This is the diary & short stories of Shalee Lianne, in the fictitious universe, New Eden, in the game of Eve Online. Come be a part of her world...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Entry Thirty Three: St Alms

Twelve hours earlier...

The cathedral doors of St Alms slammed shut behind her as she dashed out of the foryer in a fit of tears. Distraught, she quickened her steps, needing to put as much space as possible between her and Raphael.

A street lamp flickered then went out, followed by another. In seconds the sidewalk was completely dark.

Fear crashed through her like a tsunami claiming the shore. She froze, listening for footsteps.

Nervously she glanced over her shoulder, thinking maybe Raphael had followed her, hoping it was him instead of the men who had invaded her apartment on Vard.

Seeing nothing, she turned back around to find a man standing before her, his face inches from hers. She gasped and tried to back away.

"It's a lovely night don't you agree Lieutenant Lianne? Perhaps you'd like to take a walk with me." He took her by the arm before she could protest, his fingers digging into her skin. He forced her to walk.

"What do you want from me?" Her tone was slightly hysterical.

"You've already been warned."

"'I've said nothing!"

"Then why are you here of all places?"

"I come here to pray. Nothing more."

"You can pray at the Basilica. You came here to meet Priboj."

She knew it was pointless to lie, no doubt they had eyes on the inside of St Alms. When she had went into the cathedral she saw someone kneeling at the alter and rushed forward, thinking it was Michael. She called out to him, saying his name, though instead it was Raphael who turned around.

"I thought... I was warned not to tell anyone else, they never said I couldn't speak to him again."

"It's for the best. You almost fucked it up tonight, didn't you." He loosened his grip on her arm, though kept hold of her still.

"You were watching me?"

"Naturally. Though I was quite impressed with the way you threw him off."

She couldn't help but blush at the memory. Once she saw it was Raphael, she went to the alter to pray as well. Had knelt down beside him and then suddenly it had dawned on him that she had said Michael's name. He started questioning her and wouldn't drop it. To throw him off, she just out of the blue leaned over and kissed him.

It had worked. He forgot about Michael.

"Am I to have no privacy now? Is everything I do under surveillance?"

"Yes. At the moment you are a liability. But try not to think of us as the enemy."

She scoffed "Not the enemy? You break into my home, you threaten me, drug me, assault me. And then you want me to trust you? I'm supposed to believe anything you say?"

"We had to guarantee your silence. Sometimes bad things have to happen for the greater good."

"I can find nothing good in this situation."

"There are things going on that you do not understand, things bigger than the worries and concerns of a single capusleer."

"Is this ever going to end? Am I ever going to have my life back?"

"It ends when it ends."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Entry Thirty Two: Shadows

Vard
Sovereignty: Minmatar Republic
Constellation: Hed
Region: Hemitar
Security Level: 0.4


Fourteen hours earlier....

She had docked in Vard after an extensive patrol across the Bleaks and Devoid, continuously scanning for military compounds to reclaim. Exhausted, she sent Raphael a message telling him she'd have to cancel on the drinks they were going to meet up for after they finished their route.

Her thoughts were all over the place as she went through the motions of exiting her pod, barely mindful of the disengaging process. She ignored the slaves who helped her, not deliberately or maliciously, she was just too tired to notice their presence.

Once cleaned up and dressed in a standard PIE pilot flight suit, she clipped her Lieutenant JG pin to her collar, wondering what it would be like to wear the tag of the brass. How must it feel to be a captain? An admiral? She couldn't even fathom shouldering that kind of responsibility. The work she did now exhausted her, she couldn't imagine what it must be like for them.

Trailing her hands through her long damp hair, she twisted it up as she stepped out of her personal quarters.

Her Intaki steward came forward "Lieutenant will you be staying aboard tonight?"

"No, I need a little time off ship. I'll be in my apartment if I am needed. Goodnight."

The Intaki smiled warmly to her and nodded "See you in a few hours."

Shalee left the malediction and made her way to the small apartment she rented under an assumed name on the space station, unaware that she was being followed.

Thirteen hours earlier...

She had ducked into a shop to order a bottle of wine and some food to go. As she waited for her order to be filled she debated on comming Saint. If he were close by they could have a drink in her apartment instead of the usual Pax Praetoria lounge that most of the junior officers were spending their time at these days. She pulled out her comm and hesitated, thinking that if word got out she met up with an Ensign for a drink in her private quarters, she'd catch hell for it. Even if it was an innocent thing, it didn't matter. She had learned along the way that appearances were everything. It really doesn't matter what you do so as long as the world at large thinks you're doing the right thing. And there were so many people out there already who was eager to bring her down, malicious backstabbing people who would exploit the slightest thing to cast her in a negative light.

