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...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Entry Seventy Four: Revelations

Eight days ago..

"For fucks sake Vlad don't..." Before she could even finish her sentence he yelled, "I'm down."

Fuck.

"I told you it was a trap! Goddamn it why did you warp away! Why!"

"Shalee...I'm sorry." She killed the comm connection with him, too annoyed to even speak.

Minutes later Zenton Karvash initiated comms with her. "Well, Vlad's ship was destroyed... but not for the reasons of why I was supposed to kill him. He attempted to kill a freighter that was working for Proper Villains, so... retribution had to be taken."

"Yes... of course," she replied with sarcasm. Could she trust him? It was too ironic that he had orders to kill Vlad in Arzad, and that is precisely what happened.

"If you... want too I could escort you to Avair and you could see for yourself what the Hand is trying to acomplish... I understand if you don't want too..."

"What would I find in Avair that I haven't found already?"

"I think you know."

"Invelious? You want to take me to Invelious? After everything he has put me through?"

"You've been looking for him, I figure you might want to hear what he has to say about why he's done this."

"Yeah. Fine. Take me to him."

"I hope you don't look down on me too much for this, I'm sorry for hiding my affiliation with them from you."

"It's just...all of these secrets. It's like finding out you're someone entirely different than I thought you were."

"I'm myself, I joined the hand when I was leaving DIA, it was an honor to be accepted amongst the elite few loyalists that are allowed in. I didn't know they had a darker side to them when I joined, if I did I might have choosen not to accept... and I certainly wouldn't have mentioned your name."

She hesitated for a moment. A part of her wanted to tell them all to fuck off, but another side of her had to know what all of this was about. Why all the secrecy, why the cloak and dagger games. And what exactly had Zenton gotten himself into. "When do we leave?"

"Whenever your ready."

***

Hours later, she entered into the inner sanctum of a small Amarrian church deep with an Avarian forest. She and Zenton had been lead to the center of the marbled chamber where she was summoned forward by a white robbed individual wearing a mask.

She neared him and hesitated, her gaze wide, her expression guarded. She did not trust anyone in the room save Zenton, and even that trust was wearing thin.

Suddenly the man motioned to Zenton, "Why is this fair creature here today Hand Karvash, is she chosen for the trials?"

Zenton nodded his head, "Yes."

"I'm not chosen for anything. I'm not doing anything. I only want answers. I want to speak to Invelious, to make certain he is alright."

"Answers," he chuckled, "I suppose this is natural. State your questions, for no answer can be given without a question first."

"I want to know everything. I want to know why? Why was I lead on a wild goosechase? To search for a man who was NOT kidnapped? I want to know what this organization is about and why I was brought here."

"What man do you speak of?"

"Invelious."

"He was kidnapped, and tortured, beaten, and can be presumed dead at this point my dear."

She turned to look at Zenton, her expression an accusation, "What the fuck is going on here?"

"The forces of God work in mysterious ways, Zenton here can concur with that."

"Someone is lying, and someone needs to start telling me the truth. Now."

The masked man motioned to the wall behind her as a light suddenly illuminated a painting. A young female warrior in battle, holding a flag, soldiers rallied around her, angels keeping vigil overhead.

Shalee looked over her shoulder, giving an impatient glance to the painting. She noticed that it was done in the style of the one at Invelious's house, but that didn't mean anything to her. She turned to face Zenton, "I want answers. Tell me the truth, is he really dead?"

"I have told no lies." Zenton said.

Frustrated, she questioned the masked man again, "What do you want from me?"

"The truth can be the more destructive than a lie. You were a blood raider correct?" His tone was soft, deceptive.

Anger flushed her face as she looked to Zenton again, feeling betrayed. "That is none of your business."

"He told me nothing."

"Then how do you know?" she demanded.

"You live in a universe of billions, trillions, of people my child. That's a set of eyes for each person, and ears, your every move can be tracked."

"Why. Why me?"

"Besides my dear, God is everywhere...you, God...." He suddenly yelled, "God wills it!" His tone softened again, "You have served God in all pasts, you have bled, teared, died, you are a forever servant of God, once lost...but now found."

She jumped nervously as he yelled, feeling uneasy. Her gaze locked with his, staring at him, saying nothing.

A tear of blood ran from the pure white mask. "Your blood burns with so much passion, hate, and love. All this is a projection of your faith, your strength in our lord, and his strength that runs through you. But..." He started to whisper, "You are misguided." He leaned closer to her, his masked face an inch from hers.

She lifted her chin stubbornly, her gaze intent upon him, not pulling away despite her uneasiness. Fear rushed through her though stubborn pride kept her still. She would not retreat.

"Zenton, why are you a Emperor's Hand."

"To serve my Empire."

"Who's Empire brother?"

"I serve the Amarr Empire, through which I serve God."

He whispered to her, "Who do you serve Shalee Lianne?"

"I serve the Empire, I serve God."

"Oh? You do, do you?" He pulled away from her, "I know what God Zenton serves, but is it the same? Is Amarr's God the same? I think the god you are thinking of is not the right one my dear...you wanted answers correct?"

"I wanted to find out about Invelious..."

"The Slayer of the Dragon."

"What?" she asked, not following.

He ignored her question and turned to Zenton. "You may leave if you wish brother. She is safe."

Zenton glanced between the two, "I've no where to be."

His masksed face focused on Shalee once more. "He is the Slayer of the Dragon, Shalee, Saint George."

"I thought you said he was dead."

"He's been dead for...well.. since before the Eve Gate."

"...what? You're making no sense."

"I'm making perfect sense my child. Tell me, since you seek to find out about Invelious, what do you already know about him? I am of course, assuming you were already investigating him and his disappearance, otherwise you would not be standing here."

"I know very little. I know that he was the CEO of DIA. I know that he went missing recently, that he was kidnapped. That he is a collector of artifacts. That he has a house on Avair."

"Zenton, other than today, was she aware of the Emperor's Hands? I only ask because of your close relationship with her."

"No."

"I still have no answers," she said with a hint of frustration.

"Shalee. You now stand in a cross roads. One path will lead you to a self destructive life, inevtiable back into the hands of the twisted blood raiders, or possibly worse. And the other will lead you to the truth." He spread his hands, "I will say, the second option is not a easy path."

"Who are you to decide my future?"

"I am deciding nothing, I simply know the variables. It is you who is making the descision."

"What is all of this about? I'm tired of the games and the masks and the run around."

