Compensating for a Small Penis


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A little more EVE Online fan fiction

 

“I couldn’t help but notice you’ve been bringing your sidearm to the control room recently.” Lieutenant Gaston’s gaze locked onto Demeilor.

“I’ve noticed the same about you,” Lieutenant Demeilor replied, his fingers trying to find a natural position close to his weapon.

“I’m only bringing mine because you started bringing yours,” Gaston replied. “We all know you started it… why?”

“I’m compensating for a small penis,” Demeilor replied with a smirk, glancing back and forth between Gaston and his own control panel.

Gaston chuckled and seemed to relax, turning his attention back to his own interface terminal. “Maybe I’ll call you Tiny, then. I still don’t trust you, Tiny. Especially after these spy warnings.”

“Gentlemen,” Commander Dofaix put in from his seat above them, obviously seeing through their humorous demeanor to the deadly standoff taking place just beneath the jokes. “We’re all on the same team here.”

“I fucking hope so,” Demeilor replied, glancing again at Gaston.

The spy warnings. The reds had warped straight into their location, interdiction bubbles erecting right and left as a dozen interceptors swarmed their sniper battleship fleet, followed closely by a fleet of close-range battleships. Demeilor had said his final prayers, as he scanned the hybrid turret operations and ordered ammo reloads, unable to shake the sound of his wife in the back of his mind, telling his little Leiphanna that her daddy was never coming home.

All around he’d watched the other fleet ships exploding, one by one, each time expecting their Rokh to be the next primary. All the while they continued burning toward the edge of the bubbles, afterburner overclocking nearly to meltdown. Somehow the enemy webber frigates simply missed them. They had hit the edge of the bubbles and finally warped away, as only a few other ships had managed.

Demeilor had contacted High Command, talked to some secretary administrator, who told him that it was most likely a coincidence, but to stay vigilant and contact them again if he found any evidence that wasn’t circumstantial. The alliance officials had better things to deal with than the paranoid suspicions of some turret operations lieutenant.

Demeilor had set up a few tracking programs in the local communications network, and within days had found suspicious activity, encoded transmissions feeding from secondary computer systems and heading far out of alliance territory. Transmissions straight from their own turret command center. Again, circumstantial, but he had begun carefully copying them all to his personal datapad.

So Demeilor had started carrying a weapon to work. As a relaxed-protocol mercenary ship, there were no hard rules concerning side-arms, but often it seemed like there was an unspoken rule that they would not carry them. The reds outside were the real enemies… or were supposed to be.

______ ______ ______

 

“Brace for another jump, folks,” warned commander Dofaix.

Demeilor absently checked the orders and course. From the edge of his screen, his personal notification told him that his tracking software had found yet another suspicious transmission. He glanced over his shoulder before pulling up the data. The encoding was different this time. Within moments he found a match and decrypted the message. Jumping back into previous system. Heading toward your position. That was what he was looking for… or hoping he wouldn’t find. After several long, nervous, moments his program tracked the origin: Gaston’s terminal.

Demeilor saw movement beside him and instinctively slid from his chair and turned to face Gaston, drawing his sidearm in the same motion.

Gaston was already moving just as rapidly and met the barrel of Demeilor’s weapon with his own. Their wrists came together, Demeilor cocking his weapon as it came within half a meter of Gaston’s face, still watching Gaston’s weapon bearing down on him in the same manner.

And they stood.

“I caught your transmission,” Gaston said.

“That’s what I was gonna say,” Demeilor replied, his eyes wandering to the grooves on the inside of the barrel, blurred by Gaston’s subtle trembling. “This whole time you’ve been sitting next to me, you’ve been sending messages to the reds… betraying all of us… and the alliance.”

His daughter came to mind and despite the hard blackness of Gaston’s weapon filling his vision, he saw only Leiphanna, as though he were simply watching her play with her holographic characters, endlessly rearranging their outfits and life stories. She had no idea of the danger he faced every day or the types of things that happened out in the depths of space. She went to school, played with her dolls and went swimming with her friends, as though everything in New Eden were peace and happiness.

That innocence was why Demeilor was out here… when there were enemies that sought to destroy all they had, out of a simple hatred for their alliance.