She slid the comm back into her pocket and made the long walk to her apartment, carrying two bags filled with food and various other things she'd need for the next few nights. She made a mental note to have the apartment stocked since she'd be spending the majority of her downtime on Vard in the next few weeks. It was priority and it made her patrols easier if she started off in the system.

A palm scan gave her entrance into the apartment. As she stepped through the open door, she glanced over her shoulder having an eerie sense of being watched.


Twelve hours earlier...

A camera done hovered around her as she sat in the center of her bed, her food spread about her picnic style. In the background the local news droned on, all propoganda for the Minmatars. She paid little attention to it except to scoff at something or other here and there. Her wine bottle was half empty and she was already feeling the affects of it. Drowsy and relaxed, she yawned before starting her recording.

"The last week has been a strange one. Many have returned from planetside, including Garst, Jhaelee, and Dante. We threw Garst an impomptu welcome back party at the Pax, though for some reason he didn't stay very long. He seemed upset actually, no idea why. Jhaelee was there as well. I was pleased to see her though I don't think Saint was. I guess he had never met her before and was unaware of her manner of speaking. He thought she was mocking him. I tried to explain it to him but by that point both of them had lost their temper and it was an impossible situation. And to make matters worse, Jhaelee was having some sort of memory problem and seemed awfully confused. I requested that she go check herself into medical for a scan because clearly something is wrong."

"As for Dante, I've yet to see him. He may not even remember me." She shrugged to the idea. "It has been quite some time after all."

"One by one they are returning...except for Michael. I've been to St. Alms every single day since the last time I seen him hoping that he would find me there but so far, nothing. It's just an empty cathedral now. Of course I can't help but to worry, though I pray that everything is alright."

"Things are somewhat unstable with Zenton at the moment. It seems we are never really on the same page in our relationship. We started out on a lie, but then I confessed everything and thought from that moment on everything would be okay. And then somewhere along the way he loses his fucking mind, quits PIE, dabbles into piracy. After that hellish week we came to a truce of sorts, he made promises though in the process he broke some of them. Eventually we get things worked out, or so I think until a random encounter with a pilot from Ghost Festival on a space station in Tzvi. I had stopped there to pick up a module and let the crew have a few moments of downtime. The station has a capsuleers garden there, so I had a look around. Out of the blue this pirate started speaking to me. I recognized the angel cartel insignia immediately, I had seen it before, when Koronakesh had shown me his all those months ago. I was pretty rude to the man, considering. But, this is how it has to be. I know that every word I say in public is a reflection on PIE and I will not have my career jeopardized by conversation with some random pirate. Anyhow, he said something that caught my attention. He knew Zenton, not personally, but said that Zenton had applied to Ghost Festival."

"In that moment I could have killed him. How could he lie to me like that? How could he, after all of these months, deliberately keep something so important from me? He has maintained that his foray into piracy was shortlived, a day at most...but apparently he had the time and mind to apply to the notorious Ghost Festival corporation? Had he been accepted, we would have become instant enemies."

"Later that night Zenton dropped by the Pax. I couldn't help but be upset with him. I told him I knew and that I was heartbroken that he never told me, that I had to find out from some stranger. Apparently our relationship lacks trust and honesty."

Standing, she started to clear off the debris scattered across the bed and tossed the empty containers into a nearby bin. "We are supposed to meet at Inis soon but with both of us committed to seperate causes, it seems like we rarely have the time to see each other. Before, it was easier. When he was in PIE our goals were the same, our patrols were the same. With him in DIA, more often than not he is somewhere out in Metropolis."

"I guess I should just be thankful that he is with Invelious's boys instead of Ghost Festival."

Yawning, she moved back over to her bed and stretched out after dimming the lights.

Ten hours earlier...

Macabre dreams piled on top of one another. Her sleep, fitful and unrestless as nightmares plagued her. And suddenly she was jerked out of that hellish surreal world into another, darker place. She blinked several times, trying to adjust her vision to the darkness of her apartment. Lucidity came instantly as she felt herself being dragged from the bed. Terror seized her as adrenaline pumped through her. Instincts took over and she fought, kicking and screaming and clawing at her attackers.

