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...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Entry Fifty Six: Leaving the Warzone

She activated the camera done.

"These past weeks can be measured by countless hours of patrols. I've logged more in-pod hours than I care to think about. Every shift is nothing but endless hours of sky time, bouncing from one system to another in an attempt to defend what we had, hold what we've captured, and to push the front lines even further. It has been a tireless effort of the entire militia."

"With the aide of our Caldari allies we've managed to light up the Metropolis star map. In those first few days we had systems falling every few hours. I don't think I slept any. It was a balancing act of trying to help capture those systems while keeping up with my duties as a Recruitment Officer. There was no time to fly back to Amarr, not while everything was in such an uproar. I'd comm the recruits and have them meet me in whatever system we were currently fighting in, meet them at the nearest spaceport and conduct the interview right there admist the fighting. Though usually by the time the recruits made it to the front the systems would be ours."

"It's been a strain on our pilots. We are overnumbered by far. As the Caldari move back into their own space because the Gallente were taking advantage of their absence, we have had to add even more flight hours because theres just so much to now to defend. On top of that, the Minmatar militia picked up several new corporations, including PIE's long time enemies, EM."

"I can't help but marvel over the 'morning' shift's abilities. I know that Dante, Condor, Merdaneth, Veshta, and Laerise have been fighting very hard to maintain control over our space."

"It almost reminds me of the time when Dark Rising joined the Minmatar militia, at how everything was at such a hectic pace for a few weeks, where every pilot mattered. Those long endless patrols very much remind me of what we face now. I remember flying wingman to our then CEO, Gaven Lok'ri in a punisher, losing them quicker than I could fit them practically. It was chaos then, and it is chaos now."

"And it doesn't help matters that Captain Newelle is stuck behind a desk more often than not these days. A lot of the 'night' patrols have Lt Shutaq and I calling the shots."

"Not that I mind. I like the extra responsibility. I like my duties in PIE."

"Or did."

"I stopped off at the Basilica last night to pray and happened to run into the Captain. I stopped to make small talk, catch her up an informal training op with some of the new recruits."

"So anyhow, I wanted to talk to her about a personal matter. I probably should have known better but I'm glad I did, otherwise I would have never found out about PIE stripping Raphael of his commission."

"I wanted to talk to her about Zenton. For the past few weeks he and I have been spending time together, not a lot but whenever we've had some down time. As friends, of course. But he has been there for me. So anyhow, I dropped by his office and there were boxes everywhere...he was packing up and leaving. I just looked at him. That's all it took. One look, and I knew. I knew he had fallen again."

"He had resigned his commission from DIA and it didn't take a titan engineer to figure out what his next steps were. His wingman Xaerik had left DIA earlier in the week for piracy. Obviously Zenton was to follow him. Despite everything, despite every promise he had made to me, he was leaving. He lied to me. Again. He swore he'd come back to PIE...but that didn't matter to me, not really. I was happy knowing he was in DIA, knowing that we were serving the Empire together, didn't really matter to me what banner we flew under individually as long as it was for the same side."

"I don't know if the stress of these last few weeks just pushed him over the edge or if he really and truely is a pirate at heart. I can't believe that he is, my own heart tells me no but..."

"He is out of DIA and no longer a faithful servant to the Empire? So what is to govern him now? What laws will he uphold as a pirate? What will guide his conscience? I have no doubts what-so-ever that he will fall so dark into this pit of vulgarity that he will say anything, do anything. And why not? What is to stop him? What is to stop him from trying to murder Raphael?"

"I still love you Shalee."

"His last words to me were of love! But what kind of love is that? His love is like Garst's, selfish and unpure, and I will not have the love of a pirate."

"I wanted to speak of this to Mitara, to tell her that I have reservations about what is to come, that I wholeheartedly believe that Zenton will come after Raphael. I wanted the Brass to be aware of this because they always seem to be overly involved in my relationships."

"She said, "I don't see how Raphael Saint concerns them anymore."

"I asked her why and that is when she told me they have decommissioned him. In that moment I just lost it. Fueled by exhaustion and a hot temper, I exploded. Right there in the middle of the Basilica, right in front of God and Empire and I didn't care. Words cannot describe the depths of anger that poured through me as I paced back and forth, shouting my words of rage to the Captain. I pulled off my Lieutenant bars and dropped them on the pew in front of her, telling her that I refuse to fly under a corporation that kicks out my own fiance."

