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, June 30, 2010

Entry Ninety: Letters

She had been distracted when Aldrith knocked on her door. He tried to engage her in conversation about Eran, VETO, and the direction of the Knighthood but for the life of her, she simply couldn't keep her thoughts focused.

Sensing her distraction, he left with a promise to talk with her later.

As she sat at her dressing table, pulling the brush through her hair, her gaze drifted over to the black metallic box that had been delivered earlier that day.

Inside, a matte black, perfectly machined, custom made .45 calibre pistol with a solid gold grip inlaid with hundreds of perfectly cut sapphires making up her corporation's crest rested on crimson silk.

She opened the box and pulled out the note, reading it again with a little frown. No doubt he'd sent it after their little exchange on the InterGlatic Summit.

Shalee,
For the next time we meet. Take care, darling.
- Ethan

"Arrogant bastard," she muttered under her breath as she folded the note up and returned it to the case.

Pouring herself a drink, she carried it over to the bed and picked up her purse. Hesitating, she looked at her comm and debated on sending him a snarky little response in return.

Minutes passed and she finished off the glass of wine, standing there awkwardly, on the verge of leaving. She had intended to check out some random bar that she'd been invited to, needing a new place to go on her down time since she'd no longer be going to The Last Gate.

"Really, who do you think you are," she said to herself as she poured another drink, all the while mumbling about the infuriating pirate.

"You're probably just sitting there waiting for some thank you note or something," she muttered again as she suddenly sat down on the edge of her bed, one hand holding her wine glass, the other busily sending him a message.

***

I asked for flowers.
- Shalee

Perhaps I'll deliver some in person, sometime.
I do hope you're well darling.
- Ethan

You'd be shot before you ever reached me, sweetie.
- Shalee

Oh, I have a feeling it'll probably be you who comes to see me before then, honey.
You just can't resist, can you?
- Ethan

Do you want to put a wager on that, sweetheart?
You think you are so irresistible? I'm pretty sure if we cross paths again, it will be you seeking me out.
-Shalee

Yet here you are, beautiful.
Still mailing me... and still chasing. It really is flattering.
I do hope that you're still well, and that you liked my gift, sweetheart.
- Ethan

Chasing you? Do you honestly think I am chasing you?
I mean really, what happened to I'm not good enough for you" or whatever nonsense you were sprouting off in the elevator that one night. If anyone is chasing anyone, it would be you who is chasing me, dearest.
- Shalee
ps. Yes I liked the gift, I'm more than happy to have you spend your money on me.

Yet here you are, still mailing me dearest.
It truly is heartwarming. I am of course free, if you'd like to pay a visit and get all this tension out of your system.
I can see that you're quite enthralled, and tense about this whole situation.
Please don't be too angry, honestly... you should just try to breathe a little.
- Ethan

I may be mailing you, but you are mailing me too, dumpling, if you have failed to notice the obvious.
Tension? I'm not tensed at all, and I hardly would say I'm enthralled. And really, angry? Why ever would I be angry? (just because you announce to the whole galaxy that you think I have some sort of crush on you..)
Really, Ethan. Your arrogance never ceases to amaze me. That's probably why you're so god damned big. A normal sized body just wouldn't do would it, need something to contain that arrogance in.
- Shalee

Shalee, cupcake... honestly...
You should see a masseuse darling, perhaps release some of that pent up aggression. I know that a strong attraction can leave one tense, but please... breathe a little.
I'm extremely flattered that you admire my size, that's a wonderful compliment, sweetheart.
I do hope that you find some form of release for your frustrations soon.
- Ethan

And what makes you so certain that I am frustrated, sweetpie.
If I am frustrated I assure it is not for the reasons that must be running through your smug little mind.
- Shalee
ps. You still infuriate me.

Your wording, buttercup.
You sound so tense, so pent up, and so frustrated. I can understand that I infuriate you, after refusing to bend to your demands like a good little boy, and eat from your palm.
When one is attracted so intensely, one loves to have control over the object of their desire. I can appreciate that you're frustrated.
Please don't be too angry, perhaps we can talk it out sometime, and you'll feel better?
- Ethan

'Talk it out' huh, sugarplumb. You're so insistent upon seeing me. Why don't you just say it Ethan. You want to see me.
I assure you that I am not attracted to you nor do I wish to have any control over you. You're ridiculous for even thinking such a thing.
- Shalee