Zenton interjected, "No one can forsee the outcome of events that have not happened. You cannot know if she would fall."

"It is the most likely variable, as every child finds its old home, you are proof of that Zenton. But with you I know God is truly in your heart. With her I don't know that yet."

"Why do I have to prove anything to you?" She looked to Zenton, tired of it all. "I want to leave.

"Have you killed your brother yet Shalee."

She instantly paled. "How do you know..."

"Give me three days Shalee. Three days to free you." Invelious slid the mask from his face, looking at her intently, "Please."

"Inevelious...I should hate you for what you've done."

"I...needed to disappear off grid for a bit, leave my enemies wondering, hoping I was dead. Also, needed to clean out what was left of DIA, its initial phase was complete. ..support the war and find the Emperor's Hands."

"But why did you have to involve me? What have I done to you?"

"I needed to confirm who I truly think you are. The investigation was required in order to bring you here. Telling you any other way could have compromised my plans, spies are everywhere."

"Who do you think I am...?"

He sighed, "Operation Rebirth. This will only confuse the matter. Look. My DNA, as does Zenton's, or at least as far as we can tell predates the Eve gate."

"But how do you know that?"

"Before the Eve Gate, an experiment took place, in a sense, blasphemous to the religous community, and as always, science is the enemy of faith. The experiment, Operation Rebirth, was to take DNA of long past saints and clone them...."

"Clone them...? I-I don't understand."

"Science, at that time, was bent on disproving God's existence, what better way then to bring back one of his purest children, especially those held in the highest esteem of that time. The objective was to prove that under the scientific principles, they could condition them to not only reject the idea of God, but also prove that even those said to have the strongest connection to God, by the church, have no connection, thus proving that the existence of such a being is not possible. A little crazy, yes...but it seemed to work."

She stood there motionless, as if she was trying to wrap her mind around the idea of it all. "It seems impossible."

He shook his head, "I told you. At this moment, its too confusing to even explain. Shalee. You have displayed all the characteristics of what is required of a Emperor's Hand. You don't nescessarily need to know where your potential comes from, only know what is required of you in the present."

"You realize at this moment I know nothing of the Hand other than what little you have told me, and what your actions have displayed."

"We do what is needed, at any cost, to execute God's will, acting through the Emperor, and the Amarr Empire. It is a title bestowed to those who have proven themselves truly worthy, there is a saint, and then there is a Emperor's Hand. The difference is..you have to be dead to be a saint. We believe you belong here, among our ranks. But you need to believe it also. The tests will help you realize this."

"No. I want no part of this."

He seemed lost in thought.

"I can't spare three days away from the war. I'm pushing it to be here now. I wanted to make certain you were okay. Now that I have, thats all I need to know."

"The war is over."

"The war is not over by any means."

"Amarr will not win, a true darkness will be descending over Amarr soon."

"I don't recall Invelious ever being a defeatist. The war will be waged until the bitter end." Zenton said.

Invelious turned to Zenton, "The war wil be waged until the bitter end. Indeed it will be? What is that end Zenton?"

"And I will be there on the battlefield til the bitter end." She looked at both men stubbornly.

"Again. What is that end? How will it end?"

"Until there is no one willing to fight it will not end."

"This war will end, the fight will continue, it is that second war that we need to prepare for. This is why we need you Shalee, we will need leaders."

"I see. And why do you need three days to decide if I am worthy? Could you not have figured that out in the last month I've been chasing after you?"

"I spent that time learning as much about you as possible to confirm my belief."

She rolled her eyes, "So you've learned that I'm some clone of some ...some old saint from thousands of years ago? It's impossible."

"Opening a portal in empty space and jumping into it with a ship and reappearing light years away also seemed impossible at some point in time. I learned that you truly qualify to be a Hand."

"I am not staying, no. I need to go. I have obligations, I have people depending on me."

Invelious looked to Zenton, "Please escort her to where ever she needs to go." His gaze slid to Shalee one final time, "Vlad is an enemy, through and through. Avoid him at all costs please. And... I'm sorry Shalee for the misleading, but it was required to protect my motives from my enemies."

"What are you saying?" She already knew but wanted to hear him confess it, "That you had something to do with Vlad being shot earlier?"

He hesitated, as if trying to find the right words. "Yes, Shalee, I set it up so Vlad would get butchered like the piece of fucking shit that he is. AAA and him especially, will burn. He is a threat to our Empire, along with his AAA masters."

"He has saved my life. I owe him."

"How far are you willing to go to repay that debt? He saved your life, and in turn has taken so many faithful Amarrians. Irregardless of him saving your life, he is a enemy, you know this."

"I... know he is the enemy."

"Then there logically is no need to repay him for saving your life. Consider his reasoning for doing so, a selfish one, to be used against the empire."

"Please don't tell me what to think. I've had enough of it." She neared Zenton, "Take me out of here, I'm ready to go." She looked over her shoulder at Invelious just before stepping out the door, "And you. You stay away from me. I've had just about all I can handle of this. While you're off chasing ghosts and conspiracy theories, I am out there fighting the war on the warfront. Until you can find it in your oh-so-busy schedule of shadow games and whatever else nonsense that is going on here in your secret little parties to join me out there, then no. Don't bother me with this again. I've got a real war to fight."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Entry Seventy Three: Emperor's Hand

Static drowned out most of the transmission. She could faintly make out the plea of the Curator, someone who she had contacted in regards to finding Invelious.

"My time is brief...I hope this message reaches you. Bring an escort to Arzad. Safe spot up at 4:38, ..await further instructions." She gave a sigh of relief, replaying the message again. Did this mean Invelious was alive? That the Curator had information to lead her to him?

***

Moments later her screen flashed with Zenton's picture, showing him in his quarters in Ashged. "We need to talk."

She glanced up at the screen. "Hi..." Her expression grew worried from his tone. "Yeah okay. What's up?"

"Not on here meet me in Asghed."

"Alright. Be there soon." She killed the connection and set course for Asghed. Half an hour later she stepped into his quarters.

"What's wrong? Why the urgency to come here?"

He stood and walked to her, "I'm sorry to have bothered you in such a manor. But I must talk to you."

"It's fine. Zenton what's wrong? You're making me nervous."

He took a deep breath, "Vlad Cetes a friend of yours yes?"

"Yes...why?" Since when did he care who her other friends were, he was a pirate after all. How could he judge anyone else?