"They never even warned me! Not once did anyone come to me and explain to me what was happening!"

"She tried to make me take them back, forced them into my hand and told me to sleep on it and then left. I screamed at her that I was done with it as I threw my Lt bars into the garden."

"Math'ra Hiede was walking in at that same time and tried to talk to me, no doubt overhearing the last bit of my rampage. Math'ra is militia, I've flown with him several times but rarely have I seen him out of pod. He tried to talk to me about it but I was in no mood. I did apologize to him for causing such a scene and then left."

"The other night I had stopped by My Blue Heaven right after patrols and ran into Gaven. We shared a bottle of wine and he told me and Ruah, who had come in later, to "relax some, we have a war to fight, cannot be on edge all the time."

"So here I am. Relaxing. Admiral's orders after all."

The camera drone panned around, showing a rustic cabin room. Once she left the Basilica, she didn't bother to return to the warzone. Or Amarr. She needed time away from it all, to figure out what she would do next.

"I almost believe that Hiigaren is behind this. It wouldn't be the first time he has tried to get rid of one of mine." She had an odd attachment to the recruits that she'd interviewed. Dominic had been one of hers and in the weeks since he'd joined PIE, she had flown with him a lot, he had become a standard in her and Aldrith's plex patrols. So when she found out that Lt Hiigaren had a talk with Dominic and informed him he wasn't active enough, she lost her temper. As usual. She couldn't help but notice the similarities. Had Hiigaren had a hand in Raphael's dismissal? Was Hiigaren secretly working against her? It made little sense to her but then again there was a lot about PIE that baffled her.

Sheer white curtains rippled as the breeze picked up outside of her window. As the curtains split, for the briefest of seconds an image of a small girl stared at Shalee. The same face that had been haunting her for months.

Shalee darted off of the bed and jerked back the curtains to find nothing. As always.

She trailed her hands across her face, frustrated and afraid, exhausted and feeling as if her whole life was shattering into a thousand pieces. Nothing made sense anymore and she couldn't bear the thought of being alone.

Without the distraction of war, it was too easy to let the nightmares bleed over into reality. She never saw anything while she was with someone, it happened when she was alone. That was why she'd spent the last weeks since Raphael's departure everywhere else but their apartment. She'd stayed at Zenton's, the back of the Paradiso, even falling asleep on a pew at the Basilica from time to time. A nomadic existence, staying wherever there was the energy of life. It protected her somehow, kept her seeped in reality, kept her from coming face to face with what was hidden in her dreams...

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Entry Fifty Five: Letters & Nightmares

((OOC note. The nightmare Shalee has at the end of this post was written by Saint. I thought it was interesting and decided to work it in here.))

Morning sunlight slanted through the filigree of leaves, piercing the semi darkness of the forest that she had spent the last hour walking through.

She wasn't even certain where she was, she'd been so tired coming off of patrols that she just randomly chose the closest habitable planet and set course.

Leaving her small crew with her coercer, she took off walking, thinking the fresh air would revive her, clear her head. She was tired of relying on stims.

Plus, she was in no hurry to get home.

Eventually she'd ended up by a creek and settled down on an enormous rock that was half submered in the water.

Pulling her backpack from her shoulders, she dropped it to the rock then sat to pull off her boots and socks, rolled up her pants and dipped her feet into the tepid flow of water.

She activated a recording drone while pulling out a datapad that would let her access her recruitment files and personal mail.

She glanced through her personal messages first:

Congratulations! Even if you have not entered, due to mix up some numbers and names of InterGalatic Lotto, you are a lucky winner anyhow! You win 10 billion isk! All you have to do is send your bank info to...


Delete.

Lianne. Where have you gone? Is your mental state unstable? Your actions are illogical, you continue to cling to emotion when it has failed you. Contact me, there are new developments that need to be discussed. - Vlad Cetes

She sighed as she pondered a response. Should she even respond at all? Ignoring him would only work for so long before he started showing up in her systems again. He would find her. She mused on it, going back and forth, thinking maybe she wouldn't meet him. He had pissed her off by attacking Zenton in Huola the other day, though no doubt that was done just to get her attention.

RE: Vlad. Fine. I'll meet you in the Gardens later. Shalee.

I will be able to return to Amarr within the next day if all goes according to plan. I informed Invelious of my plan to return to service within Praetoria. He wasn't very understanding of it. He spoke to another director that I could have just possibly been a spy in the corporation, I hope that he's since changed his mind on the issue. I do wish them the best... But it's time for me to fly for the crusade once again. - Zenton Karvash

Save.

