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, February 24, 2010

Sixty Eight: Holograms

System: Arzad
Occupancy: Amarr Empire
Sovereignty: Amarr Empire
Constellation: Semou
Region: Devoid
Security Level: 0.2
Location: 24th Imperial Crusade Logistic Support


Shalee sat perched on a moving crate inside a newly purchased apartment in the Arzad system with a computer console balanced on her thighs. She had meant to spend this time unpacking but instead she had discovered the apartment's built in virtual reality holo system and had been distracted with it for the past two hours.

Before her stood a holographic image of herself. An exact replica, a digital avatar that she could project anywhere in space that had the means to receive it. She'd tried it once before, at La Maison, and didn't really care for it. Or maybe it was the company.

At the time she was unimpressed with the experience, it seemed ridiculous to waste her time in such an unreal world, only pretending to smoke, or drink, even if it seemed real. She knew it wasn't.

She never went back.

But today while she was supposed to be setting up her apartment, she found the internal console that allowed her to download her avatar for the Holo-Ground and became absorbed with the process. Choosing clothes. Hair colors. Morphing her eye color, facial expressions.

She was completely intrigued by it now, and was tempted to enter into Star Fraction's La Maison again...but then decided against it.

Finally, she turned the thing off and stretched out on the crate, staring up at the ceiling.

"Activate." A camera drone hovered over her and panned out, capturing the disarray of her apartment. Boxes and crates were strewn everywhere, waiting to be unpacked.

"So, new apartment. I'm keeping the others, of course, especially the one in Choonka because Raphael bought it for me. But this one will be much more convenient for the war. Our headquarters are now based here and we start most of our patrols from the system."

"Plus, it will be nice having First Praetorian Guards for neighbors instead of Star Fraction." she smirked.

"We've been flying some with some of their pilots and it has worked out really well."

"The war has taken a turn for the worse. We lost two systems in 24 hours, both when Aldrith and I were not on patrols. But that doesn't take the sting out of it. Since then we've stepped up our presence on the battlefield, doing double patrols. It's been exhausting, but necessary. Every pilot counts."

She fell silent as she stared up at the ceiling. A holgram of the Arzad system stretched across it, giving her the feeling of floating in space.

"Garst has finally left me alone. I told Aldrith he would, I told him he'd give up and go back to null sec."

"At first I wanted to kill him...I walked around for days wearing my Ni Kunni veil, with no one the wiser to what he had done. It hid the bruises and finally they faded. But I can't quite forget it."

Her expression twisted, betraying her distress. "I just wanted him to die...and that isn't me. I try not to harbor such anger and hatred but I can't seem to shake this off."

"I've had a few offers to do it actually. After the attack, by chance Von showed up at my Choonka apartment. I hadn't seen him in forever and was actually suprised that he tracked me down. He wants to be a part of my life again and has forgiven me for leaving him back then. I invited him in, we ended up talking for hours."

"He knew. He knew something was desperately wrong and finally got it out of me. I've never seen him so angry before. He said he would hunt him down and kill him for me. Just like that. Believe me, I was tempted to take him up on the offer, but I told him no. I don't want anymore drama over this, I just want it all to go away. I want him to go away."

"Von ended up staying the night in the guest bedroom, I guess his protectiveness hasn't worn off. He's met Aldrith and Soren both and has even expressed an interest in the corp. So...I guess we will see how that goes."

"To be honest, I do like having him around again. He once saved me, I wont ever really forget that. Plus I don't like being alone anymore. Things are better with people around."

"I've had both Von and Soren stay over, plus Feinlyn said he would as well."

"I guess I shouldn't be so terrified...but...theres a part of me that knows he will come back. He always comes back."

Friday, February 12, 2010

Entry Sixty Seven: Turning The Tides

She needed answers...

Shalee had been following him for the last couple of hours, tracking his every movement. Wearing a short black wig to disguise her hair, the rest of her was hidden beneath an ordinary Amarrian robe. As he finally stepped out of the bar alone, she came up behind with with a sidearm pressed into the small of his back. "Turn right." There was an alley, private and dark, snaking it's way between the bar and an all night liquor store.