"I've been ordered to kill him. Tomorrow in Arzad...while you are supposed to be meeting a curator."

"What? You've been ordered to kill Vlad? When? Why? By who?"

"I've probably told you far to much by mentioning what I have..." He drummed his fingers across the desk "I was supposed to kill him and make it look as if you set it up."

"But Zenton..." She paled. "You need to tell me what is going on. Please."

"When I was accepted as a member of the Emperor's Hand I put fourth your name as a possible candidate."

"Emperor's Hand?"

"The Emperor's Hand is a secret organization of loyal Amarrians. Who are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure the continuation of the Empire."

She lifted her brows. "What? Seriously? And you're a part of of it?"

"Yes I am."

"You are loyal to Amarr? Still?"

"My pirate status is but a cover."

"I see. I had no idea...why haven't you told me before?"

"It was a secret... I took the vows when I was serving under Invelious. That is what this whole thing is about... I'm to kill Vlad to prevent him from influencing you."

"Invelious." She shivered. "Influencing me? I don't understand."

"He is an enemy of the empire."

"So they want to kill him? Just for talking to me?"

"It's the prelude more to judge your reaction. Would you choose your friend, or the Empire?"

"I-I don't even understand. How do they even know about my connection to him?" Fear pitted in her stomach. She was being watched? Just how much could they know? Were all of her secrets known to this organization?

"I don't exactly know how myself, I just know what I was told...I was given my orders."

"They want to set me up? For murder? What have I done to deserve this..."

"It's a test in their eyes. To judge your loyalty."

"I have NO loyalty to those who wish to frame me for murder." She locked her gaze on Zenton, suddenly seeing him in a new light. Who was he? How could he be a part of something so devious?

He frowned lightly, "I see. He shouldn't be punished for his crimes I assume...?"

"Vlad? I'm not his judge and jury, Zenton. The man has saved my life, I owe him."

He chuckled, "Perhaps I should thank him."

"I'm sorry Zenton, but I can't be a part of the murder of Vlad...he has done nothing to me at all, and he has saved me, so I...I can't be a part of this. And I don't see how you can be a part of this either."

"The man did try to kill me." He swayed his hand dismissively, "But... that aside, I didn't bring you here to ask for your help in killing him."

"Then why did you bring me here?"

"I wanted to apologize for mentioning your name, I didn't know Invelious's organization would resort to this."

"Oh. I see. They were watching me because you told them about me... The organization belongs to Invelious? Do you know where he is?"

" ... I can't say."

She gasped, "You know where he is, don't you...have you been in contact with him?"

"He was the one that gave me the order."

She cupped her hand to her mouth, feeling sick to her stomach. "Are you serious? He is alive and okay? And all of this time I've been searching for him? He's playing a god-damned game with me!"

"I didn't know anything until just a few hours ago... I believed as you did he was... missing."

"So what did he say exactly? Will you tell me everything?"

"Aside from telling me the conversation had never happened, I was told that I was supposed to be the one who escorted you to Avair, instead it was Vlad. Then I was ordered to kill Vlad as you searched for the curator. If you accepted his fate... I was to take you to Avair, to the Hand's Chamber."

"And what is supposed to happen tomorrow? I received a comm-call, a transmission telling me to be in Arzad tomorrow. With an escort."

"It is assumed you will ask Vlad to be your escort. If you asked me I was to be busy. There is no curator in Arzad."

"But...who is going to be there when I arrive?"

"No one as far as I know."

"When were you supposed to kill Vlad?"

"When you arrive at the spot of the Curator."

"So what happens now?"

He sighed, "I don't know... they kill me for telling you this?"

She started to panic. "Zenton. Oh god. I don't know what to do? I don't want you to get hurt either."

"Oh I was just being dramatic, I doubt Invelious would send agents after me." He hesitated, "I hope anyway."

"What are you going to do? Are you going to kill Vlad?" she asked.

"No... I won't betray you like that."

"Why not?" She started to pace the room, "How powerful is this organization anyhow?"

"I don't know."

"Are you unafraid?"

"I would be lying... there are few people more determined than this group...so yes, I'm worried."

"So if you don't do as they say, then they are going to hunt you too?"

"I don't know what will happen... but I won't be attacking anyone in Arzad tomorrow. And I'll keep them away from you, I promise."

"No," she said firmly. "I don't want you anymore involved."

"You can't help that. I got you involved, not the other way around."

"Well this is where it ends. You stay away from me, at least til tomorrow. I'll show up in Arzad, I'll deal with it."

"No! I won't have you putting yourself at risk. Not because of me."

"This has nothing to do with you anymore."

"How does it not?"

"Because you wont be there."

"If I don't show up... they will know."

"Then you must think of something else. Anyhow, Vlad and I can capture this curator on our own if you don't intervene. I'll demand he take me to Invelious."

"I don't think there is a curator. I think it's all been a setup from the start to see if you would be a proper member of the Hand."

"And have I failed?"

"I don't know. I'm sorry I mentioned you Shalee, I didn't know it would come down to something like this."

She fell silent for a moment, arms crossed in front of her. "I can't believe that all this time I've been so worried about him, I've been having nightmares about him...and he's been okay? He's been using me this whole time? He has used me and, you Zenton. You are a part of a secret organization? You've been loyal to the Empire this whole time and you've never told me? You let me believe the lies..I have to go." She strode to the door, "And tomorrow, don't be there, don't be in Arzad. I mean it."

"Shalee..."

"Zenton no. I don't even know who to trust anymore."

"I see."

She yanked open the door, "Don't follow me." The door slammed on her way out.

"As you wish..."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Entry Seventy Two: The price of freedom

The lower docks of the Arzad space station were quiet save for the steady footfall of Minmatar slaves heading towards a waiting transport.

Three robed figures hid in the shadows, guns ready, waiting for the 'overseer' to pass by.

Garst Tyrell glanced up from his clipboard to give an occassional yell, ordering his men to work faster.

A slave collapsed from the line, exhausted and malnourished. The guards scooped him up and carried him away, the Minmatar's scream could be heard just before he was flushed out an airlock.

Garst shrugged and turned his attention to the remainder of his cargo. He walked along, doing a last minute inspection before giving the order to load them up the ramp.

Shalee watched him from where she crouched, hidden in the shadows, her hair pulled back and tucked underneath the hood of a heavy cloak, waiting for a moment to catch him alone.