RE: Zenton, don't be angry with Invelious, no doubt he is just upset over losing one of his Directors. You are an important part of DIA, it's a heavy loss for him. Though honestly this suprises me. I never really thought you'd do it, that you would actually try to come back to PIE. I wont complain. The militia needs you. And of course, I love flying with you. See you in the skies. - Shalee

Shalee, So far my mission has yielded little. It wasn't too long ago that I was told my mother had stopped reporting to the company. She had told me that she would continue to work after my Father's death, and has been doing so for the last seven years. Though I know little about what she actually does, my Father had told me she acts as a representative and sets up business deals. Although the starting of the Caldari branch of SHUTZ had been her work, results from her are few and far between lately, and I wonder if she has been having trouble for some time. I hope this message finds you well and that you aren't having too many troubles. I look forward to returning to you and hope to find you just as I left you. I love you Shalee and I hope you can wait for me. Forever Yours, Raphael

Save.

She read the message several times, feeling a mixture of anxiety and relief. At least he had finally gotten word to her but she knew it'd be impossible to send a response. At least he was alive. She consoled herself with that knowledge, that he was still out there alive, and apparently unhurt. Though he wasn't returning. Yet anyhow. God she missed him.


Shalee, the way PIE (damned derelicts) has responded to the so called "Quebec Power" incident thoroughly disappoints me. I need to speak with you, I need to know if you are with or against me.... I can't stand the thought of you against me but as long as you wear that PIE insignia on your collar...
Just message me... - Garst Tyrell

Save.

She stared at the blinking screen, reading the message twice. She was still so incredibly angry with him, how could he not know that? Had he forgotten how he treated her in My Blue Heaven? He was acting as if it never happened. Raphael had asked her not to see him again, made her promise she wouldn't have any contact with him. And now the new CEO, Archbishop, had issued orders that greatly restricted her expore to No Mercy & Garst. She debated a response then decided against it. It was better if he would forget about her. Let him think she had made her choice, let him think she was against him.

Lt Shalee Lianne, Given my increased administrative workload, I am unable to conduct installation patrols as often, and for as long as I would like. Therefore, I am charging you to take the initiative when I am otherwise unavailable or occupied to form up and lead patrols in the warzone. You do so with my authority. You have spent enough time in my fleets to know how I like things done, so I trust you to lead them properly. I will be appointing a stand in combat FC in addition to your role. Once I have decided on the pilot, we will all have a short meeting to flush out expectations and to answer any questions. Go with God. -Captain Mitara Newelle

Save.

RE:
As you wish, Captain. May I recommend Lt. Shutaq. We already spend a considerable amount of time on patrols together and he is quite knowledgable. I trust his judgement. As it stands, when we do our patrols we already unofficially assume these roles. Also another to consider is Karvash. He will be putting in a re-application to PIE very soon. - LT Lianne

Lieutenant Lianne. We have orders to collaborate on a recruitment campaign presentation to be presented to both new recruits and the press. I'll mail you at a later date with the details. - Lieutenant Hiigaren

RE:
Sounds good. I have some ideas. We can break it up, you cover the history of PIE, perhaps get some quotes from some previous Admirals and talk about how PIE originated and I'll speak on where PIE is today, what our goals are, etc. What do you think?

She turned off the screen and leaned back against the rock letting the sun warm her face and arms. A thousand things ran through her mind at once. Orders and obligations. Friendships and hardships. Loyalty and love and loss.

So many choices to make. Was she doing the right thing? She lay there for an hour letting the thoughts trickle through her mind like the water across her feet. Eventually the sounds of nature and the warmth of the sun lulled her into a relaxed state. Before she knew it, she was fast asleep with the recording drone still flying about, abandoned like the countless scanner probes she'd lost throughout the warzone.

Moments later she was lost in nightmares...


********

Stepping off of the shuttle, Raphael hefted his bag further onto his shoulder as he exhaled, happy to be back. He had promised her he would return, and now he had. She was waiting a mere fifteen minutes away, and soon he’d have her back in his arms. Feeling happy despite the disappointment his recent outing had been, he found himself humming slightly as he began the walk to her apartment.

The entire four weeks he was gone she had been on his mind, sometimes just below the surface as he focused on something else, but never was there no thought spared for her. Finally, he was returning to her, even if for only a short time. He was planning on making the most of it. Anytime either of them weren’t on patrol, he was hoping to spend together.