And Gaston seemed to be one of them, having turned against his friends, family, and the alliance that had built this life for all of them, and provided their families with safety and stability.

Demeilor felt his finger squeezing the trigger as he watched the trembling of Gaston’s pistol, while visions of Leiphanna and his wife Deialla danced just beyond the view of the barrel.

“You’re a traitor, Demeilor,” said Gaston. “I have the proof right there on my computer screen.”

It had to be a trick.

Just pull the trigger, he told himself… but still couldn’t do it, praying for a sign that would tell him what Gaston was thinking. They had worked together for too many years.

“Somebody remove his weapon!” Gaston called.

From the corner of his eye, Demeilor saw Lieutenant Steilio scrolling through the data at Demeilor’s station. “I don’t know, Gaston,” Steilio said. “It looks like Demeilor has been tracking some unauthorized comms coming from your station.”

“Bullshit,” he replied as Demeilor watched his eyes narrowing and gazing down the barrel of his weapon.

“I suggest you both put your weapons down,” said Commander Dofaix.

“You sound very calm, commander,” Gaston said. “I’m facing down a terrorist spy, and you don’t sound concerned.”

Demeilor caught Gaston’s eyes and noticed for a split second, a questioning twitch, and something changed, as though, despite their locked stares, they had not actually been looking at each other.

“What evidence is on Gaston’s screen?” Demeilor asked, suddenly questioning all his perceptions.

Demeilor stared as time seemed to slow to a crawl, and for every moment that passed he begged the forces of the universe to give him a status update… even if that update were negative.

A painfully long time later Steilio replied, “Gaston’s got something similar set up to track transmissions… and it sort of looks like he’s looking at the same transmission… let me check the voice frequencies.” He jumped back to the other terminal.

“Frequencies match—looks like you guys were looking at the same transmission… both your terminals were used intermittently as a proxy…”

“Seriously?”

“Looks that way,” Steilio replied, still gazing deep into the screen.

“Are we both getting played right now?” Gaston asked.

“Who has access to do that?” Demeilor asked.

And both men’s eyes turned minutely in the same motion to glance at Commander Dofaix.

Demeilor took a deep breath, bringing his gaze back to meet Gaston’s. “Steilio… I want you to put in a petition to the captain to request a review of Commander Dofaix’s transmission logs during the times this data was sent.”

“Aye,” Steilio replied.

“Can we put our weapons down?” Gaston asked.

“I’m waiting for you.” Demeilor replied.

And their guns slowly began lowering, their gazes still locked in suspicious fascination.

“Request denied,” came Steilio’s answer.

“Good,” said Commander Dofaix, “so we can move on.”

Gaston and Demeilor stared at each other for one last moment as they holstered their weapons. They turned back toward their terminals, seemingly in the same motion.

For several long minutes they went back to their regular tasks. In a side window, however, Demeilor uploaded all his information to the datapad in his pocket, then took Steilio’s investigation request and upgraded it, sending it to the fleet’s internal affairs team.

A moment later the window flashed. Message transmission failure. He grabbed the text and sent it to Steilio’s terminal. Send this to Fleet Command, discreetly, he typed.

A few long moments later, Steilio replied, My outside network connection is all fucked up.

Demeilor wanted desperately to glance at the commander, but instead, looked at Gaston, who seemed like a different person than he had just a few minutes earlier.

Another response from Steilio: I’ve lost all network access.

Ensign Herforth spoke up from the other side of the room. “Has anyone else lost connection?”

“What the fuck is going on here?” Gaston turned in his seat to look back at the commander, now crossing the room to the door. “Commander Dofaix…”

“Where are you going?” Steilio asked in the same moment.

They received no answer. The commander stepped to the exit and keyed in his code. The door slid open and he slipped out into the hall without a word.

As the door slid shut again, Demeilor turned back to meet Gaston’s eyes to see the sudden panic. They looked at Steilio who caught their gaze and immediately jumped from his seat to dash toward the exit.

Steilio punched in his exit code, but the hatch did not open.

“Does anyone have a connection?” said ensign Herforth. “I’m cut off from all weapons systems, communications, everything.”

“We’re gonna die in here,” Demeilor said, his eyes jumping back and forth between the main exit and the emergency hatch in the ceiling.