Hands clasped tightly around her arms and thighs as they pulled her into the bare kitchen.

Two men clothed in black robes held her down, the hoods pulled up to cover their heads. She could barely make out a pale white mask beneath it.

Her wrists and ankles were tied to a chair.

One of them backhanded her, bloodying her nose.

She trembled involuntarily, teeth chattering, terror bright in her eyes. Hysterical with fear, she tried to force her thoughts into figuring out who they were and why they were here. To remember the details.

"We know who you are and what you've done."

"What do you want from me?"

"Silence."

"What? I don't understand."

"You're sticking your nose into places it doesn't belong."

"I don't know what you mean."

"Yes, you do."

"No I don't!"

"You're the reason they don't believe Michael Priboj is not dead."

Michael? Oh god, this was about Michael?!

"But Michael.."

"He is dead. You will convince anyone who asks you about him that he is, in fact, dead. Do you understand?"

"I...I think I do."

"Good."

"If we have to come back..."

"You wont."

One of the lackeys punched her in the stomach. She choked, gasped for breath."I said I wouldn't tell! I swear to God I wont tell anyone anything else!"

"Your life depends on it...and those you love. Think of Zenton ...you continue to make things difficult for us and we will certainly make things difficult for him."

Her head was yanked back by her hair, her mouth forced open. A solution was poured down her throat. She tried to spit it out and was rewarded by another punch in the stomach. Again, the drug was forced into her mouth, this time the underside of her chin slammed against, forcing her mouth closed.

"And now you will sleep. Dream. Hallucinate." He rubbed his thumb beneath her nose, smearing away the blood. "And maybe you will think this was just another nightmare in that fucked up head of yours."

The room started to spin. Light bleeded into the darkness. His voice seemed very far away.

"Say another word about Michael and I'll inform your CEO that you're doing drugs. How do you think that is going to look on your record? Do you really think your precious PIE is going to give you the benefit of the doubt? You think they will believe you?"

She opened her mouth to protest but words died on her tongue. She couldn't speak.

She was vaguely aware of the pressure being lifted from her wrists and ankles. She was left in her bedroom to sleep it off. The security feeds would be manipulated should she check later to show that no one had ever been in her apartment.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Entry Thirty One: A Beautiful Death

"Lt Cmd Priboj is still considered a member of PIE until we have evidence of his death. CONCORD records still list him as a pod pilot. Anyone with information on his disappearance, possible whereabouts, or intel on who might have such information is to contact me." Vice Admiral Vlad Konstantinov

The young pilot sat on a long bench facing an enormous display wall that gave a remarkable view of Amarrian space from the port she had docked at the previous night. She stared out aimlessly at the stars, nebulas, clouds and planets scattered across the expansive black backdrop. Ships of all sizes were busily docking and undocking with a handful orbiting the station, no doubt waiting to catch some unsuspecting pilot.

A camera drone activated to capture a panorama view of the scenery then focused in on her. She sat indian style with a food tray balanced on her lap, a bottle of water beside her, the amber and white robe she sometimes wore over her flight suit on the opposite side, drapped across the bench.

Her long red hair was twisted up messily and her clothing was wrinkled, she hadn't bothered to change out what she wore to bed when going in search of food. Usually she would have stayed in her ship but this spaceport was new to her and she wanted to see what the local vendors were selling.

Her tray was full of exotic fruits, things she'd never tried before with some sort of twisted bread and herbs. At least she hoped it was herbs and not insects or anything really bizarre...one could never really know.

Yawning, she stretched her hands over her head, careful not to drop the food tray in the process.

"So I finally got some sleep. When I had first heard of Michael's death I was so numb I couldn't do anything; sleep, eat, or think. Things are better now because he came to me again, two days ago, at the cathedral so I know he is alive. I told him that everyone thought he was dead, that his brother had made an annoucement and that I couldn't help but to believe it to be true. He assured me that it was false and that he was alright. He suspects foul play of course but has no idea who is responsible for the deception. For now, I'm not supposed to reveal anymore information because it could bring him real harm."

She bit into a piece of fruit. "Vice Admiral Vlad Konstantinov sent me a message asking for a report of anything I knew. That was before I had seen Michael for the second time, so naturally I told everything that Michael had told me. How could I not? He's a god damned Vice Admiral, for jove's sake, not like I can just say no to him. Also I really needed to confirm it for myself, that I was not going out of my mind. I had checked the security cams at St Alms, so I know it was true. Anyhow, I filed my report and the next day Konstantinov released a statement to the Corporation stating that Michael was still considered alive and a member of the Praetoria."

