She leaned her forehead against the cool glass, staring off into the darkness of space. She'd been sitting there for more than an hour, slumped in her usual spot on the floor after a bad dream had awoken her.
The InterGalatic Summit channel played softly in the background. She had turned it on to fill the silence, though after ten minutes it had only served to annoy her. The entire channel was nothing but slanderous feeds about Garst and PIE. A part of her thought maybe Garst brought some of it on himself, but the accusations against PIE were intolerable. She couldn't understand why the galaxy at large held PIE responsible for everything that happened within the Amarrian militia, as if they had some sort of special authority to lord over the rest.
PIE had no more favor with the Empress than the fickle Helljumpers.
Her thoughts shifted to Raphael.
It was going on the second week now with no word from him. He had promised to keep in touch if at all possible, and she knew that if he could possibly send word to her somehow he would...
But he hadn't so far.
What could it mean? Was he in danger? Was it worse...was he dead?
She blinked back the frustrated tears. She'd spent several agonizing nights tossing and turning, dreaming, losing herself in nightmares.
Her patrols were haphazard and distracting. She couldn't quite get her mind focused enough to be on the battlefield though she had tried, pushing herself beyond her limits. Stims could only take a person so far.
And now, here she was, going out of her mind.She stared at the reflection against the glass in front of her as she pulled her head away...but it wasn't her own.
A girl of ten or twelve stared back at her. Wide blue eyes, caramel blonde hair. Her delicate pale face was distressed, her mouth twisted into an urgent frown.
Shalee blinked several times as she tried to find her breath, a scream caught in the back of her throat.
What the fuck..?
And as suddenly as she saw her, she was gone. Shalee finally broke through her paralyzing fear and was able to stand, moving away from the glass though all she saw now was her own reflection.
She trailed a frustrated hand through her long auburn hair as she stared at the window, waiting for it to make sense.
"Oh god, I'm losing my mind..." she whispered to herself.Turning around, she looked around the dimly lit apartment. Nothing out of the ordinary. Certainly no child running about.
Her penetrating gaze shifted back to the window and saw nothing but the expanse of space, the planets and sun in the far distance. A sprinkling of stars. Her own faint reflection.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
But the face was familiar. Not her own, certainly but familiar...though how?
Her thoughts were a tumbled mess. She needed a drink, company, and conversation, though at this hour most everyone she knew was on patrol.
Instead, she moved over to the minibar to pour herself a shot while activating the recording drone. She did two more before finding her voice.
"I am out of my mind apparently. Seeing things that are not there. Dreaming of people I don't know. It's like theres something going just beyond my grasp and everytime I try to figure it out, to understand it, it fades."
She started to pace, "I don't even know what I am saying."
Hot tears spilled down her cheeks as she moved around the room, somewhere along the way lighting a cigarette. "Things are changing. Everything is different now. Raphael is gone and I don't know when I'll see him again. Garst can go to hell, I don't want to ever speak to him again."
She darted her tongue out and licked away a salty tear drop from the corner of her mouth, "Captain Vaarun up and quit the Praetoria without an explination. We have a new CEO, Admiral Lok'ri has stepped down and Admiral Archbishop has taken his place."
Her thoughts were unfocused and she lost the will to make a recording about her corporation.
Her tear stained gaze locked on the window once more, now convinced that she was hallucinating earlier. Too many stims with too little sleep. That had to be it.
So why couldn't she shake off this feeling of unease?
After another quick glance around, she decided to spend the night elsewhere, even if she had to check into a hotel of some sort.As she packed an overnight bag, she ran though a mental list of other pilot's that would possibly take her in for the night. Condor? Zenton? Atfal? Vince?
No not Vince, you can't run to a Veto pilot everytime you're in trouble, she mentally scolded herself.
She left the apartment thinking she'd figure out the details along the way. Surely there'd be somebody around to talk to...