Gaston ran to the exit and attempted to open the hatch.

“Do you smell something?”

“They’re gonna gas us… yeah,” Gaston replied.

“How can you be sure?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

“Only the captain could shut off our access…”

“Exactly,” Gaston glared at Demeilor. “You should have waited to petition for a comm review… do it right in front of the suspect… fucking stupid…”

“We have the authority to express our suspicions…” Demeilor glanced around, felt the anger growing… the very people you’re supposed to trust… you put your life in the hands of your Commander and Captain… They can’t get away with this.”

“Well, obviously they can.”

“Okay, shut up,” Steilio said. “How do we get out of here?”

“Hold my seat,” Demeilor replied, rolling his chair below the emergency hatch in the ceiling. Ensign Herforth held the chair steady as he stood up to try the hatch. Gaston watched, but showed no surprise when the keypad rejected Demeilor’s code.

“I don’t suppose anyone brought some explosives to work today?” Gaston glanced around between the three men, receiving empty stares. He pulled out his weapon with one hand as he pulled his uniform over his nose with the other. “You can smell it… whatever they’re gassing us with…” He motioned at Demeilor. “Hey Tiny, gimme your weapon—ever build a makeshift sticky bomb?” Gaston dropped to the floor and began emptying the ammunition from his weapon.

“Will it have the power to bust us out?”

“Maybe,” he replied as he opened a pocket knife and began carefully prying the casings off the bullets. “Check the medical kit and grab me the surgical nanite kit and the quick-drying sealant.”

Demeilor sat next to Gaston, emptied his own pistol and began following Gaston’s lead at opening each shell and dumping the powder into a pile on the back of a datapad.

Herforth coughed as he dug through the medical kit on the far wall.

“Fuck this,” Demeilor said, giving up on the careful prying action. He placed the round on the floor and tapped it hard with the butt of his weapon.

“You’re gonna set off one of those charges and kill both of us,” Gaston said.

“No time for pussyfooting,” Demeilor replied. “Ten minutes and we’re gonna suffocate.”

Gaston took a deep breath and pushed the datapad and pile of explosive further away from their work area and followed Demeilor’s lead in rapidly and violently smashing open the rounds. He seemed to flinch with every strike but continued quickly.

Herforth dropped to the floor beside them with the supplies.

“Set the surgical plate to override all advanced decision making,” Gaston ordered. “Set the nanites to perform a simple chemical dispersal while ignoring all flesh and substance conflicts. The bots shouldn’t realize they’re not working on a person.”

Steilio joined Gaston and Demeilor at tearing apart ammunition. After a minute Gaston began wrapping surgical tape to form a dish to hold the powder and began pouring the substance carefully into the center.

“We need to hurry,” Herforth said as he passed Gaston the surgical plate. “I’m feeling light-headed.”

Gaston carefully stripped the plastic coating from the surgical plate, revealing the thick nanite powder, and carefully poured it over top of the explosive.

Demeilor’s lungs burned suddenly as he watched Gaston rise slowly to his feet, cradling his creation in his hands. The breath caught in Demeilor’s throat as Gaston stumbled and caught himself before putting one foot onto the chair. “Somebody hold me up… shit… I’m feeling light-headed too… oh… it hurts to talk.”

Demeilor rose to his feet and a bubble of pain rose from his stomach, jolting his jaw and twisting into his brain, threatening to topple him to the side. The room spun and Demeilor staggered, but caught himself and stepped forward to grip the chair as Gaston took a shaky step up.

Focusing on Gaston’s trembling knee, Demeilor fought to remain stable as he clutched the chair. Then, he waited. After a long moment, the situation seemed to slowly orient itself and his stomach began to settle. He looked up to see Demeilor clinging to the ceiling with one hand and frantically taping the explosive creation in place with the other.

An ache began building in Demeilor’s stomach and he had to look away.

A moment later, Gaston came toppling down, his slipping foot sending the seat rolling out of Demeilor’s hand. Gaston landed one foot cleanly on the floor, but continued to tumble to his hands and knees. He crawled rapidly to the surgical plate and keyed in the nanite commands.

Demeilor swallowed painfully, tears welling up in his eyes.

