The camera drone came into focus inside of the Tuomuta spaceport hangar where Shalee was standing in front of one of the industrial fans, cooling off. Her long red hair blew behind her on the breeze in silky waves.
She turned around, letting the breeze blow against her neck as she scooped up her hair.
Raphael had just left a few moments prior."After the opera yesterday, Saint and I went our seperate ways since he had an early patrol and I was on the schedule for later. Anyhow, I dropped by Paradiso, it's a new club that had just opened up recently. I had a few drinks with the proprietor, Tyrias Devereaux. He seemed really nice, we chatted a bit in the VIP section, then Maxx showed up. I danced with Aura, I hadn't seen him in months, we had meet a long while ago at the Paradise Found. It was nice catching up with him."
"Tyrias gave me a tour of the club, offered some of the house amenities, then offered me use of his apartment for the night. Alone, of course, he was staying elsewhere. I was beyond exhausted by that point and spent the night."
"I started my patrols early the next morning, the usual route. I stopped by the capsuleer garden on TZVI after getting a message from Vince asking if I could meet him there. A part of me wishes I hadn't."
"It's not that I wasn't happy to see him...it's just...the things he said. The things he confided in me. There was a moment when I was sitting there, just thinking about what he had said, wondering if it could be true, praying to God that it wasn't."
"But in the end, I had to make a choice, pick a side. Do I believe the word of a pirate or do I turn my back on him and hand him over to the authorities for his cruetly. Cruelty against a corpmate.."
"Oh Aldrith...what have you done?"
Silence filled the air as she stood there, thinking, looking over to the Navy Omen Zenton had given her as a gift that morning.
"So many choices to make lately."
"I spoke with Zenton. I still haven't quite brought myself to say all the words to him that flow through my mind when I am not with him. A part of me will always love him, love the man that he once was. But is he still that man any longer? He makes promises all the time but he doesn't keep them. How can I even trust him? How can I possibly give myself over to him again knowing that we are on two different paths? He is happy with DIA."
She closed her eyes as the cool air flowed over her. "And I am not happy with PIE. I am not happy with my superiors...well, most of them. Suprisingly Mitara has supported me in this whole fiasco. I hadn't expected it even though she had apologized to me recently. It was hard to take her at her word, I had in the past found that she can turn on you when you least expect it. So her personally speaking to me about the matter meant a lot. I have also heard from various ensigns and junior officers who were outraged over it, though really nothing from the brass. Nothing personal anyhow. But that is to be expected. Captain Laerise is favored and I am a poster child for bad behavior. I find it ironic really, seeing how my worst 'crime' is going to a pirate bar to speak to Koronakesh about leaving PIE all of those months ago. They are quick to remember that but easily forget the obscene amount of hours spent on patrols, the countless times I have volunteered for anything asked of me or the corporation. That is forgotten or never noticed since I rarely even see the brass."
She continued her ranting as she threaded her fingers through her hair, pushing it from her face as the fan continued to blow it forward. "I'm not being fair. Admiral Lokri has noticed, but he is the only one. If it wasn't for a message he had sent me last month, I wouldn't even be here. I had decided to resign my commission...I hadn't told anyone but I was just really tired of the 'shadow games' and the backstabbing that I hear about. I mean, if you can't trust your superiors to have your back, then who can you really trust? So I had made up my mind, had worked out in my head what I was to say, logged into the mail system ...and there was a message from the CEO thanking me for my efforts."
"Needless to say, I felt it was some kind of sign and decided to stick it out."
She sighed. "It's just aggrivating really, knowing that my whole PIE career I'm going to have to deal with Captain Laerise badmouthing me. She's going to be there every step of the way, every time I ever come up for rank or promotion, she will be there trying to hold me down."
"Sometimes I think I should just give in and let her win. I mean, it's not like I don't have other places to go. In the last month alone I've had at least ten offers from various corporations. Granted I know it isn't due to my impressive skills on the killboards, but, some are willing to take the time to train me properly. Like Invelious. He said my combat skills were unimportant, that he'd teach me."
She thought about how different things would be if she joined DIA. She could be with Zenton...though Zenton said she belonged in PIE.
Garst said the same thing.
Her thoughts drifted to the Saint again. "Raphael and I started out on a lie, a ruse because our Commander suggested it. Since then, after spending so much time with him...things have become complicated. I don't know what part is pretend and what is real anymore. I talked to him about it and we decided to take a few weeks to figure things out, see if we are falling in love, if it is real or just some byproduct of a fucked up situation..."