"My conversation was cut short with Michael the last time I had seen him because Raphael had come into the cathedral to pray."

"I don't really understand why Michael trusts me as he does, I just hope that I can live up to his expectations, that I can be worthy enough for such faith."

She shook her head, already knowing she wasn't.

She yawned again, forcing herself to wake up and shake off the grogginess of sleep. "Patrols were extensive last night. I spent hours scanning, and then Raphael and I did a bit of patroling together."

She fell silent for a moment as she tasted different pieces of fruits, her expression thoughtful."I had a conversation with V. He has forgiven me, mostly. I don't think he will ever get over the fact that I am a Praetorian, that I actually want to be here, he considered it a betrayal but now that so much time has passed, I guess he realizes I'm never going back to him or the family, what little thats left of it."

"Anyhow, he asked how I was getting along and I told him about Davlos. He warned me, not that he knows the man himself but he knows people who do. He says I should really be careful because there are a lot of dangerous people out there with too much money that have it in for PIE."

"I hate that I have to second guess his motives, but V is right. Out of the blue Davlos pops up into my life, suddenly showering me with friendship and gifts. But to what avail? Surely it can't be just for conversation. And nothing what-so-ever inappropriate has happened, he has tried nothing, a perfect gentleman."

"It just makes no sense. And now he has joined with the Caldari militia so that means technically we can even fly together."

She took a drink of water as she watched a pirate lock and freeze a cruiser that was to slow to dock. A burst of colors flashed across the space between the two ships followed by a brilliant explosion of red and yellow flames.

She tensed, feeling for the cruiser pilot, yet at the same time marveling at the beauty of it all. It was an amazing display of color, resembling a firework show.

Such was the life of a capsuleer in New Eden, she mused. Even
in death, there was beauty.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Entry Thirty: Delusions

Shards of morning light pierced the stained glass window and cast a myriad of colors across Shalee's tear stained face.

She sat limply in front of the alter with her cheek pressed against the cool marble, staring up at the historical scene captured in colored glass.

Tears trickled down her face and every so often her choked sob would break the eerie silence of the cathedral.She had been there for hours, sitting, praying, sobbing, pacing, pleading with God for answers.Earlier, sometime during the middle of the night, on her way home from a night out ballroom dancing with Davlos, she'd gotten the message of Michael's murder.

She couldn't believe it, refused to. They had just spoken two days prior. He had come to her via holo, he had confided to her.And yet, his own brother released the news of his death. His flesh and blood. Surely he would know the truth?

The message played through her mind again, seemingly for the thousandth time.

"My name is Gabrael Priboj. I am Michael Priboj's brother. It is with a saddened heart that I must convey the news that at 05:49 EveTime Michael Priboj was involved in a passenger shuttle accident while taking off from his estate in Amarr. He did not survive. I am sorry that it has taken nearly three weeks for me to get the news to you, but I just found out myself yesterday. May God grant you comfort in this troubling hour."

She swiped her gloved hands across her face, wiping away the tears. After getting the message she went immediately to the cathedral of St Alms, hoping that somehow she could find Michael there, hoping that it was all some kind of mistake and that he would explain it all to her and calm her down like he had so many times before.

"Whats going on with you..I wish you could tell me but I know you wont."
"I'll put it this way. I'm in an active combat zone, fighting an enemy that doesn't seem to like anything with less legs than it has. While waiting on an enemy that has just as many legs as I do."
"I wish I could be there...or you here."
"I'll return soon. Just a soon as this particular individual is..... Well you already know who sent me on this mission, I might as well tell you everything about it."
"You can trust me, I wont tell anyone."
"I awoke one night in my quarters. There was a gentleman sitting in my chair that sits in my sleeping area, facing my bed. He was heavily.... modified. Cybernetically. He was Amarrian, that much was for certain. But his skin was pale as starlight. He lacked his right hand, and both legs. In their place were prosthetics. Like mine, but more advanced. Much more advanced. He told me that I had been chosen to fulfill a mission for the Empress. He provided me documents that proved that I was indeed hand picked, and my mission was of the upmost secrecy."
"Just like that? He didn't say how long it would take?"
"Which, might I remind you..... I am breaking the number one rule by continuing on this line of thought. The mission was to fly (In a very round about fashion) to a particular planet, deep on the other side of Mimnitar space, land (I use that term loosely... it was more like shoving myself into a magrail capsule and firing it at the planet) and waiting for my target. I was provided with equipment, files on other members of the team who would be joining me, and specific orders. Of the 5 who joined me, 3 made it to the planet, 1 didn't survive the "landing", and one of the other two discovered the wonderful.... locals."
"Oh God..."
"So, it's me and another Amarrian. He doesn't talk much, but he's very effective in hand to hand combat. Anyway... My target is Jovian."
"I see....Jovian?"
"We don't know why the Jovians have decided to take a few of the locals. But they do come here very regularly for their pickups. I'd wager that the locals aren't too fond of being kidnapped and have decided that anything that isn't like them is bad. But I'm supposed to assassinate this Jovian, make it look like an accident, and transport the body back to Amarrian space. Judging from the large amount of biological modification this particular Jovian has, I'd wager that he's a scientist that is working on a cure for their sickness. And I'd also wager that The Empress wants some, if not all, of the modifications he's got."