Entering into a large atrium that bisected a number of the floors in the station, Raphael looked up at the large, backlit dome. It illuminated the entire room, and was set to mimic the daylight cycle of the polar capital of the Ducia Family Refinery Corporation. It altered between twilight and midday; shining at the moment with the glow of a late afternoon sun.

Usually the place was full of militia pilots grabbing something to eat or some shut eye, but Raphael found it almost devoid of life. The only other person in the place was a lone pilot on the other side of the atrium; directly between Raphael and his destination. As he got closer, he recognized the lone figure.

“Garst! What’re you doing here?” Raphael asked in a friendly tone. He was glad to see familiar faces after being gone so long.

“Saint,” came his reply, his voice cool, calm.

“I thought you based out of Ohide, or had already moved out of the Empire entirely.” Raphael came to a stop to talk to his old friend. It had been a long while since the last time the two met face to face.

“I came to see you,” Garst smiled a bit, “and Shalee.”

Raphael cocked his head to the side. “Oh? How did you know I would be here? I haven’t told anyone that I was coming.”

“I’ve had a few friends tracking you on your journey.” Garst reached into his coat as if to retrieve something. “Did you think I wouldn’t keep tabs on my old friend?”

Raphael frowned a bit. “I hope you haven’t already talked to Shalee. It was supposed to be a surprise.”

“Oh, she’ll be surprised alright.”

Raphael heard a loud bang and felt something hit him hard in the chest. He stood there for a second dumbfounded before slowly looking downwards. There was a small hole in his uniform where something had pierced it, and slowly reality dawned on him. He attempted to speak but all that came out was a bloody cough. He took a slight step backwards before collapsing.

Garst calmly took a few steps forward until he was standing over Raphael. “I don’t take kindly to betrayal, Saint.”

A look of confusion spread across Raphael’s face as he tried to comprehend everything that was happening. He tried to speak, to move, but his whole body had frozen from the pain.

“I loved her, Saint. You knew that. You used to defend me on it.” Garst was speaking calmly, wiping the gun down before tossing it into a bush nearby.

Raphael stared up at him, trying to speak, but was gagged by the blood that was quickly filling his mouth.

“But you stole her from me, and tried to marry her. You’re no friend.” Garst was reaching into his coat again.

Raphael couldn’t breathe. The bullet had torn through his carina, and now breathing was impossible. Blood was filling both his lungs, and as he tried to speak, nothing but bubbles came up.

“Oh, have you something to say?” Garst feigned concern.

Raphael couldn’t speak, but he focused until his thoughts were clear. I’m not sorry for loving her.

“Slaver hound got your tongue?” Garst laughed. His hate had manifest, and he was enjoying himself. “I’ve got a surprise for you as well.” He tossed something onto Raphael’s chest.

Raphael willed himself to move, craning his neck up to see what had landed painfully on his chest. It was a datapad, its display lit up with a message.

KOR-AZOR FAMILY CLONING BUREAU
======
OWNER: SAINT, RAPHAEL
CONTRACT STATUS: CANCELED

Garst laughed as he saw Raphael’s eyes widen at the message. “Friends in high places and all that.”

Raphael looked up from the data pad to Garst’s mirthful face. I’m sorry Shalee.

“Enjoy yourself, Saint. As for me, I’ve got to go console an old friend. You know how vulnerable women are after a loss.” He laughed again as he turned away and began walking towards Shalee’s apartment.

Raphael watched him for as long as he could, still craning his neck, straining against the pain. His vision was growing dark, his body growing cold, and thoughts starting to blur. Laying his head back down, Raphael closed his eyes for the last time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Entry Fifty Four: Trouble With The Brass

She had a hangover.

It had been a long night of patrols, complete with an occassional skirmish with the Minmatar and an ambush or two involving some pirates.

Afterwards, she had met Aldrith at My Blue Heaven to talk things out and then they discussed a little plan she'd been musing on the past few days.

For weeks now their patrol wing had been harassed by local pirates and she'd simply had enough. She wanted to take the fight to them, to hunt them instead of being hunted.

After Aldrith had lost a few hundred million that night, it was the perfect time to get him onboard with her idea. They had a few drinks, discussed a few names, and a new kind of relationship was born. Not quite a friendship, but some kind of new bond forged out of a mutual lust for revenge.