Garst grunted, frustrated as he slowly turned, ignoring the request. He stared her down, trying to see her face beneath the shadows of her hood. "And who might you be?" His voice was low, menancing.

Without answering, she lowered the gun and shot between his feet. "I said MOVE."

He pounced on her as she lowered her guard to shoot at the sidewalk. Laughing, he pummelled his fist against her jaw. Quick and fluidly, he grasped her into a chokehold and drug her in the alley behind a dumpster while taking her gun. "Any last words before I kill you?"

Choking, she gasped for breath while slamming her elbow as hard as she could into his ribs. He faltered for a second, giving her enough movement to struggle, to scream. She shoved her foot down as hard as she possible could against his while screaming, "LET ME GO!"

Garst grunted slightly as his muscled abs absorbed her blow; completely ignoring her sandals stomping on his boots. He threw her against the wall, sprawling her forward, laughing deeply the entire time.

Her head slammed against the wall and from the brutal force, she slid down, falling unconscious.

He strutted over, sticking her gun into the back of his pants as he closed in on her. He drug his hand up the small of her back, reaching for her hood. He jerked it down, pulling off the wig. Strands of red hair came tumbling out as he turned her over. His smile faded momentarily as he recognized her.

And then he laughed.

He shook her, then slapped her face harder than necessary, cutting her cheek with his ring. "Wakey wakey sleeping beauty."

She roused to consciousness very slowly. Pain throbbed at her temples, ached at the back of her head and across her cheek where he'd cut her. Blinking the darkness away, dark blue eyes focused on his face as she fought off the urge to slip back into the safety of unconsciousness once more. She moaned, wincing from the pain. "Garst..."

He slid his hand beneath her neck and lifted her head, bringing her mouth to his. He crushed his lips against hers as he twisted his fingers into her hair, holding her head still. His tongue invaded her mouth; hot, wet, and demanding. Pulling away, he smirked at her, "A kiss to wake up the princess?" He stroked his thumb across her cheek, smearing away the blood, then leaned in to kiss her again.

She muttered against his mouth as he tried to kiss her again, "Stop."

Fury flushed his face as he roughly dropped her head. He stood up and placed his boot firmly against her stomach, pinning her to the ground. "Well you found me. So speak."

"You killed me..." She winced, feeling the pressue against her abdomen. "Why? How can you SAY you love somebody and fucking kill them Garst? How could you do that?"

He raised an eyebrow. "Of everything I expected you to say, that sure wasnt it. As for you dying, well you look pretty alive to me honey, but I might have to change that unless you give me some good answers and fast." He toyed with the handle of her pistol stuck in his back belt.

She lifted her hand to her forehead, wincing. "Let me up." Pain shot through her body. "I wake up in a fucking cloning vat last night with NO idea how I got there. Approximately twenty four hours of memories are gone. But I found a ring at my apartment...engraved. You gave it to me."

He grimaced when she mentioned the ring. "Give me the ring. NOW." He pressed harder against her stomach.

"I don't have it here!" Tears slipped from the corners of her eyes as she rolled her head to the side, staring at a dumpster across the alley.

"So what? You were gonna come kill me? Great fucking job but you might need this." He pulled the gun out and waved it in the air a few times before kneeling and shoving it in her mouth, forcing her to suck the barrel, keeping her from talking. "Is this according to your plan bitch?" He noticed her eyeing the dumpster and met her gaze. "Maybe I'll dump your body in there."

She started to shake uncontrollably. She squeezed her eyes closed, unable to watch. "So do it."

"Any last words?" He pulled the gun from her mouth and trailed it lightly across her chin.

She jerked her head to the side as tears continued to roll down her cheeks. She tensed, waiting.

"Why?" His voice softened, "Why were you going to pull me into this alley?"

"I wanted answers. I needed to know why you did it... I wanted to know why you hate me so god damned much?"

"That's an interesting choice of words. Keep talking."

"I don't know what else to tell you. Someone was in my apartment. Those are my last memories, of going to sleep. And then, all of a sudden, I'm waking up in the cloning vat..and later I find out that you had been there apparently. What am I supposed to think?"