Ah, the next stage of one's obsession, denial.
Honestly, sweetpea, it's heart warming!
I can appreciate how you feel, but honestly, it just couldn't work, unless you really felt you could make that connection and commitment.
I'm sure that you'll come to your senses soon enough, and that insatiable attraction you feel will bring you to me so that we can talk, and I can help you.
I do hope you're alright, and not too pent up and choked by your feelings.
- Ethan

Obsession! If anyone is obsessed it is you who is obsessed with me.
Honestly, honeybunch. I'm not coming to you. Ever. If you want to see me, you'll find me.
- Shalee

Shalee, honestly, pumpkin,
You'll find that eventually you can't resist it any longer. I don't blame you, you'll be alright.
Please don't take it too roughly, you just need to take a deep breath, and perhaps when you're ready to take that step and speak to me face to face again we can solve your problems.
After all, it was you who contacted me again.
Please do stay safe, and try not to worry too much in the meantime.
- Ethan

I already came to you about my problem and you were uncaring and a perfect bastard about the whole thing. You showed me that human life means little to you and that its all about business.
So, really don't flatter yourself into thinking that I'm in the least bit attracted to you. Not one bit. Not one iota. Not if you were the last man in New Eden!
- Shalee

Ah, Shalee.... munchkin...
The ugly face of denial rears its head.
I'll tell you what sweetie, when you calm down and manage to control your emotions, You can come talk to me about your little problem in a civil and rational manner.
I realise that your obsession is clouding your vision, but in time we'll be able to speak again.
- Ethan

I think you like the idea of me being obsessed with you (not that I am). Admit it, babyface.
When you decide to become a reasonable human being, do let me know and we can talk.
-Shalee


Oh Shalee, Dumpling!
You'll find that when you treat me like a reasonable man, which I am, that the responses I give will be to your liking.
I can see that your attraction to me is causing all this pent up aggression, when you feel brave enough to come and talk to me, we can work things out.
It's alright, there's no need to be afraid!
- Ethan

Oh cookie, I've already explained that I am not afraid of you! It is you who is afraid of me apparently, since you're so afraid to leave the safety of your little brothel or whatever it is you're running over there at the Gate.
So whenever you gather up the courage to face me, then I'll be here.
-Shalee

Shalee, pookie!
I have no fear of you at all, other than concern over your insatiable hunger and want for me.
I can understand that you may not want to stop by the Gate, although it's not a brothel I can understand that the sight of me with others may cause you heartache. I can accept that.
I have the courage, but I apologise that you don't have the same!
- Ethan

Ethan, love bug, darling.
If I were truely so insatiably hungry for you, then I would come to you, yes?
And yet, here I sit. La-de-fucking-dah.
- Shalee
ps. What are you wearing?

Only my extremely tight white training shorts of course, while relaxing in my office, sugar.
I do hope that gives you a little fuel for that insatiably hungry mind of yours. Of course, I'm still available for a chat, if you find that the thought of me alone is just too much to take.
Here I sit, too... relaxing inside your mind. It's comfortable here.
I trust you'll also answer me the same question you just posted, intriguing as it is.
- Ethan

Oh, hmmm, Sugar Daddy
Well. Nothing so improper as what you are wearing. Long pale blue silk dress with diamond earrings and a diamond choker to match. Heels, of course. But then again, I'm going out...
- Shalee

Ahhh, sweetcheeks
I hope it does you well, and you manage to ease the burden of having to lust for me constantly. I can appreciate your want, and your need for me.
If you'd like to stop by on your travels I'm sure we can talk business darling.
I do hope you have a wonderful evening. I should imagine you look ravishing!
- Ethan

Sweetkins,
Hmmm. You could see for yourself if you were brave enough. Thought that would require you putting on some pants. Could you manage such a thing?
- Shalee

Honeybunch,
I'm sure in that terribly aroused mind of yours, I'm not wearing pants. My offer is still there if you'd like to grace me with your presence for a chat, and satisfy your need to be close to me.
My schedule is free for some time, I'm sure you can manage it.
- Ethan

Babybear,
Be close to you? And you're not wearing pants? Really, is that your best pick up line? Surely the infamous Verone can do better than that. I almost feel disappointed, really.
- Shalee

Oh, treasure....
Honestly, the suspense must be killing you. I'm so sorry that I make you feel this way. I wish I could help.
As for pickup lines, I have no need for them sweetpea, I get all the satisfaction I need when I see the way that you look at me.
I do hope that you're alright and having a lovely evening.
- Ethan

Oh pudding, How can you say such things, such as, 'see the way I look at you'. When in fact, you are not looking at me at all.
Afraid?
- Shalee
ps. If you're really sitting there like you say, dressed how you say, then you'd send a picture, but I imagine you wont. Who is the afraid one now hmm?