All she could imagine was his ship exploding with him in it. Over and over she'd replay the macabre scene in her mind, imagining his sweet face moments before the explosion. But how had she seen him in the chapel? How had he come to her? Was it all a mistake? Could it be untrue, a ploy on the government's part? Or had she imagined the whole thing? Had she somehow had a 'spell' like she had on the planet with the Gallente massacre? Had she seen some past version of him somehow? None of it made sense to her.
But he had been there! Somehow, she had spoken to him, he had told her so many things. They had talked for hours and when he had to go he promised he'd come back to her.

"How is PIE?"
"Fine."
"You sound... upset."
"No! No. I'm not upset...I'm just worried about you. I want you to come back."
"I want to come back. I want to go home. But my needs are put aside right now. The needs of Amarr, Amarrians, and The Empress are more important."
"I suppose you're right, that I am being selfish for wanting you to come back."
"Selfish is such a strong word. I believe you're being.... You're wanting the support that I have provided to you."
"Completely selfish. A true word. Among other things."
"Unfortunately, it is I who have abandoned my duties as a support for you and have taken the want of a woman I've never met, and the needs of people I've never seen and made them mine own. It would seem that I, while not selfish, am being exceptionally cold, un-emotional, and un-caring."
"You have not abandoned me, I've always known you'd come back."
"If I make it back."
"Michael! Don't say such things."
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you worry."
"Then you musn't say things like that. You will come back. You will."
"I will."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Entry Twenty Nine: Doubting

A soft gentle breeze flowed through the open door of the arbitrator, a vessel once flown by her CEO. What had been left of it was tucked away in the graveyard of ships and other random pieces behind the Praetorian Hall in Amarr. Some of the junior officers had taken it upon themselves to turn it into a sort of club to meet at on their downtime. The place was littered with old sofas, chairs, and whatever else they could manage to salvage and sneak in from other nearby ships. Most of it had been gutted out, only a handful of rooms remained, sometimes one could find a hungover ensign snoring from the backroom any given morning.

The door leading into the cockpit had long been torn down and replaced by a beaded curtain. The walls were graffitied with the names, her own in bring pink paint in the corner.

She sat alone, lost in thought, stretched out on one of the sofas. Ensign Atfal Alnudjum had left moments earlier.

For a long while she had done nothing but sit there and think about what they had spoken of. He had talked of God and scripture and made her so very aware of God's gifts for his people, things she had never really considered before.

Sometime after he had left, she had opened up the doors of the arbie to stare out at the pale blue sky beyond them, wondering where the others were at the moment. No doubt on patrols or doing something for the war effort.

She couldn't stomach the idea of getting in a pod at the moment. Since the night she lost the malediction Invelious had given her, she had been planetside, afraid to go back out.

Activating her personal drone, she started the recording.

"I know that I will have to go back, I know this, but at the same time I can't bring myself to actually do it. I've not left the Amarrian area, only taking a shuttle to Sarum Prime for a skill book. I just..."

She sighed wearily "I have no illusions that I will ever be a great pilot. But I thought at some point I'd be good, or rather, at least not an embarassment. However, that seems not to be the case. I make foolish mistakes, mistakes that a rookie right out of the academy would not. I freeze in combat, I panic, and for those mistakes, I suffer. I lose ships. I die."

A tear trickled down her cheek. She darted her tongue out and licked it away as it reached the corner of her mouth. "It is so frustrating and humiliating. I feel as if I am an embarassment, to both the Praetoria and myself."