His expression betrayed the turmoil of emotions flooding him. Anger flashed across his face and he looked as if he wanted to hit her, though he resisted. Instead, he cupped her cheek and grazed his thumb across it gently. A moment passed and his face twisted into something darker. He slid his hand to her chin and clamped her mouth closed, cupping his fingers across her lips. "Maybe it was that other man you're fucking?"

She shook her head no, eyes wide with fear.

He leaned his head to hers and drug his tongue across her neck, "Do you like it when your man touches you like this?" His voice was low, hinted with controlled rage.

"There is nobody else... I just wanted to hurt you," she confessed in a small whisper.

"It worked. Now im going to hurt you."

"Please don't...haven't you done enough?"

"I like it when you beg." His gaze slid across her body. "I've been waiting so long to have you in my grasp... helpless... and so ... weak."

Trembling, she exhaled a shakey breath. "Why?"

"I want to hurt you like you've hurt me. I don't know what the hell you're on about but you chose the wrong god damn day to try my patience." He shoved the memories of the bad dealings that went down just before she had snuck up on him from his mind. His hand drifted down her side, across her hip to underneath her. He grabbed her bottom, squeezing it hard while he jutted the barrel of the gun underneat her chin. "Scream for me."

She clamped her eyes shut, unable to scream since he was pressing her mouth shut. Instead, she whimpered a frightened sound, low in her throat.

He pulled the gun away, "I said scream." His other hand moved to her upper thigh, squeezing, bunching up the fabric of her dress.

Her teeth chattered and her voice was frozen. Her breath was shallow, gaspy. Fear rolled through her in waves.

He forced the barrel into her mouth again. She choked, sobbing, then started to scream, the noise muffled against the cold metal.

Sweat beaded on his forehead and he started to breath heavily. Groping her legs, he slid his hand between her thighs, bunching the fabric of her dress, about to rip it off of her when a shadow fell across the wall in front of him.

As he stood, the stranger shoved him forward into the wall. Garst turned and slammed into the assailant, shoving them towards the dumpster. He stepped back, wagging one finger "tsk tsk", while cocking the gun. Second later the stranger's brains exploded onto the dumpster and wall as Garst emptied the gun with the precision of a well-trained soldier.

Shalee scrambled to her feet, trying to control the hysteria that was bubbling up. He just fucking killed a man. Right in front of her.

Garst dropped the gun at her feet as he smiled sadistically, "You shouldn't have shot that man Shalee. He probably had a family." He smirked and gave her a wink before walking out of the alley entrance yelling, "Police! She's got a gun!" over and over.

She could hear a flurry of voices followed by the low wail of a siren. Frantic, she took off in the other direction, escaping out of the other end of the alley.

***

Twenty four hours earlier:

"Hello Shalee."

"Koronakesh...how are you?"

"Well enough."

"Tell me...have you any word from Invelious?"

"No."

"Nor have I....I am afraid something really bad has happened to him."

"And what would make you suspect that over his usual absenteeism?"

"Because he commed me the other day and I saw someone pull a hood across his head and drag him from his office! I watched it all..."

"I see. Have you sent any inquiries to the authorities?"

"Yes of course, I went to Concord immediately...but we are in the middle of a war, how much effort do you really think they will expend searching for one man?"

"Hrm."

"And I don't know what to do...where to go."

"Do you know where his office is?"

"Yes, I have the coordinates from the last transmission, but what good will that do? He obviously isn't there."

"No. But if it's untouched, it may provide clues."

"I don't want to go alone.."

"What system is the office in?"

She forwarded him the coordinates, "It's there."

"Hrm. I'm in Deklein right now. Convenient that operation guar duties are just finishing. I will jumpclone nearby and meet you."

"Alright, I'm just a few jumps out from it. Meet you there."

Half an hour later, Koronakesh approached the entrace of the office. He wore a pair of pistols at his hips with a large rifle slung over his back.

She was there waiting for him, arms folded across her chest, leaning against the wall. She looked at Kor, her eyes wide with worry. "Do you think all of that is necessary?" She tipped her head toward the guns.

