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