In the dim light, she had no way of knowing who the overseer was Garst, a man she had spent the last few weeks running from. She had went out of her way to avoid him, having done a good job at hiding out on her downtime. She had hopped he would eventually give up on her and head back to null sec. So far the plan had been working, she'd only ran across him once in space by chance.

One of her guards gave a nod, signalling the time to move out.

Nearby, the last of the slaves made it up the ramp. She could hear the orders given to the crew for the hatch to be raised.

Something about the voice nagged at the edge of her subconscious. A recognition. But at the moment she was too focused on her part of the plan to let her thoughts drift from getting the job done.

Her orders were to hold the overseer, a name given to whomever were purchasing the slaves, make sure he was subdued while the transport was hijacked.

They moved swiftly and with precision. Three guns took aim as they circled in around Garst.

"Move and die," she said as she took the rear position.

He dropped his shoulders impatiently, clipboard falling to his side. "If you want money, you're barking up the wrong tree. I dont carry any on me."

"We don't want your money. Keep your hands up."

In the background gunfire suddenly errupted as some of Garst's crew were being taken out- the ones who tried to intervene. The ramp lowered and the slaves were lead off of it again.

Reluctantly he raised his hands and placed them above his head in the universal sign of 'surrender'. He turned slowly to smile at them coyly, shrugging his shoulders as if to say "you got me". He winked in her direction "And who might you be sweety?"

She finally recognized the voice. Sweat trickled down the back of her neck as she took a step away from him, cursing under her breath. He hadn't recognized her at least. She gave a silent prayer.

Another guard spoke, "Shut the fuck up you filthy slave bastard. You will not talk to her." He cocked the gun.

A rush of people flooded the dock at once. Gunfire filled the air, screams errupted. The freedom fighters took control of the situation as best they could, trying to usher them down another corridor to another dock where they would be loaded up and taken to safety.

The moments trickled away. She was tense, her body rigid from not moving a muscle, keeping the gun aimed at him, knowing that if he had any inkling of who she was, he would kill her.

"Thats my time and money you're fucking with sweety. How do you want to die, slow and painful, or slow and messy?" He goaded, frowning with anger.

She pretended to ignore him as she listened to a guard give her the all set over comms. The slaves were now loaded up onto another ship and was undocking.

Now all they had to do was get the hell out of there themselves. She gave a nod to the other two, motioning for them to go ahead and prepare the shuttle.

As the two started to back away, she shifted around, keeping space between Garst and herself.

"Hey where do you think you're going precious?" He stormed after her, yanking her towards, pinning her in a choke hold and placing her directly in the line of fire of her guards.

"Fuck off. We are letting you go. Take advantage of it." She struggled in his grasp.

The two guards keep their guns aimed, but were hesitant. "Let her go."

He pinched a pressure point on her left wrist until she dropped her gun. He warpped his arm around her thigh awkwardly pinning her close, holding his right arm around her neck painfully.

"I want my propety back and I want it now," he whispered coldly.

She shook her head at the two guards, "Impossible. They are gone."

He started to choke her tightly when she finished speaking, making her gasp for breath.

The guards moved in closer, guns still aimed though they didn't have a clear shot.

"You're not really helping your case madam. I spent a lot of time and money aquiring that stock and I don't have the time or patience to start all over."

Shalee gasped for breath as she felt his hands tighten around her throat. Her eyes locked on the guards. "Go." She screamed at them. A direct order. She was their superior and a capsuleer. She knew that if Garst somehow had a chance to kill them, he would. They would die on this dock, the worst case scenario for her is that she'd wake up in a soft clone.

"Go!"

They hesitated for a few seconds then scrambled off into a nearby shuttle.

He relaxed his grip. "Thats better. Now lets talk, you and I. Man to bitch." He threw her forward suddenly. "Turn around and face me, get on your knees where bitches belong. We are going to talk."

She stumbled forward, rolling across the metal grating. She dove for the gun, fingers wrapping around it as she rolled over onto her back, aiming up at him. "Don't come any closer."

"What are you gonna do, shoot me?"

"Don't tempt me."

"You dont have it in you."

"Just back away."

He raised a mocking eyebrow, "Would you like me in you?" A sadistic little grin spread across his mouth, "You need something in you to tame that wild spirit, because you certainly dont have the guts to pull that trigger."

She glared at him as she scrambled to her feet, trembling, gun aimed at him. "You have no idea what I am capable of Mister Tyrell."

"You know my name. You think that gives you any power over me?"

She sideglanced, taking note of what ships were docked up. A few shuttles. "You need to get on that shuttle and leave. Now."

"Not without my property, are you deaf? Or do you think you can get away with murder out in the open, with witnesses around?"

She shrugged, "Maybe you'll resurrect in a soft clone, one from the time of your days in PIE before you became such a cold hearted fuck. I'd be doing New Eden a favor. And anyhow, nobody here will stop me."

He jolted when she mentioned PIE. Recognition slid across his face. "Shalee," he growled her name. "I should have killed you last time. Did you enjoy your time in the city lockup?"

"I was never arrested for your crime."

"I don't even know who I killed nor do I care. What does interest me, other than the theft of my property which well get to shortly I assure you, is what you're doing chasing me off all over New Eden?" He advanced toward her with an exaggerated swagger.

"Stop!"

"Still looking for a real man, eh hotlips?" He stopped and smiled viciously at her.

"I swear to God I will shoot you, stop."

"Don't you DARE use the Lord's name in vain bitch. I may no longer be a card carrying member of the Empire..." he trailed off collecting his thoughts. His voice softened suddenly, "You shouldn't give me even more of a reason to kill you."

She shot at his feet, the bullet richocheted off and pierced a nearby wall.

"You know youre going to die right?" Anger flushed his face. "I'm going to start with your fingernails. I'm going to pull them out one by one while you watch. Those pretty little red fingernails wont be scratching the back of anymore of your man whores any longer."

She inhaled a quick breath as she started walking backwards, making her way to one of the shuttles, keeping her hands wrapped around the gun, aimed at him.

"Then I'm taking your hair. Chopping it off. Not a peice left on your head when I'm done."

"Go to hell."He took a step towards her as he taunted her, "I have to see you again, I must already be there. I will promise you one thing. Its going to hurt. And when you die? I'll find your next clone, and do it all over again."

Fear. Wave after wave of fear rolled through her.

"I might even film it and send it to Zenton. Unless." He spread his hands. "You return my property right now. Right now. So how much do you value your life?"