"Better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them. Besides, I like my veinshredder." He grinned as he patted the rifle's end.

She grinned, "Yeah okay." Exhaling a soft breath, she waited for him to go in first.

He slung the weapon off his back while tapping the side of his headset to bring up a holo-hud over one eye, then entered.

She followed in behind him feeling ill prepared, staying behind him, peeking over his shoulder into the cold stale office in case something should suddenly pop out. She laughed nervously, thinking she'd watched too many bad horror holos.

"Nobody home. Disappointing." He fell into a relaxed posture and flipped his holo-hud back off.

She slid out from behind him, relaxing a bit. "I remember....." she said thoughtfully, trying to recall everything that happened. "He threw something."

Kor shut the door and repositioned the rifle onto his back while eyeing her, "Take your time."

She moved over to where she saw thought it might have landed and knelt down to scoop it up. "Here."

"Hm." he walked over to her.

She stood again while looking at the disc. Taking it over to his player, she slid it in to access the files. The screen lit up with a strange language, one she'd never seen. "I ...I don't think I've ever seen this language before?"

"I have. I recognize a bit, though I can't actually read it."

She scanned through the files, coming across Rodj Blake's photo with something written beneath it but she couldn't make it out. "What is it?" She stared at the picture of Rodj while tapping her finger to her lips. What could it mean? Rodj Blake was an Admiral of PIE, a corporation she'd just left in the last few weeks. He was well known and highly thought of from what she knew, though she'd never personally met him.

"It's Takmahl notation."

"Who do you know that can read this?"

"There's a man named 'The Curator' who could. I don't really know him personally, though."

"Where can I find him?"

"The Curator will be at the Museum Arcana in Zimse. It's a restricted deadpsace facility."

"Will it be impossible to reach him," she asked, frowning deeply.

"I don't think so. If you can obtain the Key of the Arcana, you can enter the facility. Do you know who the Takmahl were?"

"No."

"They really don't teach history well anymore," he chuckled. Laying his rifle out on Invelious' desk, he sat in the chair.

She slid down onto the desk, using it for a chair, readying herself for a history lesson.

"The Takmahl were a branch of the FoG. Followers of God, or what we more commonly know as the mainstream religion of the Empire. They existed before the Amarr regained the knowledge of space flight. Shortly after, they were banished and persecuted nearly to extinction. The Takmahl were heretics of the most vile sort. They are thought to have been the progenitors of the Blood Raider Covenant."

"Oh..."

"We know that after they fled into space from the Empire, they managed to revitalize and prosper without hinderance. They became exceptionally well-versed in bio-engineering and cybernetic enhancements."

She wrinkled up her brows, not liking the sound of it. It reminded her of Michael Priboj.

"And then, for reasons we do not know, they died out."

"So they are long dead and Invelious is keeping files in their lost language?"

"All that's left of their works are the many artifacts littering the Araz constellation. Many of which include Takmahl scripture, religious exercises, things of that sort. These...are extremely dangerous things. The Council keeps as much as they can locked away in the Museum Arcana. Invelious' position as a Divine Inquisitor would probably allow him some access to those artifacts and records. Including such things as idols meant to depict God."

She paled. "Fuck." She trailed a hand through her long red hair, "So you're saying that to find him...I will be getting involved with the Imperial agents again. Lovely. Just lovely."

"The Curator is member of the Theology Council, as I'm sure you've guessed. I don't know why Invelious would be particularly interested in them, though."

"Surely you don't think they had anything to do with it?"

"It's something. These artifacts are highly prized by the Covenant, and smugglers of the Angels, Guristas and Serpentis all make attempts at getting a hold of such things for resale. If Invelious could actually read their writings, he has invested a considerable amount of time into research. Which, in addition to myriad other reasons, makes him a target."

"So what do we do now...?"

He scratched idly at a few relatively new scars on his cheek, "I'm not sure. I can keep this place under surveillance. I'd suggest inquiring discreetly as to why Admiral Blake's portrait came up."

She nodded, "Alright."

"A thought. You said you watched him abducted?"

"Yes. We were talking, and suddenly I could see a black hood pulled over his head."