The beaded curtain ruffled on the breeze, clinking together sounding almost like a windchime.

"I sometimes think I'd be better suited elsewhere. Perhaps mining. I went on a mining op the other night with Raphael and Kaiden, I did a bit of hauling in Raph's bestower. It wasn't the most exciting thing in New Eden but it was relatively safe and something I can't really fuck up."

"I was never supposed to remain in the Praetoria. I'm not really supposed to be here, I'm on borrowed time as it is. If they should ever find out my past they will chuck me out anyhow...maybe I should bail out before it ever gets to that point."

A look of distress washed across her face as she thought of her short time in PIE, of how she considered them family. If she left, where would she go, what could she do? "I just don't know what to do. I'm not a fighter pilot, that much is obvious. As much as I try I fail. I can't even support myself, I have no family left to speak of, no family trust fund, everything was seized when father was arrested. I have nothing, really. If I leave PIE...I just...I don't know what I would do?"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Entry Twenty Eight: Ghosts

Consciousness came quickly, a jolt of piercing light stabbing through the darkness of her mind. Voices, whispering to her, demanding to be heard. She tried to blink but her eyelids felt weighted. Her breathing was quick, sharp. Was she hyperventaling? Realizing she was still in her pod, she waited, mentally counting backwards from one-hundred to calm herself, knowing that her crew would be stabilizing her this very moment.

Their voices, of course. Those were the voices she heard.

Not the other....Suspended in a thick substance, wired into the pod around her, she waited. Counted. Forced her thoughts to center on the one thing, the numbers. Think of nothing else but the numbers.

Ninety two.

Ninety one.

So what the fuck had she heard?

No! No. Don't think of it.Ninety.

Eighty-nine.

But something unnatural had spoken to her. A voice, one that wasn't over a god-damned comm channel. A whisper, just behind her ear.

No! Impossible. She was alone in her pod, always alone. There was no way in god-damned-new-eden that she could have heard a voice. And there certainly was no way possible that she could have felt it against her ear, the sofest of whispers, urgent, pleading.

Impossible.

And yet, it unnerved her so badly she nearly crashed her ship on this planet, having to make an emergency landing, nearly killing herself and small crew in the process. It was astonishing they had survived, no doubt her crew would be proclaiming it an act of God, a miracle even. This landing would be the stuff spoken of for years to come at taverns over shared drinks, around hangar decks, and passed down to their offspring.

Eighty-eight.

Eighty-seven.

Eighty-six.


The liquid inside her pod shimmered with a lumnious emerald light, a sign that the crew was ready to disengage her. She pressed her hand against the inside panel, opening the capsule. As it split, she fell to the floor below. Thick warm liquid oozed into the grating below to be recycled. A crew member pulled the mouthpiece from her lips while another worked to untangle and disconnect augmentation cords from along her spine.

She tipped her chin up to look the Intaki in the eye, "Thank you."

"You alright Lieutenant?" She drapped a warm towel around Shalee's shoulders and handed her another for her face.

Nodding, she forced her voice calm. "Yes."

The older woman looked unconvinced but said nothing. "Let me help you up. You look like you need a stiff drink and a warm bath. Are you sure you're alright...."

A forced smile pulled at the corners of her mouth "Yes, really. Where are we?"

"Can't say..."

"Why not?"

"System malfunction. The boys will have it fixed right up, now don't you go worrying." The woman reminded her of a slave she once had when she'd been very young. "You go on in and have yourself a long bath, I'll have a drink sent in."

"Thank you, you are very kind." Shalee stepped into the next room and took a long soak despite the anxious feeling she couldn't quite shake.

After the bath, she left her drink untouched and dressed into a clean flight suit with the PIE emblem displayed proudly against the collar, letting her hair dry on it's own.

Moments later she stepped out on the crew deck, taking stock of the situation. Preliminary reports indicated the navigation system would take a few hours to repair, though hopefully they could have it online within the hour. There was some other minor damage to the structure but she felt her crew capable enough to make the necessary repairs.

Besides, if they didn't give it their best effort, they not only risked her life but their own.She exited the malediction and glanced around, trying to get a better understanding of where she was.

Glancing up, she noted the three moons, but that meant nothing to her. The stars were scattered haphazzardly and she couldn't recognize any specific formation....and yet she had an eerie sense of having been there before.

