computer directed him to where he could pick up his luggage and be assigned transport. He retrieved his passport and started to head downstairs for his luggage, when he heard a voice behind him.

“You! Slave boy!” came a cold order. JJ stopped and turned around, being very careful not to raise his head and look at his hated enemy in the eye. It was a Security Guard.

“Your papers, now!” the guard commanded. JJ brought out his papers and humbly handed them to the Amarrian. The guard looked them over, and carefully scrutinized the Brutor. “I’ve never seen Matari filth dressed as fine as you.” Amarrian security guards normally carried firearms. Many also carried what was called a pain stick, a device that could deliver a controlled burst of current. With only a twist of a gauge the weapon could produce a wide range of suffering from a mild sharp pain all the way up to death. This guard was no exception. He handled his pain stick deftly in one hand while holding JJ’s papers in another. The Matari waited quietly until his papers were returned and he was ordered to be on his way.

JJ continued down the escalators and arrived in time to grab his luggage. Heading out the spaceport, he moved toward the lesser transports. No slave was permitted to ride the public transports of the Empire. They were relegated to the crowded transports for lower class. Moving away from the crowd and toward the lesser transports, he heard a voice call his name. JJ turned and saw a frail figure of a monk walking toward him. “I am called JJ”, came his normal answer. “I am here to work for my new master, Doctor Theodoulos.”
The monk smiled, and explained that he was to bring the Matari to the monastery. The Matari was not used to such politeness offered by this monk. He was familiar with callous words and a cruel hand. This monk was different. Though the Amarrian still kept his distance from the Brutor, he didn’t have the harshness that JJ came to expect from his enemy. The monk directed him to an awaiting vehicle, and they quickly departed.

As the two sped along towards the archaeological site, the monk handed JJ a small round device. “Master Theodoulos does not care to have his servants wear Vitoc collars. Here is a key to remove yours.” JJ was shocked. Never has he ever taken a collar off while in Amarrian Space. He took the key, and placed it on the collar. There was a small click and the band unlocked without delivering the lethal drug used to keep slaves under submission. JJ knew that this treatment of slaves was not normal, and he was not sure how to react.

“May I ask you a question,” JJ quietly queried. “How does Master Theodoulos handle those who rebel?”

Without even turning to the Brutor, the monk smiled and replied, “No one rebels against the House Theodoulos, JJ. No one.”

An icy chill ran down his spine at the thought. How can Minmatar live in slavery without rebelling? What horror keeps brave Matari from turning against their slave-holders? A haunting fear crept over the Brutor’s soul, not knowing what he was about to face.

They continued on.

- -

The work at the archaeological site was more than Gabriel or anyone else could have imagined. At first only one floor of the library was discovered in the ruins. As more of the site was uncovered, three more floors of the library were found. Though much of the building had collapsed and disintegrated, thousands of books, manuscripts and tapes were recovered and much of them were still intact. It took a delicate and educated hand to recover and restore the material found.

Doctor Theodoulos discovered news on a Minmatar slave who specialized in archaeology. He was elated to find that while he only had a Minmatar education, he had experience in handling and recovering archaeological artifacts. This made him invaluable and the doctor had to have him!

It took him several months, and lots of paperwork, but Gabriel finally guaranteed his purchase. Many among the Theological Counsel were incensed by the idea of a slave being given such responsibility, but the House Theodoulos had close connections with the Counsel. When the dust settled and the nerves were calmed, Doctor Theodoulos won out, and the slave arrived.

Gabriel was beginning a new set of translations in his office when the Minmatar arrived. As the door to his office opened, Gabe could see his new manservant enter. He was tall and muscular, very much unlike the frail intellectual archaeologists that surrounded the doctor on a day-to-day basis. Despite the fact that he wore the wretched dreadlocks of a Brutor, he had a very clean appearance which pleased the scholar well.

“Come in, come in please,” invited the doctor. The slave cautiously entered the office, still uncomfortable over the treatment he was given by his new master. “How do you prefer to be called,” asked Gabriel.

“I am simply called JJ, Master,” came the quiet reply.

“Well JJ, welcome to your new home!”

- -

JJ didn’t know how to react. Standing before him was the heir to the man who wiped out his entire family. This frail elderly man could have been snapped in two before anyone had time to react. Yet JJ knew that he had to keep his anger and bitterness in check. The Brutor had to find the material needed to uncover the facts behind this archaeological dig and secure the truth before he could exact his revenge on his enemy. JJ bowed his head and replied, “Master, I am eager to fulfill my destiny.”