They did a few shots to seal the deal, followed by another few shots as they made their plans and by the end of the night she could barely put one foot in front of another.

Somehow she had made it to Zenton's place and passed out. She'd been staying there for the last few days while he was down in zero zero space just so she wouldn't have to go home to an empty apartment, well, at least it wasn't *her* empty apartment. It was different at Zentons. His apartment on the Roushzar space station was in back of his office at the DIA head quarters. There were always people about, so even if Zenton wasn't there, she never really felt alone.

The next morning she ran across Invelious while in search of coffee. He never really questioned her presence at the DIA HQs and was always up for a friendly chat. As she nursed her coffee, he informed her that DIA was leaving the war. There had been rumors, of course, but he confirmed it.

"Well lieutenant, DIA requires a temporary reprieve from active combat in the militia, this of course does not mean we have broken our loyalty from the Empire. The Theology Council has requested we take a more logistic approach and build on their pod pilot based order. So this is what we will do."

She couldn't help but be disappointed.

Back in Zenton's office, she settled down into his chair to finish off her coffee and to start on a journal recording.

"Activate."

The camera drone panned across the room and zoomed in on her face. She wore a look of misery. Dark shadows beneath her eyes betrayed her restless night of sleep.

"So this past week has been a troublesome one. I got caught on a gatecamp last night jumping into Kour. Lost Incognito had just given the intel over voice comms that it was hot as I was jumping through. I was just in a coercer and figured my chances getting away were pretty okay, but I was wrong. At least I didn't get podded."

She shrugged, "I'm not stressing it."

"But this past week? Yeah, I'm stressing that. It's just been one big misunderstanding after another. Got in trouble with the Brass. Not just a minor slap on the hand, but something big. Something where the goddamned CEO is asking if I need to confess my sins."

"I really thought I was out of PIE by that point, or at least demoted all the way down to Ensign...not that it's that much of a fall. But still." She settled back in the chair and propped her feet up on his desk.

"I had debated on just beating them to the punch and leaving on my own before they got the chance, but one of the Directors got word of it and pretty much talked me out of it."

"Anyhow, that's over and done with. From what I understand I wont be demoted, though I wont be getting a promotion any time soon either."

She sighed to herself, "Which means that smug bastard Hiigaren can lord his rank over my head that much longer."

Not that she disliked Hiigaren, quite the opposite. She really enjoyed working with him on the recruitment council. But he did have a tendency in pulling rank, like during the Lallara incident, even when she was in the right.

"Still no word from Raphael."

"And we've new orders in regards to No Mercy. I have mixed feelings about it, but mostly I think it is a shame that Jade Constantine has 'won'. I mean, all the time the brass spent investigating it could have been spent out on the battlefield instead of fielding paperwork thats really none of our business anyhow. So what if they are pirates? Doesn't stop us from flying with the Helljumpers or countless other unsavories who have made it into the militia. Where are our orders in regards to them?"

"Obviously PIE played right into Jade's hands on this. She pushed and prodded til she got what she wanted. It is ridiculous really. And her obsession with Garst is borderline obscene."

She shrugged to herself. It wasn't like she could do anything about it and she was still pissed off enough at Garst that it didn't really bother her all that much.

Falling silent, she glanced around Zenton's office, musing over the difference between PIE and DIA. In a shorter time than she had been in PIE, Zenton had become a director of DIA. Hell even Garst had achieved much more outside of PIE than in. Her thoughts drifted to Vaarun, wondering what he would end up doing now that he was on the outside too.

After finishing her coffee, she deactivated the recording drone and went off into his apartment to get ready for another grueling round of patrols.

She probably should feel guilty for taking over his apartment like this, she thought as she glanced about his bedroom. Her clothes were strewn all over the place and his dresser was now covered with decorative little bottles of her perfume and other trivial little things that women used on a daily basis; lotions, makeup, and a few other odds and ends.

Her uniforms were piled up over the back of a chair, boots stacked by the bed.

Her brows furrowed as she took it all in. He never said a word, never complained. He even gave up his bed for her, offering to sleep on the sofa just so she could be more comfortable.

Her gaze drifted over to a picture he kept by his bed. Of them, when they were still together as a couple.

She stared at it for a long moment as memories flashed through her mind, of times when they were just happy being together.

And then she glanced down to the ring she wore and thought of Raphael. A part of her couldn't help but feel disloyal to him by simply being there, but another part of her didn't care. Zenton was still her friend, and she was allowed to have friends....right
?