It was evening, almost dark, though just enough light left to illuminate the land in front of her. She started walking, turning on a flashlight as she moved along. A drone followed behind her, one capable of guiding her back to her ship should she become lost. Also it had recording capabilities, so she'd make a journal entry while she waited for repairs.

"Activate."

She muted the comm channels, finding the constant chattering of her crew distracting."So we've landed on...well, somewhere. I don't know what happened. One minute I'm in combat, reds blazing across my overview and the next, theres a god-damned voice whispering to me, urging me to stop. To land. Here."

Trailing a hand through her damp hair, she paused and shook her head. "It wasn't over the comm channels. I know it wasn't and it wasn't from ship..."

"I didn't do it. I didn't land us here, I wouldn't have. I'm flying a malediction for god's sakes, I could have outrun 'em, there was no reason to land here. None."

"And yet, here we are."She continued to walk, stepping over fallen limbs and ducking underneath tree branches. "This has been a fucked up week, I shouldn't be suprised really. It's not all been bad, we did manage to win back Halmah. I wasn't there when we reclaimed the system but I'm pleased none-the-less. I know Gaven will be too."

"Also, I did manage to come to some kind of understanding with Ralphael. We talked it out one night at St. Alms. I hadn't planned on it really, not until I found out he was shot down while transporting some stuff for me. He never meant for me to know either, he covered the losses and I would have never known if Garst hadn't mentioned it. So...yeah. He isn't all bad. And he apologized, that helped. We both did. It's worked itself out."

"As for Garst...I still don't know. We met at My Blue Heaven, I tried explaining things to him but I don't think he got it. Said he didn't want to be put in the middle, I tried to point out that he was the cause of it and it was his responsibility as our superior to do something. Oh well."

The air grew cooler as the sun completely faded in the distance. She could hear the gurgling of water nearby and the cacophony of nightime creatures, frogs, insects, and whatever else inhabited the planet.Her boot crunched against a twig and she stopped, making certain that it was she and not someone else.

"Anyone there?"

She laughed at her own unease and chalked it up to nearly going mad in space earlier. She continued to talk to keep herself sane

"The Amarr militia lost another corporation, GDIP. They weren't so bad, I hope they don't follow the same path as the Helljumpers yet I know it is very likely seeing as how some of them were pirates."

"It's a blow but then again, we did manage to take Halmah back without their help, so I think we will be alright. It is the ebb and flow of war, from what I am told. Those who have been here from the begining of the war, like Vaarun, seem unphased when things like this happen. I guess he's seen it already."

The hint of a sarcastic smile tugged at her mouth "Speaking of those who have been around forever. I had the pleasure of talking with Lyra Garris the other day. She is a barrel of information. Not that I had to poke and prod any, she seems all to eager to spill it to anyone who will listen. Anyhow, apparently our glorious Captain Laerise was quite a hellion back when she was coming up through the ranks. She isn't as perfect as she likes to make out, according to Lyra. She was even demoted a few times, once for punching out someone at a wedding, some diplomat or other."

"Just aggrivates me that Laerise seems to care so much about appearances, wanting to get me in trouble for sitting in Garst's lap when she did far worse when she was a junior officer."

"Anyhow, thats my life these past few weeks. A few moments here and there socializing when I get the chance, but mostly in the pod. However things should simmer down some with Dark Rising leaving the Minmatars's alliance."

"I've barely seen Zenton and that bothers me. We had one morning on Inis together but outside of that I rarely see him. I hate that he is in another corporation, on their flight schedule. We always seem to completely miss each other."

"Captain Newelle came crashing into Peons the other night. No idea how she found the place either." She grinned at the memory of Mitara waltzing into the old hallowed out arbie that some of the younger generation of PIE uses as a social club of sorts. They had found it by happenstance one night and later learned that the rusted heap of metal once belonged to their CEO in his younger days. "Never seen so many ensigns and lieutenants scrambling to their feet to salute the Captain. She did a brief tour of it and left, said we'd better behave, yada yada. The standard keep-your-noses-clean spill I've heard a hundred times before."

Shalee fell silent as she continued to walk, moving through the dense forest. Eventually she came to a clearing and stopped, shining the light across the expansive field.

"I met someone."

She hesitated as chill shivered down her spine. Was it from thinking about Davlos or something else?

"I mean, I already knew him. Sort of. I met him ages ago with Koronakesh out at...The Last Gate, I think. It's been so long. Anyhow. He commed me the other night out of the blue, we started chatting, and he invites me 'for a waltz' at some random place I've never been. It was practically deserted and we stayed for a drink and a few dances. Nothing inappropriate happened, he wasn't forward or anything. He was a perfect gentleman really."