Shalee, butterfly
Why would I do such a thing, when your need to see it in the flesh will spur you on regardless. They are after all, extremely tight.
I can understand that you may not want to fuel your addiction, but honestly... truthfully, sometimes the best things just have to be experienced.
As always, the offer is open for a chat, sweetie.
- Ethan

Ducky,
As hard (is it?) as it is to resist your offer, I assure you that I neither have any desire or want to experience whatever it is you're offering.
- Shalee

Honeycake,
I can assure you, it's extremely hard. I can only imagine just how hard this must be for you. You need to remain resolute, stiff, stood to attention, and not show weakness, I can understand that.
Facing your desire, and coming for a chat would not make you a lesser person, cutie pie.
Feel free to join me for a chat, I'm sure we could work something out that was mutually beneficial.
- Ethan

Dear BabyBoo,
As enticing as that may be, I will have to decline your obvious desire for a 'chat'. Really I'm not that kind of girl. Did you think I would be so easy? Really, dumpling, I'm not the kind of girl you are used to.
-Shalee

Oh, Snookums
I'm well aware of that. I'm sure that you're aware too that I caught onto the thrust of the conversation from the start.
It's quite alright, I'll be around. I was actually interested to hear more about your little problem, before you got all angry and pent up with me the last time we spoke in person.
I'm sure that once you've released a little tension, you'll find the time to come by for a long chat.
It'll be so hard for me to compromise with you, but I'm sure we can come to a firm agreement.
- Ethan

Cuppycake,
As enjoyable as this has been, I must bring to a climax, I am sure you can understand.
And if you're really sincere about my problem, then you will contact me again. You will come here and talk properly.
- Shalee

Nonsense, peach,
I'm sure that once you've had chance to rest from all the excitement, you'll be able to slide right back into the thick of the action and have some long, hard, negotiation with me.
If you search that wanton, and animalistic lust you have for me, darling, you'll realize that beneath the large exterior, I'm quite sincere about your problem.
Show a little commitment, thrust yourself into the situation and come see me sometime.
Take a leap of faith sweetie, and come chat. I'm sure you'll get all the pleasure you need from such hard core negotiations.
Until then, little Amarrian flame, stay safe.
- Ethan

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Entry Eighty Nine: On The Edge

"Well, that was interesting." said Aldrith Shutaq, CEO of the Knighthood of the Merciful Crown, as he tugged his robe off and handed it over to an attendant.

The pair of them had been invited to meet up with Eran Mintor and some of his new corp mates somewhere in Minmatar space at The Haudenosuanee. Shalee had mistakingly assumed Eran was asking her to meet him somewhere private. A romantic date for two. How surprised she'd been when she arrived just behind Aldrith. And to make matters worse, Eran's ex, Sophie Starsparrow was there. Drinking, laughing, and flirting with him. She tolerated the little get together through gritted teeth, not wanting to make a scene for once. She stayed as long as she could tolerate and used Aldrith's leaving as an excuse to leave as well, knowing that Eran probably wanted her to stay longer.

She had said nothing on the interbus ride back to Empire space.

Shalee merely nodded as she pulled her own robe off and nearly slung it at the attendant. She was in a surly mood.

"Have to be careful though," he continued, oblivious to her emotions. "Though I think we made a good impression on the Matari, I did not quite intend on indulging in their traditions so much." They had offered Aldrith an herbal cigarette and ended up getting him high without him realizing what they'd even done.

Unseen to the pair, Math'ra Hiede made his way over to the fireplace and took a seat.

Shalee rolled her her eyes, "Why ever do you care? And what is wrong with you anyhow?"

Aldrith continued, talking as if he hadn't even heard her, "And that thing Sophie gave me was absolutely delicious though... I'm not sure why I became so hungry so suddenly..."

She stared incredulously at him, on the verge of exploding.

He dusted a bit of snow off of his shoulder, still not recognizing Shalee's mood. "Every friend we can make is a valuable one. You of all people should recognize that."