She fired again as he mentioned Zenton's name. The bullet ripped through the fabric of his pants near his calf, milimeters from his skin. "STAY AWAY!"

"You're wasting ammo along with my time. I'm not going to ask again. My property or you life. You have five seconds to decide how long you want the rest of your life to be, and how painful."

She shook her head, "No. You will not have those people, but I will send you the isk you spent on them."

"Not good enough. We both know this system is days away from occupation and when that happens the slave trade is going to go underground. I don't have ISK to spend on black market price bullshitting."

"That's a laugh. You're Garst Tyrell, CEO of No Mercy, you should be rolling in isk. Don't lie to me."

"War isn't cheap. Only lives." He smirked as if he suddenly had an idea,"Maybe we can come to an agreement after all."

"You want those slaves? Fine keep them, theres always more being bred every day. If you want them you will give me that isk and come with me right now." His gaze locked on hers as if willing her to say yes.

"Come with you? Absolutely not. Youll be leaving this station. Alone."

"Not if you want to keep your slaves and your life." He offered his hand and his most charming smile. "How bout a win win?"

"The slaves are long gone, and you seem to forget that I am the one holding the gun."

"It doesn't matter. We both know you wont use it, you may as well just toss it away."

"Apparently it does."

"I'm done with this. Wheres my god damn isk?"

"You'll get it as soon as I am out of here."

"I don't trust you. You'll rip me off."

"You dont trust me?"

"After what you've done?"

"Good. Because you shouldn't. I hate you more than I've ever hated anyone."

"After you tried to kill me last time? You don't know about true hate."

"After you tried to rape me!" She screamed at him.

"Consensual lust isnt rape."

"Fuck you. You don't know anything at all."

"I know enough to see the way you've been eyeing me this entire time. You want me."

"God you're sick." She took another step backwards, her back coming flush with the transport door. She slammed her hand against the open switch and stepped through the threshhold backwards, never taking her eyes off of him. The door slid closed and locked.

"The game continues, silly little butterfly." He picked up his clipboard took out his comm unit, whistling as he strode down the hallway, "Back to work."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Entry Seventy One: ...married?

Corden Rane, fresh out of the Amarr Naval Academy, stepped through the nave of the Amarrian Legio Basilica, inhaling the fresh scented air, making his way out to the garden.

He found her stretched out by the fountain, staring off in the distance. She wore her militia flight uniform, hair in disarray, and just as lovely as he remembered, if not more.

"Shalee..?"

"Yes?" placed her hand at the back of her neck, absently rubbing it while turning to look at Corden, gazing at him without any recognition.

He picked up a nearby stone and flicked his wrist, sending the smooth rock skipping against the water's surface. "It's me. Corden. If you remember."

She furrowed her dark brows as she looked at him. "Hmmm? I'm sorry...? Do I know you?"

Corden looked to her after skipping the rock. Had she truly forgotten him? He surely had not forgotten her. At times, it was the only thing keeping him going in the war. Reaching for another rock, he would hand it to her as if to suggest... "Don't you remember? We skipped rocks together. Corden. Corden Rane. Your legal husband."

Her mouth opened as shock flashed across her face, words dying in the back of her throat. Her eyes went wide, "B-but how did you find me? What are you doing here?"

"I came here to find you. my service is fulfilled to the Navy. Now, I am free."

She stood up suddenly shaking her head. "You don't even know me..."I don't even know who you are! I-I'm can't be your wife, just because our Fathers decided it years ago."

"I am sorry.. I know this must be unreal for you.. but it is for me, as well," he said, hoping she would at least understand where he was coming from.

She stared at him unblinking. "Yes, of course it is unreal. W-we are strangers. Why are you even here anyhow? Do you really think I'm just going to suddenly be a wife to you? I don't even know you...this is madness."

He blinked several times, tearing his eyes from hers. "No, I'm sorry. Of course not. I am sorry." There was a long pause. "My mother and father are dead. You are my.. next of kin," he explained, looking up to her with tenderness.

"Stop saying that. Please, Corden?" She glanced to the exit looking as if she were about to run off. "So. What do you even want from me?"

He stared at her. "I'm sorry. But you are my next of kin." Another awkward silence filled the space between them. "We can annul that if you prefer." How embarassing.

"But of course I want to annul it. I'm not even...you are not...we. I mean." She stuttered, clearly upset. "I had forgotten about it."

"We are not what?" he asked quietly, truly not knowing the meaning of her words. "Is there someone else.. ? I mean.. I suppose I could start the paper work tomorrow morning.." Did she really want to dismiss what their parents established years ago?

She seemed to calm somewhat. "Yes, there is someone else." She said, wincing. "I am engaged, I had thought...well, I thought that you would have already taken care of that ...when I left." Ran away.

He frowned. Ouch. Burned. She had been the one thing he'd been looking forward too. Just one embrace. She was all he had left. But, the young Amarrian had to be realistic. He couldn't possibly expect any feelings from her after all this time. "I see. Well.. I should hope not to be any sort of burden to you," he replied meekly.

She nodded, brushing a strand of hair from her face and tucking it behind her ear. A moment of awkward silence fell between them again. She stared at him, her expression becoming sympathetic. "I'm sorry I didn't mean to freak out on you."

He waved his hand in dismisal. "No, please. I understand your reaction. I may ask your forgiveness for showing up like this, disrupting your life." He cleared his throat. "But as I said.. you are my next of kin."

She nodded, "I see...so your parents have died? I'm sorry to hear that. I remember your Father. He was kind."

"Thank you. Come.. let us walk? We can catch up. And discuss how we should approach this matter." He asked politely, crossing his arms in front of him, his posture as perfect as ever.

"Indeed, they have passed. And your own?"She neared him apprehensively, laying her hand delicately across his sleeve and nodded her head towards a path that led down to a koi pond. "My mother died when I was seven. My father...." she shrugged.

"He is probably dead."

"Probably dead? Yet, you are not sure?" he asked curiously, speaking only from his own experience.. he would kill to have his father's company just once more."Things have changed. After the Empress free'd so many slaves, he defied her order and was arrested for treason. I left the day they took him...and I assume he would be dead by now."

"Indeed they have. I barely recognize anything any longer since my return. It is different. So different. Still though.. do you not remain curious to your father's where abouts? Begging your pardon if I am being nosey."

She paused by the water and stared out absently at it. "No. I hope he is dead."