So why do I feel so guilty?

"I don't know anything about him, I probably shouldn't have met up with him. But he knows Koronakesh. Anyhow. It was fine, perfectly and marvelously fine. We danced, I've not danced like that in years."

She started to hum the tune to one of the old songs that played. It must be you who haunts me night and day. As she sang a strong breeze gusted across the field, ruffling her clothing and tangling her hair.

Spotlights flickered on suddenly, pouring down beams of gold light. Amarrian transporters rolled to a stop. A whirlwhind of voices, officers yelling, soldiers directing the flow of prisoners who were being lead from the transporters, cries and screams from those in chains.

What the hell?

She watched in horror as they were lined up along the perimeter, their hands forced above their heads. Soldiers were screaming scripture "Those who embrace the Lord and walk in light shall be saved by his grace! For we are shepherds in the dark! His angels of mercy! Those who turn away from the light and walk in darkness shall be struck down by his wrath!"

The prisoners were ordered to turn around and start walking. A sickening melody of gunfire and soldiers reciting scripture exploded at once "We are retribution incarnate! His angels of vengeance!"

Bodies fell to the ground and blood flowed. The next set of prisoners were sent out marching onto the field. Those who wouldn't willingly walk were shoved forward with rifles slamming against their backs.Screams resonated, echoed, drowned her. And all she could do was stand there, frozen, helpless. She tried to move but couldn't, tried to scream out, to beg them them to stop. Tears streaked her face.

Over and over lines of men were sent forward and slaughtered.

And once they were finished with the men they sent out women and children. Mothers held their babies to their chest, children cried, wailed, their pitiful voices filling the night air."Here we are, this is the world of God! We are his chosen ones! This place, this planet of abudance, he made for us! It's ours for the taking!"

Somewhere along the way the maddening sound of gunfire ceased. An eerie silence fell across the field as the lights went dark.

She stumbled to the ground and everything went black.

Later, she awoke aboard her malediction with the kind Intaki woman standing over her."There there child, you're gonna be just fine. Had a bit of a spell."

"Wh-what? Where am I? What happened...oh gods...they died." Fresh tears spilled from the corners of her eyes as her voice became choked "We have to go back!"

"No Lieutenant, you don't understand. Theres no one out there now, this planet has been dead for a very long time."

"What? What are you talking about? I saw it with my own eyes! I saw all these people being shot!" Her chin trembled as she tried to sit up.

"Sit down, you need to rest a little bit longer.""I can't just sit here when there could be more out there! I need to ...call..." Her voice faltered. Who would she call? Who would help? "They could be bringing more....oh gods. I have to do something!"

"Lieutenant. Shalee. Listen to me. What you saw tonight did happen but many many years ago."

"What? No, I saw it with my own eyes!"

"Mayhap you did. In another life. It's possible."

Shalee shook her head "No...no, you're wrong."

"Or maybe you saw the psychic imprint left on the land. Traumatic energy like that can be absorbed by the landscape. The earth, the trees, rocks, the water, all of it, all of it can absorb the energy of what happened, like a recording."

"No. You listen to me. It happened tonight. Get my drone, I'll show you, I was recording a journal post when it happened, you'll see."She scrambled out of bed before the Intaki could protest, found her drone and activated it. She fastforward til the very end then hit play.

Waiting, she glanced to her crew chief "You'll see. I was right there, you'll see it all...."

The holographic image played back and showed Shalee coming onto the field. The camera view pans out to the empty dark field."There were lights. Any minute you'll see lights."

"Lieutenant..."

"God damn it! I'm not going crazy! I know what I saw!"

The video played on, showing a dazed Shalee staring at nothing, her features frozen in horror.

"While you were gone we got the systems back online. We've landed on a dead planet, once inhabited by the Gallente. There was an Amarrian invasion. The Gallente tried to fight back but were unable to stop them. Cities were burned and the people who were judged unredeemable were killed just as you seen. Massacres happened until they broke the will of the people. The rest were taken into slavery."

"Oh god."

"Yes...for God. Your God. Everything that happened here...." She let her voice trail off as she stood. "All in the name of God." She forced a smile though it did little to hide the anger simmering just below the surface. "How do you know all of this? If it happened as you said it did, there wouldn't be that kind of record, not like that."

"This used to be my home...when I was free."