"And did anyone look at you?"

She opened her mouth to say something, then hesitated as she replaid the scene in her mind.

"No. I don't think so."

"I suggest you make sure, Shalee."

"No one has tried to contact me or cause me any harm."

"Makes for a nice change of pace, doesn't it?"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Entry Sixty Six: Stolen

The door chimed at her Choonka apartment. She checked the security feed, seeing someone in an Amarrian robe who had scanned an unfamiliar identity card at the front desk.

Curious, she answered. "Yes?"

His face was hidden beneath the hood, "Ms. Lianne, I have a message for you from the Commander."

For a moment she thought of a Praetorian Commander. Merdaneth? Feiyra? "Go on.."

Garst Tyrell threw back the hood and smiled. He pushed his way inside, smiling as he closed and locked the door behind him.

She paled, "What are you doing here?" Instinctively she took a step back, putting distance between them.

He stroked his chin, "Why would I be here...Why indeed? I thought I was going to meet a friend here...Have you seen her?" He exaggerated a shrug.

She stared at him long and hard, "You need to leave..." She took another step back, brushing against the back of the sofa. Her arms folded across her chest.

"Funny, that's exactly what I had in mind. How many weeks now have I been asking you, pleading you to stop this nonsense with the militia and just accept the fact that we were meant to be together, I have a room picked out for you in RYC. A king sized bed, beautiful curtains and furniture, it reminds me of this room....and no coincidence at that. A room fit for a queen... my queen." He smiled charmingly.

She forced herself to relax. It was her home, even if she were alone she had the advantage. "Do you want a drink?" she asked, seemingly unaware that he had just said anything. She took the opportunity to walk over to the minibar.

"I'd love one, what do you recommend?" He followed her.

With steady hands, she poured him a shot of whiskey, then one for herself. As he walked over, she moved around the bar and stood on the opposite side, keeping it between them.

He drowned the whiskey greedily and pushed the glass aside, leaning over the bar, hands crossed on his chest as he leaned in to speak to her. He noticed the new uniform insignia lying on the counter and picked it up, examining it. "Knighthood of the merciful what now?"

She met his gaze, showing no fear despite how she felt on the inside. "What?" Her gaze fell to the insignia. "I left PIE."

He nodded, "Of course you did, tie up loose ends in Empire before the big plunge eh, I was the same way. I dont like loose ends...is this some kind of drinking club or something? Knight queens of the what now?" He idly tossed the insignia back on the counter, almost already forgotten. "I'm glad you left PIE. I know it wasn't easy for you, you've been PIE for so long, but all things must come to an end so greater things can begin."

"I'm glad it pleases you." She answered in a sarcastic tone.

He took her hand, unnoticing her sarcasm. "I'm sure it was difficult, breaking the status quo always is. But change breeds strength, and you will be stronger for it."

She glanced to their hands, hers lying limply in his.

Noticing the lack of response, he dropped her hand. "Have you packed?"

"Packed?"

"For our departure?" He looked at her, confused. "Are you really not packed?"

"I'm not leaving with you....I thought you could be civil. I thought...hoped, you wanted to apologize....Gods I'm such a fool for believing that you will be anything other than the monster you've turned into!"

His mouth fell open, "Monster?"

"Yes!"

"Where is this nonsense coming from?" His fingers curled into a tight fist as rage washed over him, "Shut your mouth bitch don't you dare call me a monster."

"You used to be so noble, so, so godly." as he called her a bitch, she frowned, her temper simmering "Fuck you, dont you dare call me that. Get out of here, I want you to leave."

He resisted the urge to reach over and slap her, "I get it. It's your time of the month, its my fault for intruding when you aren't yourself. I'm in the system for only a few more days. Plenty of time for you to return to your normal self. I'm not waiting any longer, plans have been set in motion. And you are coming with me like we planned, its going to be magnificent." He muttered "magnificent" excitedly for emphasis under his breath.

She opened her mouth to argue with him but words failed her. He thinks I have my period? Gods, how dense.

"Oh! I brought you something." He dug in his cloak and retrieved a small box. "Would you like to open it now or later?"