"I see. Please pardon my instrusive questioning." He didn't really know what to say. She was his wife and yet they hadn't seen each other for years. "And yourself? How.. how are you?"

"Oh...fine. I guess. I've served with the Praetorians for about nine months or so, now I fly with the Knights. In the Amarrian militia. You mentioned the war...will you be joining the militia?"

He nodded while looking to her. "Yes, I will." He paused; he wanted to ask what she thought of it, but she wanted to annul the marriage.. he thought it best to keep the question to himself. "Yes." A pause. "If it would please you."

She tugged on his arm as she started to sit down, pulling him down with her, shifting a bit so that she was facing him, "Actually, yes. It would. I've dedicated my whole life to this war, Corden. It means everything to me."

"Good," he said quietly. "I am happy to hear it. Even if you wish to annul.. our.. marriage, it is still my duty to you to make sure you are happy until the day we separate."

She looked at him curiously, "Surely you don't wish to remain married to me? You don't even really know me?"

"I am an Amarr of my word. And my vow was to you, as long as you remain my wife." The seasoned naval officer reached into his breast coat pocket, removing a holo. It was of them, on their wedding day. He handed it to her, hoping the gesture would be enough to answer the question she posed him about whether or not he still wished to remain married to her.

She took the holo from him and held it lightly between both hands, staring at it for a moment, silent, contemplative. "Do you know what I see when I look at this? A girl who was thrust into a vow with a man she does not know."

He cleared his throat, not knowing quite exactly what to say. "I am sorry.. that you were forced into this." But you were the only thing keeping me going in the war.

She seemed to hesitate, then impulsively asked, "Do you mind if we stay married for a while...say a few weeks or so?"

He responded quickly, perhaps a bit too quickly. "No, of course not. As long as you like.. I hope you won't hesitate in asking me for anything. You are my obligation until we separate."

She furrowed her brows quickly, "Well. I don't mean like a real relationship or anything. Just on paper...technically. Just for a while."

He nodded. "Of course. It will give me a taxing break for some time as well. .. I hope you will alert me should you need anything. Afterall.. well. You know. Ahem."

She trailed her hand across the blades of grass absently, staring out at the water once more. "We are stationed in Arzad, I've taken an apartment there...just for convenience. Where are you staying?"

".. No where. I was only discharged sixteen hours ago. I suppose I should find some hotel.." He glanced down to the grass she toyed.

"Perhaps you could take an apartment in Arzad...or. Well. Since we are 'married'...you can stay with me." She quickly looked to him. "I mean, not in the same room or anything."

"Certainly. Of course not.. guest bedroom, of course. Only if it is not an intrustion. Truly. I don't wish to be a burden."

"No no, it will be fine. But uh...well the thing is. I have a fiance? This is going to come as a suprise to him, I guess. And he has a bad temper."

He bit his tongue. Another man? With his wife? He would try and contain his rage, masking it with a smile. "Your private matters are of no concern to me. All I wish is for a place to rest for a few days."

"I just wanted to warn you. He isn't going to take this very well. So, yeah." She leaned back on her elbows and tilted her head so that the waning sunlight was hot against her face.

"I shall stay in a hotel, then. Please. I want no quarry with you or anyone you favor." He crossed his arms over his chest.

"Absolutely not. You should stay with me....at least until you get situated and we get this sorted out."

"If you insist"

"I do." She said with a hint of irony.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Entry Seventy: Avair


Five weeks had passed since the brutal kidnapping of Invelious, former CEO of Deus Imperiousus Acies.
During the following days after his abduction, Shalee had spent as much of her down time as she could trying to track him down, following the one clue he had left behind. A secret set of files hidden away in his office. It had led her on a wild goose chase with no real answers and only more questions.

From there, she had started to investigate him as much as possible without being obvious, trying to glean any bit of information that would lead her to him.

While visiting Zenton in sleeper space, Shalee had rumbled through Zenton's room when he was out, not particularly looking for anything, just being her usual curious self. Afterall, Zenton had been her first real love and she felt a bit of entitlement in going through his things. And he probably wouldn't mind anyhow if he knew. She rationalized her snooping by thinking if he had anything to hide he wouldn't have asked her to come in the first place.

By chance she found some boxes left over from his time in DIA. He had been one of Invelious's right hand men and was privy to a lot of inside information, things that might aide her investigation. After half an hour of reading over various files, she'd come away with nothing but an address of a house that Invelious kept on Avair. It could be nothing, most likely was unimportant but she had to check it out, just to make certain.

Two days later she had left word with her CEO, Aldrith Shutaq, that she was going away from the warfront for a day or so without leaving a reason why. She'd been pulling double shifts that she felt secure enough to take a night off without it causing too much problems.

Not wanting to pull anyone else off of duty to accompany her, she'd asked Vlad Cetes if he'd take her there. She really didn't know why she felt safe with him, there was really no reason to...except he had saved her life, once.

Within a few hours, he met her in Arzad, her current home station. He disembarked from his transport, bringing with him two security guards dressed in uniform.

"All set?" She eyed the guards curiously, then glanced to Vlad.

"Affirmative. Follow me." He made his way back onto his Manticore class stealth bomber.

She moved along after him, trying to squash the butterflies in her stomach. She was nervous without really understanding why. Once aboard the manticore, she handed over the coordinates "This is our destination."

"Unknown location, where is this?" He asked as he plugged them into his navigation computer.

"Avair. I've found out that Invelious has a house there...I need to investigate it."

"Roger."

She was mostly silent for the first few jumps. Once they neared the Avair system, she finally broke the silence by asking, "Your corporation would consider me an enemy would they not?"

"My corporation has you set at neutral."

"Do they not care that you are with me?"

"Negative."

"Yes but, the whole NBSI policy. And well...I've heard of what is happening in Provi. With CVA and all. Those are our allies...which makes you an enemy of sort."

"We are allowed to associate with neutrals, we are also allowed to shoot them...at our discretion." He smirked.

"Strange when you think about it."

"Your allies are dead, it is best to move on and act in your bests interests."

"Dead..?"

"As an entity they are dead."

She nodded, knowing he was right. "What will happen now? To CVA, I mean." She had been following the situation in Providence as most everyone else loyal to the Empire.

"I do not know, nor especially care."