“Get back,” Gaston wheezed. “Get under a chair.”

They all crawled toward the terminals, each dragging his own seat. After a long moment of disoriented situating, and struggling to prop their chairs up in the right positions, Demeilor glanced at Gaston who keyed in several more commands into the surgical plate.

A moment later the blast shook the room and splattered momentary pain across Demeilor’s exposed areas.

Gaston moaned nearby and Demeilor glanced at him through the shower of dust.

But there was no time to waste so he forced himself to his feet, pulling his chair back underneath the hatch. He stood as Herforth crawled under him to hold the chair.

The hatch was mangled and twisted from one side, but still in one piece. Demeilor flinched at the heat as he reached a cautious hand. “Gimme your water,” he called to Steilio, who took several long moments to retrieve the glass of ice water from his work station.

The hatch sizzled as he threw the water onto the heated area and tossed the glass to the floor. He pulled at the hatch, wrenching hard as the room twisted around him and the burning fired up from his lungs.

The hatch wouldn’t give, so Demeilor gripped with both hands and pulled, hanging his weight on the flap of metal. He jumped and lifted his legs and finally, as he came down again, the material began to tear. Another leap and the hatch wrenched free from the ceiling and Demeilor’s feet struggled for a tense moment to find a balance. The hatch dropped to the floor with a crash.

Almost immediately Demeilor felt relief, and a breath of freshness as the pure air of the access tube mixed with the contamination in the command center.

Steilio and Herforth were ready, holding out their hands for support. Demeilor stepped into Steilio’s hand and felt himself thrust upward into the access tube. He struggled for several long moments, dragging himself over the twisted hatch opening and finally struggled into the crawlspace.

Demeilor began turning around in the tight quarters, craning his neck and twisting his arms uncomfortably to squeeze through the space.

“They’re opening the main hatch!” shouted Steilio from below. “Fuckers know what we’re doing.”

Demeilor turned around in time to grab Gaston’s hand, dragging him upward as he heard the command center doors whir open.

There was only enough time to hear Steilio scream “No!” before the room erupted in gunfire.

With every shot Demeilor felt his heart bursting upward into his throat, even as the fresh, soothing air filled his lungs, bringing him new found strength.

They crawled frantically, dragging themselves along the smooth metallic surface.

Then there was silence.

They continued moving.

And in a moment, the noise erupted again. The surface vibrated against Demeilor’s hands and he yelped in pain. His feet and elbows bounced, trying to force himself forward without bringing anything down on the violently trembling metal.

Gaston screamed behind him. “Go!”

They drove forward, hands and toes bouncing frantically to propel them along as the material beneath them heated, bounced, and threatened to buckle under the barrage of weapons fire below.

While the vibrations coursing through his knees and palms felt like a wall that could crush him, he pressed on. After several moments he came to what must have been the edge of the room, where the encompassing chatter finally ebbed, and he continued onto the silky smoothness of a motionless crawlway.

Demeilor fell forward, his face connecting with the metal, his knees throbbing and hands burning.

Gaston hit him in the back of the leg. “Keep moving, Tiny. They’re gonna come after us real quick.”

“Where we going?” Demeilor asked, forcing himself back to his hands and knees. “We need to get this information to Fleet Command…”

“No shit,” Gaston replied.

“I assume Steilio and Herforth didn’t make it…” Demeilor said, almost as a sick joke.

“Oh, they’re dead as fuck,” Gaston replied. “…Goddamn, why did I get caught in this career?”

Demeilor turned a corner and they continued moving. “I’m heading toward the weapons locker at the end of D level. Any objections?”

“Nope. Weapons and explosives sound good to me. Then we head to the escape pods on F deck.”

“No,” Demeilor replied. “We go to Engineering and send a message to Fleet Command.”

“Hell no,” Gaston replied. “Another message means we get sniffed out and shot. I want to be three systems away before we contact anyone. This is what got us into this problem in the first place.”

“We could be dead by the time we get a message out.”

“We’ll be dead a lot faster the moment we hit send.”

“But we’ll get the message out—“

“But we’ll be dead—“

“The important part is that we get the message out.”

“No—“ Gaston stuttered. “Damnit Tiny, you’re not hearing my point. I don’t want to die.”