She stared at him for a moment, suddenly reminded of the man he used to be when she first started out in the Praetoria. He was constantly charming her, bringing her gifts, buying her things just to cheer her up. He had been so thoughtful, so sweet. He caught her off guard with a gift now. Reluctantly she asked, "What is it?"

"Open it and find out," he replied with another charming smile. "I don't want to ruin the surprise."

She couldn't help herself. She picked the box up and opened it.

"It's a black diamond from Scalding Pass, very rare, from the heart of a dead star. It cost more than one of my battleships but for you it is just the beginning. Do you like it?" He looked at her expectantly.

She trailed her fingertip across it. "Yes." Her gaze flickered to him again. "Very much."

"I knew you would," he beamed, "And there's more where that came from, I swear on it. You will be thrilled when you see our apartment, I had the serfs redecorate in prepration for you. It will be good to be home again."

She laid the box on the minibar, "I can't accept this." She shook her head, "And I can't come with you. You know that."

"What do you mean?"

"I can't take this, I don't think Raphael would approve."

He chuckled with relief, "Raphael? That's who is on your mind?"

"He is my fiance."

"For a second I thought it was something serious. He left you honey. Why can't you accept that?"
"No...no. He has not."

"Yes... he has. Living in some make believe and saying that he hasn't wont bring him back."

"Go to hell."

He fell silent for a moment, thinking. "So this is what all this drama has been about. It's not your time of the month, you have been convinced Saint is coming back to you. Well let me assure you something Shalee. Saint lets people down, it's what he does, he's long gone without so much as a letter or an explanation and he wont be coming back and the sooner you accept that the sooner you will find true happiness."

"Are you finished? Because I know he is coming back."

"Why? Because you said so?"

"I don't care what you say, I know him. I know he loves me and he will come back for me!" She started to yell.

"He doesnt love you god dammit!" He snapped. "I LOVE YOU." He slammed his hand against the minibar, "This isn't complicated. I swear to god I've navigated wormholes easier than talking to you." He moved around the mini bar, staring at her, his gaze hot and angry as it slid across her lithe form.

"I HATE you!" She met his gaze, raging with temper. He had unsettled her, not because she was afraid of him in that moment, but of the things he made her question. Raphael. Garst had known him for years, she barely knew him for less than one. And he had let her down, several times. Before Garst could approach, she grabbed a glass from the mini bar and slung it at his feet, "I want you to leave! Go!"

He snarled and grabbed the ring, clinching it between his fingers. "Bitch."

"Go." she yelled.

"Cold hearted bitch. I'm done with you. I'm done with this whole god damn parsec. He turned and marched to the door, then looked over his shoulder before stepping out. "Say what you want now bitch, but when youre cold and alone at night and Saint is swooning in the arms of his gallente whore, you'll cry yourself to sleep alone and think about what could have been. But it will be too late."

Waves of anger rolled through her. She hated him in that moment and only wanted to hurt him, "Maybe I'm fucking somebody else." As soon as the words flew out of her mouth she felt guilty, uncertain what possessed her to say such a thing. But he just made her so goddamned angry!

"You're gonna be fucking yourself before long because knowing you, you wont keep him long either." He yelled, his face flushed with fury. He slammed his fist against the wall, dropping the ring, "Fuck it, I don't even care anymore."

"Fine."

"I don't care about this shit, I've tried as hard as anyone in those shitty b-romance novels you read, but I can't take you tugging at my emotions anymore. Go fuck your new man, he'll leave you just like the rest. Only I fought for you, protected you in your time of need, fought in your corner, and you betray me with hate. I'm through. And I'm done. You wont be seeing me again." He pulled open the door, "I'd say have a nice life Shalee...but you wont, you'll die alone and cold, but have a nice life just the same." He slammed the door on his way out.

***
Half an hour later, Vlad Cetes was pounding on her door.

She opened it, half expecting it to be Garst returning. She had been an emotional wreck since he had left. She had kept replaying his words over and over and had eventually broke down into a fit of tears.

"Vlad...what are you doing here?"

"I am addressing a problem."

"A problem?"