"Fair enough, I suppose. So what do you care about?"
"I care about -A-, and H A V O C." His corporation and alliance.
"...and what about me?" She asked, unable to truely figure him out. She never understood his interest in her. It wasn't sexual, it wasn't out of any kind of emotion. Other men wanted to claim her as a prize, wanted to dominate her, make her love them. But not Vlad. "Why are you here with me?"

"I see you are one who could be saved."

"Saved from what?"

"Saved from the human remnants."

"Oh. We are back to that again. I don't want to live in an emotionless world, Vlad. I need love."

"Love is not a necesity."

She shrugged, "It is, for me. I don't want to be a drone." She glanced out the window as they neared their destination, regretting bringing it up.

*****

Fifteen minutes or so later, they were approaching a house. She paused, glancing at it from the walkway. A chill of unease snaked down her spine. "Here we are."

He scanned it, seeing nothing amis, "What is significant about this house?"

"It is a private residence of Invelious...not many people know about the place. I was hoping to find something, anything, that will help me find him."

"Find him? What is he needed for? And when did he disappear?"

She neared the house and frowned at no obvious door, just a few crucifixs scattered along the wall in no particular pattern. "A few weeks ago. He and I were talking via holo and I watched as someone kidnapped him."

"Roger. Do you know what location the emitter would be?"

"No." She neared the house and hesitated, not wanting to give up so easily. Absently she trailed her fingertip across one of the crosses, examining it. She winced as something pricked her finger. Blood dripped onto the cross and it triggered some sort of mechnasim that opened a secret door.

"Oh god, that scared me."

"Hold up. Let me secure the room, there may be something secret hidden." He turned to the security guards, "Secure an exterior perimeter, weapons free."

She stood outside, waiting. A few moments later he motioned her in.

"There is a painting, oil, no emissions in either infrared or other electromagnetic spectrum."

She wandered into the room, her brows drawn together. She moved over to the painting and paused before it. "Have you ever seen anything like it?" Her arms folded across her chest as she stood there, staring at it. Something pricked her subconscious, a nagging thought that she should recognize it, that it was familiar somehow.

"Negative. It appears somehow related to this artifact." He pointed towards the spear...however do not touch it."

She turned her gaze to the glass case and stepped over to it. She knelt down to get a better look. "Why?"

"It could somehow be connected to his disappearance, do not touch anything."

She held her hands up suddenly afraid. "This place gives me the chills."

"There is a communication device here." He pulled out a portable communicator, "Use the shipmounted codebreaker to hack this device, get a log of all comms made and received within the past two months."

She moved over to the glass case and knelt down in front of it, her gaze locked on the contents. Vlad followed her over and knelt on the opposite side. Her gaze met his through the glass.

"It appears 3000 years old and ceremonial in nature. The handguard is smooth, too smooth to be a real combat implement. Look at the handguard." He motioned towards a part of the weapon. "I do not have knowledge of what ceremonies this would be used for, perhaps a war ceremony?"
"What would Invelious be doing with it?"

"Perhaps he would be involved with such ceremonies. Or it may have historical value I am unaware of. Or it may be an interesting weapon." He gave a small shrug, "I do not know."

"Neither do I. Did you find anything on his comm device?"

"A comm made to an Amarrian called "curator" in its listing. We would need to track this human down and find out what he knows. I would assume it is something to do with this spear."

She opened her mouth as recognition spread across her face. "I've heard of that name before! Koronakesh told me of him."

"What did Koronakesh mention?"

"That he can decipher some files I got from Invelious's office. It's in some old ancient language."

"Roger. We will need to contact this curator. I would advise an armed escort, but not an overly large show of force... he could be "invited" to a secure location and made to decipher the files."

Shalee gave him a look through the glass, her mouth opened to protest....and then she quickly closed it. She was getting desperate enough to try anything, "Yeah, okay.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Entry Sixty Nine: The loyalties of a pirate

A scream caught in the back of her throat as she jolted up in bed. Her heart was thundering, breath ragged. Her eyes went wide as she searched the darkness, trying to calm herself, realizing it had only been a dream.

A nightmare.

She pulled her legs to the side of the bed and dropped her feet to the floor. An artificial breeze from the apartment's cooling system blew against her, chilling her damp skin. Her nightgown clung to her as she stood up. Goosebumps spread across her bare arms and the back of her neck felt as if some invisible hand were brushing against it. She shivered, feeling strange.

The nightmare hovered on the edges of her mind despite her best effort of trying not to think of it.

As she picked up a robe and slid it on, she forced her attention to the scene beyond the glass walls. Endless space. A thousand lights flickering, both near and far, from stars scattered across the inky blackness and spacecrafts closer to the space station as they came in and out of docking range.

She sat down on a bench in front of the glass wall and pulled her knees up to her chest, watching the station traffic, finding it oddly comforting.

Finally she managed to calm herself enough to think about the dream rationally without falling to pieces over it.

It felt incredibly real, not as if it were some pieced together montage of images floating around in her subconscious when she was asleep but something more. Real. Factual. As if it happened, as if she were reliving some real event in her life.

But that was impossible.

For one, the dream must have taken place a hundred years ago or more. She couldn't be certain of anything save for one thing.

She wasn't dreaming. She was remembering.

"It has to be real," she whispered to the empty room.

Standing, she made her way over to a small holo terminal and sat down to do a search on the Intaki religion via the GalNet.

She was vaguely familiar with their ideas of past lives and reincarnation. Until now, she never really believed in any of it, though until now, she never had a reason to.

Vivid blue gaze locked on the screen, reading the first article she had come across.

One core tenet is that all things are in a cycle. Death leads to rebirth. A solution only leads to more problems. We know that the "soul" or "spirit" is eternal and will be reborn many times to learn new lessons, and once it fuly understands the cycle it may finally move on. The Reborn are an important part of this. These were people who had reached a level of understanding that they may choose to be liberated, but choose to remain and teach others. In earlier times there were many tests and rituals to ensure that a soul had indeed been reborn, and through mental discipline and training these Reborn were able to continue their life work over many lifetimes. These rare people were given the title of Idama.

In modern times, with the assistance of technology, the rebirth process has been made more certain. In fact many of the techniques and experiences of the Reborn have assisted the development and perfection of psyche restoration and cloning. But even today the status of Idama is still reserved for those who have been reborn without assistance.

She rubbed her hands across her face as she sat back in her chair, thinking, trying to make sense of it. What triggered these nightmares in the first place? Was it something in her day to day life that brought them about...or was it someone. Mentally backtracking, she tried to remember the people she had come in contact with during the time she had an episode. Could it be that simple? Could a person trigger this?

