About a year ago, a Guristas capsuleer contacted me. He wanted specialized medical aid that was unavailable deep in Guristas space. Further questioning brought to light that he had saved a Guristas crew from an alleged Blood Raider installation. On top of this, he mentioned the rescued crew had been tortured for information... Among the rescued crew was his friend and the friend's wife. They were kept in an artificial coma, to keep their sufferings to a minimum and their lifesigns stable.
I agreed to assist him, on the condition that the Guristas Pirates would give me free passage to enter & leave Venal, the Guristas home region. The expertise my medical staff had built up concerning treating Blood Raider victims would come in handy as well.
The reason to my agreement was a mix of curiosity & charity. Charity, for the Aurora Arcology aims to help all those who reach out. But curiosity all the more, Venal lies beyond capsuleer space, a region rarely visited and thereby little info comes out of it. But also the Blood Raider presence intrigued me, they never went so far beyond their space... let alone torture people so intensely.
And so I readied myself for this journey into deep space, gathered the medical staff, specialized in Blood Raider injuries & traumas and set off in my trusted Buzzard 'The Lone Wanderer'
The Journey to Venal
The Guristas Capsuleer had shared the destination, the Gurista Logistic Support station near the 7th planet in the 6NJ8-V System. To reach it, I had to cross capsuleer space... Either I took the direct route through Tribute, but at the time the infamous Goonswarm Federation held it firmly. Considering their reputation, this route didn't appeal to me. There was also a second way to reach my destination, namely a small detour through Vale of the Silent, a region that was held by Gentleman's Agreement at the time.
Considering the low traffic, I picked the Vale of the Silent route. The first system was heavily camped with bubbles & a fleet, but thanks to the covop cloak I remained undetected and could warp out safely. The next system enroute was also camped but far less rigorously.
After these two gatecamps, the journey was very uneventful, jump after jump in empty systems. As the journey went on, I abandoned much of my caution, as the only sign of capsuleer presence was a lost warpbubble somewhere enroute.
And so I reached my destination, the Gurista Station in 6NJ8-V, and along with it, my first sighting of capsuleers since I cleared that second gatecamp at the beginning!
Arrival & insight into Hell
The Guristas Pirates cleared me for docking and allowed my medical staff to disembark on the station. Our team was lead to their medical facilities, where the rescuees had been treated. After a quick scan, it was clear this wasn't ordinary Blood Raider work! These people were too mutilated for it... This was not torture to get information, but rather to torment them for wrongdoings, or perhaps even.... pleasure?
Among the Blood Raiders, there are many offshoot cults, some of them so deranged that even the Blood Raiders disavow all connections with them. These people bore the marks of one of such cults, the Cult of the Lash. They believe that the more suffering they cause, the less is left for them in the universe...
Due to this 'ideology' they have become experts in inflicting excruciating pain and keeping their victims not only alive but also consciousness through the process... until their minds are broken by enduring such lasting horrific suffering.... They say Hell is but a figment of one's imagination... but the Cult of Lash comes very close in making it a real place in the universe...
As it turns out, these rescuees were kept conscious as they endured the worst of pains; slow dismemberment, being torched alive, forced to watch & hear what their comrades and friends had to endure in complete helplessness... No person deserves the fate these poor survivors have been through... Even tho they had been rescued now, many of them still saw death as their only salvation from their horrors...
Upon analyzing the minds of the survivors with our Neurowave Scanner, several lost cases were identified, people who would never recover, no matter how good the physical treatment was, as their mind was broken, living in a state of everlasting pain that could not be taken away.
A few could still be saved, but they would never be the same again and would need psychological guidance for the rest of their lives.
Upon hearing this verdict of our staff, the Guristas Capsuleer agreed they had to be transported to a location that could offer this treatment, the Aurora Arcology, on the condition that everything fell under medical confidentiality & the survivors be given a new identity, to safeguard them from future terrors.
As everything was agreed on, the survivors & the medical staff boarded 'The Lone Wanderer' for the journey home, away from danger.
Returning to the Arcology
A quick glance at the various Concord map data showed that the Vale of the Silent route was no longer safe, showing heavy fighting in the region.... As the more direct route in Tribute through Goonspace still seemed clear, that's where I went.
On the way, only one other capsuleer crossed our journey. He was a non-aligned local, who claims I was the first capsuleer ship he saw in a week's time.
As my ship arrived at M-OEED8, a large gatecamp was spotted. What's worse is that this particular gate was beyond scanning range from any celestial, so you couldn't scan where they had dropped the warpbubbles...
So this one last jump before the safety of lowsec would prove the hardest. But luck was with me as my probes scanned down a ship not far from the gate that could be used as warp-in point & scan the stargate camp defenses. Thanks to this stranger, a good entry point for the gate was found, evading the warpbubble effects!
And so, in a bright flash, safety was reached! Taisy! Caldari Space! Lowsec is fairly safe when you travel in a covop frigate like the Buzzard. The rest of the journey was an easy trip towards Irjunen, where the Aurora Arcology is located.
Once arrived, the few Gurista survivors were given a new identity, to safeguard them from prosecution. Under normal circumstances, the Aurora Arcology would integrate such criminals in the Redemption Program, but it was agreed that these people have more than paid for their crimes...
Despite the medical & psychological help they received, several survivors could no longer stand to live with the memories of their traumatic capture and ended their lives.
A handful however managed to cope with it, but they'll need a lifelong guidance to keep their minds stable.
Among these survivors, Lieutenant Kipo 'FireFox' Tekira turned out to be a very resilient person as he recovered enough to pick up an active role within the Arcology Project. He now acts as the Guristas Spokesperson in the Redemption Program. On top of that, he also assists Blood Raider victims in recovering from their traumas. He was among the first to be logged in the public census reports: New Arrivals: 11.000 Refugees
In the end, this small expedition into Venal, not only gained us alot of information about the Guristas, but more importantly helped us build up excellent expertise in treating traumatic victims, both physically as psychologically.
The expertise built up in this case was proved to be useful later in assisting the treatment of the Capsuleer Ber Kan after he was rescue from his imprisonment and more recently in treating the rescued Caldari prisoners from their abuse in the Black Eagle prison camps.