"Your...usefulness to me is starting to wear off."

She furrowed her brows. "I've not worked 'for' you in a very long time, I would have thought my usefulness would have been over long long ago."

"What you think or not is not important. Unfortunately I am left with three options."

"Who are you to come here and say such things to me! Get out!" Left over anger from Garst poured out.

He approached her, towering over her, "Because I am the one who decides your fate." He stared down at her for a moment, his gaze locked with hers.

She jutted her chin up stubbonly as if daring him to make a move. "You decide nothing."

Ever so slowly, he removed his sidearm, holding it at his side. "I decide whether to eliminate you."

"Get out. Get OUT of here."

"Or the ones you love..."

"The ones I love? What? No. You're mad. You're absolutely mad. I want you out of here..."

"I am not mad. Not at all." His gaze never left hers. "I have seen your conversing with male Amarrians.."

"What do you care? What is it to you who I love?"

"I don't care." Something flickered across his face. Frustration? "I simply care about your usefullness to me."

"I am nothing to you. I have no use, no purpose."

"Your true purpose is yet unrevealed."

"What do you know of my purpose?"

"You hold repressed memories. My scientists believe that is why the information error happened..during your cloning. I need to eliminate that error."

"You would kill me...? After everything we've been through, after you've went through so much trouble to save me, you'd come here and threaten me? Murder me?"

"I do what I must to protect my information. I would prefer, of course, to not use violence.."

She paled, "Then don't."

"There is an easy way to fix these problems."

"How?" Her voice was small, strained. Realization slid through her. He would kill her if he thought he had no other choice. She was nothing to him. Just another tool in his army of madness.

He pulled a large, mesh cap out, "Put this on Lianne, and all of the pain will go away."

"No...what is it?" She stared at it, not understanding. "No."

"I will not kill you...at least, not permanently. I have to acess your cloning stream. Your brain scan information. I will remove the information and the repressed memories, if you so choose." He hesitated, as if considering something, "Or perhaps, I can deal with whatever had been bothering you...in exchange."

She stared at him for a long moment. "If I consent to this, you will take away only the things involving you?"

"Affirmative."

"And then it is over? You will leave me alone? For ever?"

"No."

"Why not?! You get what you want." She was hysterical and just wanted him out of her apartment. It had been a long, emotional day.

He considered her for a moment, then said, "Fine." He connected a datapad to the cap.

"Place it on your head and tell me when you are ready." His tone was suprisingly soothing, as if talking to a child.

She felt as if she had little choice but to do as she was told. It was either that or let him kill her, and if she cooperated, at least she'd have a fighting chance. She pulled the cap on, unsure how he was going to remove selected memories with the thing, never realizing what was really going to happen.

"Are you ready?"

"No but do I have a choice? It's not like I want you in my mind."

He activated it. The brain scanner fired while at the same time, a neurotoxin was injected, causing instant death. She slumped forward into his waiting arms.

***
Several hours later...

She came up out of the cloning vat gasping for breath, desperately pulling the air tube from her mouth, inhaling the sterile air inside the Amarrian cloning facility.

She glanced around wildly as memories flashed through her mind rapidly, all distorted for the moment. Placing her hand against her chest, she concentrated on slowing her pulse as she tried to remember what had brought her here, searching her mind for the memories of her last death.

...but she could remember nothing of the last twenty four hours.

Her forehead wrinkled as she frowned, whispering to herself, "What the fuck is going on..."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Entry Sixty Five: A few scribbled words

Evening sunlight bled though the tangle of vines above her head and slanted down in pale beams across the bench where she sat, busily scribbling away in a journal. She'd just bought the thing spur-of-the moment at a small outdoor market on one of the planets she'd landed at for some downtime.

She'd taken it with her as she escaped the busy streets, finding solace in an empty public park. Discovering a nice cove by the water, she sat and jotted down her thoughts, musing on how long it'd been since she'd written anything by hand.


I'm on Roushzar, planet 8. I don't remember the name of the town, something that begins with an E, I think. It's quaint, quiet. Real. I spent the whole morning browsing an outdoor market. People watching. Chatting. It's strange to walk among them, knowing that I will outlive them. There was a boy, he was about seven or eight, big brown eyes. He just stared at me with his youthful innocense, shyly smiling. And all I could think about was his future. He will grow up soon and live an ordinary life. Marry. Have children. Die.