“Fleet Command can help us—“

“What the fuck do you think they’re gonna do? We’re a couple turret operations lieutenants. They might kick Captain Paulson from fleet while they investigate, but they’re not gonna do a damn thing for you and me.”

“It’s the right thing to do, Gaston… we’re on a spy ship… we need to warn the rest of the fleet.”

“We’re better off getting to a position where we can tell the whole story… we can’t even be sure our transmission won’t be blocked again.”

“They can’t have the whole ship on their side…”

“We don’t know how many they have.”

Demeilor sighed. “Okay… escape pods… damnit.”

“Remember, your daughter wants to see her papa alive again,” Gaston said.

______ ______ ______

 

“They’re gonna send drones after us…” Gaston commented.

Demeilor’s eyes threatened to implode as he stared at the schematics on the datapad, trying to shove Leiphanna’s face from his mind. Her dark curls and round little nose blended with and distorted the map as he saw her poking her head out of her hiding place in the pile of leaves on their back lawn.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He must forget about her… for her sake.

Drones… would there be drones? “Maybe; maybe not,” he answered. “They might be waiting for us… Gassy… drones take milliseconds to dispatch for a capsuleer… and minutes to get wherever they need to go… no… maybe they’re afraid of others finding out… emergency redirecting of maintenance drones in the middle of fleet operations could turn a couple heads… at least I hope.”

“So where the fuck we going?” Gaston asked. “We passed by three weapons lockers already.”

“I think they won’t expect us at this next one… but I really fear they will expect us at the escape pods.”

“What other option is there?” Gaston replied.

“Plus the Guristas that patrol this area…”

“They’re no threat…”

“Not to a battleship maybe, but to an escape pod.”

Gaston sighed. “Fuckin’ douche-juice. That’s a good point… but what else are we gonna do? Even if we call Fleet Command first…”

But Demeilor’s eyes were already following another small, out of the way access conduit around fuel lines, capacitor junctions and automated cargo loaders. “What if we hid somewhere instead…”

______ ______ ______

 

Demeilor carefully stuffed explosives and ammunition into the pockets lining his uniform, including a large utility knife on his back belt. The rack of weapons towered overhead, but the door to the main engineering corridor stood inches from his back.

“Do you have anyone you can trust?” Gaston asked.

“My wife,” Demeilor replied.

“I meant on board the ship, Dickbrain.”

“No one I could be certain would trust me over the captain,” Demeilor replied as he checked his new half-stock automatic projectile pistol. The weapon fit snugly in its holster across from the dual-charging laser pistol on his opposite hip. He took a few seconds to pour over the grenades, choosing a couple stun, a couple high-damage and one demolition. He took a couple steps in the cramped space to check his movement.

As he turned toward the door, Demeilor noticed the green light on the hatch control indicating a successful activation.

Suddenly, and for just a split second, he was no longer on the Abbot Battleship and instead was back home, the scent of the cinnamon candles his wife and daughter loved so much filling his nostrils. He stood before Leiphanna’s bedroom door, ready to step in and say goodnight, as he would every night… when he could be there.

When the hatch slid open and Demeilor consciously recognized the young ensign standing before him, he still could only think of Leiphanna.

…she’s the only reason I do this… to protect her from the reds who wish to end everything we know.

As he felt Gaston spinning around beside him, Demeilor looked at the ensign and saw evil in his eyes… from the situation. He knew the ensign was not evil… instead, the embodiment of evil seemed to form a glossy coat on the ensign’s features.

The ensign gulped. “Evenin’ Lieutenant’s,” he said. “I didn’t realize you were in here… I just woke up.” His eyes darted between them. “I’m Ensign Myles. It’s a–”

“What do you need Ensign?” Gaston asked.

Myles held his own handgun by his side. “I just needed to reload after target practice…” he said with a sudden quiver of the lip.

Gaston’s pistol was pointed at his head a moment later.

“Step inside,” Gaston ordered. “Drop your weapon… inside.”

The ensign froze. His eyes drifted to the sides, as though someone might be at the end of that hall, ready to help him.

Demeilor stepped forward instinctively, pulling the weapon from Myles’ limp clutch. He set it quickly to the side before dragging the ensign in by his collar.