And if she were right, if she were some incarnation of someone else, some reborn soul...then was it possible that others were as well? People she knew, were they part of some bigger picture that they just weren't aware of?

It was mind numbing to think of it. To consider the possability that she had lived before...but then again, why was that so improbable? In an age of cloning, what made the idea of being Reborn so unrealistic?

Her Amarrian ideals instantly went to war with the notion of the gallente's religion being true and real.

But if they weren't, then how could she explain remembering a life that wasn't her own?

Bits and pieces of some poor girl's final days during The Reclaiming had been plaguing her for months now. When had it started? She couldn't remember, though definately after she joined PIE.

Did she have some kind of unfinished business with someone in PIE, or someone connected to the corporation?

The screen faded to black as she killed the connection and stood up. "This is absurd."

She started to pace, wishing she had a cigarette to calm her.

Her gaze drifted to the twinkling lights beyond the glass once more.

All of those pod pilots had lived countless lives with the help of cloning. She had 'died' several times herself since coming out of the Naval Academy.

So why not?

Why not.

She nodded her head as if accepting it as fact. She had lived before. Fine. Okay. No big deal. Or was it?

Wearily her hands slid through her hair again. "So what am I supposed to do now? What am I supposed to remember?"

She made her way back to the holo terminal and sat, this time bringing up an empty file and started to fill it with names.

In no particular order she began listing those people she had regular contact within the last year, then tried to make a loose time line of when she'd dreamed the most.

A pattern started to emerge.

She sat back and stared at the screen, her brows drawn together as realization settled in. Some long ago event was still haunting her and people she knew now somehow were connected to it.

***

Two hours later she was in the kitchen unpacking. Though it was the middle of the night, she was unable to sleep and needed to keep busy, to keep her thoughts off of everything she had read.

After spending the better part of an hour reading about the Reborn, her search took her in all kinds of directions. Theories about souls and spirits, hauntings and alternate realities.

Once that door was open, once she let in the possability that there may be more to life than what she knew, it had overwhelmed her. She tried not to think about any of it, and instead distract herself with unpacking and recording a journal entry.

She poured herself a drink and hopped up onto the kitchen island, staring off at nothing while she activated the camera drone.

"A few days after we officially opened the corporation, I met up with Zenton at the Last Gate. I had invited him there to ask about Invelious, if he knew where he was, had any contact with him, or could tell me anything at all about his disappearance. I had only meant to ask about Invel but we started talking about other things. Nothing in particular but....it seemed there was just..." She trailed a hand through her hair, "It was like old times, almost. It's easy, being with him. Talking with him."

"The next day he dropped by my office in Arzad out of the blue. He showed interest in the corp, said he wanted to join. He said he regretted all the things he's done, that he wanted to fight for the Empire."

She gave a small shrug, "I thought he was sincere, I thought he meant what he said...but no. Several days later he was back with his old gang. Xaerik. Always Xaerik. He cancelled his application with the Knights and joined Xaerik's pirate corporation. Again."

"A part of me wanted to hate him for it, for getting my hopes up...for thinking that things could be different. But I somehow knew even as he sat in my office telling me he wanted to come back to the Empire that it wouldn't happen. And I was right."

"But...I don't have it in me to hate what he does and I cannot be angry for him choosing something different. A few days later when I was out on patrols with Aldrith and Lucien, Zenton commed and asked me to meet him. He took me into a wormhole that his new corporation had staked out. They had set up a POS, he showed me around."

"...and then he asked me to join him."

"Zenton has always maintained that I belonged with PIE, with the Empire. And now all of a sudden he wants me to leave it all behind? To betray my beloved Empire to join him and his friends in piracy?"

"I had a thousand questions but couldn't seem to ask any of them. All I could do was beg off and get back to my duties. And all I could think of on the patrol route was why? Why did he suddenly want me to leave, why does he want me there with them. With him. Are they just after another recruit or is this personal with Zenton?"

"In the following days, I noticed that they started showing up in my local. At first I chalked it up to coincidence, but then it became so frequent that I figured it was something more."

"On one particular frustrating night when I was on patrols alone, I encountered a bit of trouble while trying to assist the Navy inside a military complex and there was no one around to help. Not in local, not in the corporation, even the Amarrian intel channels were empty. I took a chance and commed Zenton's corporation to check if they were anywhere nearby. Xaerik responded and within minutes was there, fighting my enemies for me."

"Since that night, they have assisted me numerous times whenever I've needed help. If I were still in PIE I'd no doubt be demoted or even booted out for flying with pirates. But Aldrith doesn't seem to mind how I get things done, as long as I do my duty."

"I've always thought of Xaerik as the enemy of sorts. He was the one who lured Zenton into piracy after he left DIA. I couldn't help but hold a grudge against the man...but now I realize I may have judged him too harshly."

"Even he wants me to join." She picked up her data pad and reread the message Xaerik had sent her.

Dear Ms. Shalee Lianne,
It is with great honour and respect that I extend to you an official invitation to join the Proper Villains aquisition and reclaiment services corporation.
We do not extend these invitations to just anyone but you have shown yourself time and time again to be a friend and loyal ally in battle.
If you decide to join you will have a wide variety of assets and services available to you. For example:
- Fully defended POS in wormhole space where you can partake in the aquisition of equipment and salvage from the demonic 'Sleepers'
- A group of competent combat pilots who will fly anywhere to engage in honourable combat with anyone willing (sometimes those unwilling)
- Pilots who have been selected through a rigorous recruitment process for their loyalty, honor and comaraderie.
-A light-hearted, fun filled and active group of allies to share in the good and bad of space-aquisition.
-A bond of loyalty to one another, something that has been hardened by countless battles side by side.
We eagerly await your application and entry into our exclusive organization.
Captain and CEOXaerik.
PS Join or die. <3


She chuckled to herself at the 'ps' part. She couldn't help but let her thoughts drift for a moment, to wonder what it would be like with them, living a life bound to no rules or Empire, loyalty only to those inside your corporation. Flying with Zenton again. Being with Zenton again...if he wanted her like that. It would be so easy to just give up on the war and Empire and everything she fought for to go be a part of them. To let Zenton take care of her like he had done in the early days of her career. Then she'd never have to worry about Garst again, Zenton would take care of it.

Zenton would take care of everything...if only she'd let him.