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:
"Koronakesh...how are you?"
"Tell me...have you any word from Invelious?"
"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?"
"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?"
"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."
"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?"