And I will never change.

I don't think it ever really hit me, until that precise moment. Immortality. A gift or curse? There are a million arguements out there about it, surely. Some who wander the stars deem themselves demi gods, and I suppose it is so. We are not God, but god like. We have evolved from an ordinary existence into this supernatural state of being, where anything is possible.

But is that the truth? Have we escaped death, truely? Am I the Shalee of my first death? Did my original soul bond with this clone, or am I just someone who harbors the memories of another? Has she gone to God and I have taken her place?

I don't think I've ever really questioned before because it doesn't really matter, not in the grand scheme of things. New soul, old soul, when I die I will wake up in some Amarrian cloning facility and thrust back out onto the battlefield. Everything else is trivial.

Or is it?

I should stop thinking so much.

I have been out of my old corporation for ten days though it feels like an eternity. I miss it, I miss the people more than anything. I feel like I have let so many people down. I guess it did seem random to them, I've received so many communications asking why. Why did you leave us? Will you come back?

I cannot tell them the truth, of course. I cannot confide my darkest sins to those who have meant so much to me.

And so for now I must keep my distance, for I will not tarnish the reputation of the Praetorians with what I have done. Blood is on my hands and I have sinned... and I cannot, cannot let PIE be involved. Let the public believe I have been inquisitioned, sent away. It is far better this way then bring shame upon those who are so very very dear to me.

However, one good thing has become of my leaving. Had I never left, I would have never found myself at The Last Gate one evening, involved in conversation with a Gallente. A war target. It would have been unthinkable before, but now I find myself with so much freedom...I couldn't resist going there. At first I didn't realize what he was, he said hello and well, I engaged him in conversation, then found out he was a goddamned enemy.

To my credit I did walk away, but we did meet again. Randomly. And he asked to speak to me privately and I took him to a Cathedral that is very dear to me to talk (the one I took Davlos to. More on *that* later.)We spoke at length, and then met again another day where I posed a proposition to him. That he lay down his fight and leave the minmatar militia to join me on the battlefield.

"I have a proposition for you. Look. I know you look at the Amarrian Empire and you see nothing but slavery. You see a system that took your fiance from you, and you want to place the blame of what happened in that one moment on the whole of the Empire. But you're wrong to do that. I will not carry that sin, that horrible sin. I know that you're still hurting and I don't blame you, I would too. But...you can't judge the whole for the actions of a few. Theres more to this Empire. Our glorious Empress has already released so many slaves and is working to free them all I believe. It is God's will, because she is an instument of God. Therefore...what I propose is this. You leave your militia and join ours, pray with me, try to find God, and I will do my best to help fulfill the wishes of the Empress..I will become an abolitionist. To work in secret to free those who are not yet free."

And so that is how I have become an abolitionist. It makes sense, I have never been a champion of the system and abhor slavery. Always have. My Father was a slave breeder, he made his fortune on the misery of those he could sell. How I hated it then, and since I have left the family, I had all but turned a blind eye to the injustice of it. But not any longer. I cannot stand by and do nothing.

His name is Feinlyn, he is a Gallente, and I believe that we have changed each other's lives in the space of a few short days. He has given me a new direction, a new passion, something to make my existance meaningful. In return I've given him hope. Something to believe in, the idea that something greater than ourselves and our simple misery is out there and worth trying to understand, worth fighting for.

So, back to Davlos. I cannot help but see the parallels between Feinlyn and Davlos. Both men were searching for something, hurt by something, and I was compassionately drawn to them for some inexplainable reason. Something inside of me responded to their hopelessness and despair. How could I not try everything in my power to help them? To help them find some kind of solace and comfort?

I just hope it is enough. Davlos grows frustrated with me though he hides it. He wants more. He thinks I should not wait for Raphael, but instead be with him. It is so simple to him.

It's all very frustrating. Waiting for Raphael. This endless war. Facing my past. Waiting for my future.