Gaston kept his weapon against Myles’ nose, having precious little space to move. The ensign’s breathing became suddenly more pronounced.

“What have you heard about us?” Gaston asked.

“I’m not at liberty to say,” he replied.

“Captain Paulson’s a spy,” Demeilor said. “We found out and now he’s trying to have us killed… whatever announcements they’ve made about us are simply not true.”

Myles stared forward, trembling slightly, but otherwise calm.

“And we can prove it. We’re going to need to trust you—“

“No, we’re not,” Gaston interrupted.

“—to find a comm and send a request to Fleet Command requesting a communications audit of the captain. I have copies of several encoded messages made to our enemies—“

“You’re being an idiot right now,” Gaston said. “This kid’s gonna go straight to security…”

“Then maybe later he’ll request the audit–”

“Long after we’re dead!” Gaston said.

“This isn’t about you or me,” Demeilor replied, his face suddenly growing hot at the thought of Gaston’s selfishness. “The captain is a fucking spy! That’s the most important thing right now. One way or the other we need to get a message to Fleet Command.”

“Damnit, Tiny—“

“Think about someone other than yourself, Lieutenant,” Demeilor snapped.

“Fuck you, Tiny,” Gaston replied. “Fine… how about a compromise. Grab the stun gun… we give him the info, then put him out. When he wakes up he can tell the truth about everything that happened… and keep a few details to himself… then send your message to High Command… do you think you can do that, Ensign?”

Myles slowly nodded, his eyes darting back and forth between Gaston and Demeilor. “I guess so… don’t see how I have much choice…”

“That’s right…”

Demeilor reached behind him, hoping to grab for a stun gun without taking his eyes off Myles, but as his hand slapped across strange surfaces, he realized he could recognize nothing without looking. Finally he turned, seeing a set of stun guns, buried in their proper slot.

As he reached, a tortured grunt burned through his ears and Gaston’s elbow slammed against his back. Demeilor spun as the sound of gunshots pierced reality. Heat spread across Demeilor’s upper torso, his body twisting instinctively backward as the back of Gaston’s hand, still clutching the pistol, slammed against his chest.

Ensign Myle’s face contorted, his lip curling up to reveal gritted teeth as his right hand clung desperately to Gaston’s weapon, forcing it to fire round after round, the projectiles skimming centimeters from Demeilor’s uniform.

Demeilor added his own hand to the mass of fingers surrounding the weapon and guided it upward, to expel its ammunition into the ceiling. He pulled at the weapon and attempted to pry fingers, wishing to bring the whole mass to his mouth to bite, but having no idea whose fingers were whose.

As the defeaning series of gunshots were replaced with the insistent clicking of an empty chamber, they all started screaming, the voices coalescing bluntly in the tiny space.

Demeilor pounded the mass of fingers against the hatch and finally saw Myles’ grasp depart with a snap and a dramatic change to the pitch of his scream. Demeilor pulled the weapon from the remaining fingers and dropped it to the floor.

He pulled backward, pressing against the shelving to find enough space to pull his own weapon from its holster, but as he did so, watched the ensign’s head go forward, connecting decisively with Gaston’s, and in nearly the same moment his knee fired upward into Gaston’s groin.

Demeilor heard only Gaston’s sudden scream and painful whimper as he drew his weapon.

Myle’s eyes immediately turned toward Demeilor and his hand shot toward the weapon.

Demeilor pulled the trigger as Myles’ fingers wrapped around the barrel.

Splattering blood and a blurred uniform filled Demeilor’s vision as the shots tore through the ensign’s forearm.

A slight adjustment and the bullets continued through Myles’ chest.

Gaston screamed. “Fuck!”

Demeilor released the trigger and watched the ensign slide down the wall and fall to the floor. He slowly holstered his weapon, but continued watching the body.

Gaston put his hand to his head and slumped against the wall. “…oh Hell, Tiny… oh this is not going well… this is not going well at all.”

“We need to get out of here,” Demeilor said.

“Yeah, no shit,” Gaston replied.

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KalinBooks.com is the ramblings of Kalin Ringkvist, a science fiction author with a passion for peace and freedom.