After the meeting, JJ was escorted to his quarters. Though they were Spartan, the small room was clean and comfortable. During the last mission he was on, JJ had to live in a single shed with other slaves. The floor was cold and wet, and the only way to stay warm was to huddle close to his fellow slaves. This was different.
The first two weeks were a time for orientation. JJ was evaluated and assigned duties that fit his experience. He was shown where he had access to and where he was forbidden to enter. The Minmatar was given a quick orientation on how to use the scanners and analyzers needed to document and recover the fragile texts. By the end of the month, JJ fit in just like everyone else. The one thing that he could not get over was the fact that none of the slaves wore collars. Each person, both free and slave did their task. Though one or two of the servants were critical over their situation, most of the slaves were very happy with their lives, especially those slaves who came directly from the House Theodoulos. The Brutor could not come to an answer over this dilemma.

The months rolled on and eventually, JJ celebrated a year at the site. A lot of material was recovered and much of the writings, though written in the archaic languages, had been translated and catalogued. The Brutor had quietly obtained a copy of the work without anyone noticing. He carefully encrypted the documents and stored them in a compressed file completely concealed from others. When he realized that he had enough evidence to provide for his allies, JJ started making plans for his revenge on the House that murdered his father and brothers. Although no one on the site carried weapons, he did find one firearm in the storage cabinet in his dorm. He quietly noted its location for when he would need it. He also noted that his master preferred to be alone in his study at night, long past the time when others went to bed. Everything seemed to line up perfectly.

The night of his plans, JJ moved the file from his computer to an archive crystal, and placed it in his pocket. Quietly, he left his room and retrieved the deadly weapon. Making sure it showed a charge, he slipped it in his pocket and made his way to the labs. The halls were dimmed, and everyone was gone for the night. The only person left in the building was Gabriel Theodoulos.

The closer JJ crept toward his master’s study the harder it was for him to control the rage within him. For months, the Brutor kept his anger in check, and even though Theodoulos was polite and kind to him, JJ could never erase the sight of his dead brothers. That night so long ago, as the slaver ships were leaving, laden down with fresh slaves, the young lad held his dying fathers in his arms. He wept as he promised his father that he would not give up until he found the one responsible. Revenge must be brought about. Atrocities must be paid for, and the payment would come with the shedding of Theodoulos blood.

JJ slowly crept up to the door to the study. He knew his master was in there. The door was cracked and light was pouring into the dark office where he hid. With the sweat of anticipation and the adrenalin flowing, he carefully, opened the door. Allowing his eyes to adjust to the light, he clearly saw the back of his enemy. With his right hand he raised the weapon to deliver the blow of vengeance on this man.

Then without turning away from his work, Gabriel spoke, “Hello JJ. I was waiting for you.”


Realizing that his plans were known, the Minmatar agent pulled the trigger. He knew now that he would never escape alive, yet he would at least die with the knowledge that his family’s murderer would die as well.

Nothing happened.

“I am sorry my friend, but the weapon is useless,” said the aged scholar. “Though it appears to be fully charged, it’s just a fake. Planted there for you.”

JJ was dumb-founded. He let his arm drop as if it had no strength left. “How did you know?”

Doctor Theodoulos turned around and faced his would-be assassin, “Your psycho-scans revealed you on the first day you arrived.” Gabriel activated a monitor, bringing up the reports on JJ’s brain scans. “We have monitoring scanners in each of the dorms. Though I detest those terrible Vitoc collars, it is important to retain proper security among the servants.”

Things started making sense for the Matari. He couldn’t understand why this Amarrian would live among slaves without the Vitoc collars to control the rebellious. Now it is clear. The House he was sold to, monitors all psychological activities of their slaves. But there was one more question he didn’t understand.

The lights came on behind him, and two armed guards entered the office. With all resistance gone, JJ asked, “How do you control the rebel?”

“Control the rebel?” Gabriel repeated the question. “We don’t control anyone. My dear boy, we cure them!”

- -

With the rage burning inside the Brutor and the horror of realization, the Minmatar assassin screams with all of his might as he is dragged away to the neighboring medical facilities. Neural surgery, though extremely expensive and potentially deadly has been considered more humane by the House Theodoulos. Their Amarrian surgeons are good. With a success rate of almost 85%, they are able to identify and redirect the cranial pathways that have been damaged by the hatred, pain, and bitterness. In most cases, a full recovery is expected.

Work continues on at the excavation site. More of the ancient library is uncovered, and the pieces are restored. Theodoulos wraps up another progress report for the Theology Counsel, and returns to his study. As he enters the office, he sees JJ sitting quietly to the side, waiting for him to return. Gabriel stops before the Matari and looks down at the seated figure, “Why JJ, it’s so good to see you back. How are you doing?”

The slave looks up at his Amarrian master, and tears fill his eyes. Though once, tears of rage flowed, now these are tears of joy and of love. “Master, I am so grateful for your help… so grateful.”

Gabe puts his hand on the Brutor’s broad shoulder, “That’s ok, my friend JJ. I am glad to help.”

“Master,” the Matari stammers, “Please, don’t call me JJ. That’s my old name.” The servant raises a sleeve to his face and wipes the tears from his eyes. “My father always called me by my full name, and I would be honored if you would too.”

“My name is not JJ, but Jom Jab.”

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