"Friend?" She threw her hands up in the air, completely frustrated, "They are no friend to us. You think for one moment they wouldn't shoot us down if we didn't know Eran? And furthermore, why didn't you stop me? Why. It was your job as my CEO to tell me it was a fucking bad idea to get involved with Eran, but no you encouraged it! He is a Minmatar!" Since Eran wasn't there, Aldrith was going to get the worst of her anger.

Over in the corner, Math'ra Hiede attempted to ignore Shalee's fury, trying to blend in with the shadows as much as possible.

"I mean, for God's sake Aldrith. What were you thinking? And tonight? Sitting there among them, smoking with them! What would Mitara think of that!"

Aldrith Shutaq looked up at her in mid-pat, his expression like that of someone who had just been slapped across the face by a stranger. "What?"

"When I was in PIE, do you think for one moment they would let me talk to someone like Eran? Much less encourage it! He's going to leave anyhow, it was all for nothing. All of it, everything is for nothing. At the end of the day, he's right back where he started from. Flying with Sophie Star-fucking-sparrow. With the god damned Minmatar terrorists. I don't care what you or he says about any of it. They are not our friends. And FURTHERMORE. The nerve of you inviting her here! This is my home!" she started to pace, "You can't trust the Minmatar. You can't trust a goddamned pirate either. You cant trust anyone! And I don't want that little Veto girl hanging around here anymore either. She is a pirate. She doesn't deserve to step foot in this place."

Ninnuma entered the main hall and stopped mid-step, hearing Shalee. As quietly as possible she made her way over to a shadowy corner and slid into a seat.

Aldrith stared at her a moment, one eye narrowing as though he were looking at some bizarre, hostile animal. "You cannot be serious. What has gotten into you?"

She ignored him as she paced, "And the nerve of him. Inviting me there without even telling me he is leaving the corp so soon. Just an invitation to come see him! And SHE was there! The nerve of it! And the way they got you to smoke! They knew you didn't know what that was. They were making a fool of you. AND." She doesn't even take a breath as she paces back and forth, ranting, changing subjects at whim because everything was irritating her, "Verone acting so high and mighty and noble on the god damned IGS. Who does he think he is, acting like some noble saint. When all he cares about is that people live so he can rob them blind."

Aldrith Shutaq continued to stare at her.

Ninnuma cleared her throat "I take the Mintor Situation has resolved itself then."

She stomped her foot like some petulant child, "How dare he take me there in front of her. How dare he." Her head turned at the sound, realizing she wasn't alone with Aldrith and fell eerily silent.

Aldrith looked to the fire, completely confused, then glanced at Ninnuma. "Good evening Ninnuma..."

From the shadowy corner, Vincent Pryce, a member of VETO, removed the black hood off his priests robes and smiled, "Such anger, Cherry Pie."

Aldrith straightened and looked back to Shalee, thankfully not noticing Vincent. "Perhaps we should discuss this in private."

Math'ra Hiede looked mildly surprised as Vince appeared, his hand twitching slightly at the visage.

A gust of cold frosty air followed Eran Mintor into the main hall. He stopped short of everyone and looked to Shalee, forcing a confident smile before noticing Vincent. He frowned suddenly.

"What are you doing here? You shouldn't be here. You should be at the Gate with your ilk." Shalee said with annoyance. Vincent would suffer her wrath that was directed at Verone, simply because he was there and Verone was not.

Aldrith Shutaq stared at Shalee a long moment, something in his eyes breaking as he recalled the voice that had just spoken. His head turned very slowly to its source.

Vincent stood, smiling softly, "As I remember, 'twas you who asked me to visit someday, Cherry Pie."

"You." Aldrith said sharply.

"Hello, Aldrith. Long time no see. Been burning to meet you again." he winked playfully.

Eran scowled at Vincent.

Math'ra Hiede stood very slowly, not giving himself away before moving slightly closer to Aldrith, well within rapid grabbing distance, his stance poised if anyone had been acute enough to notice him.

"Hello, madman." Eran said.

Vincent nodded to Eran, smiling "Valklear General."

She jutted up her chin arrogantly, "That was before, when I was a naive and gullible little fool."

Eran crossed his arms and snarled.

Aldrith turned fully to face him, a dull, hateful fire having been lit in his eyes. He began a slow advance towards Vincent.

"Now lets not get carried away here," Mathra said.

Aldrith completely ignored Math'ra and walked steadily towards Vincent.

Vincent stepped closer to Shalee smiling "Oh... Such spiteful words, Cherry Pie. So much changed in a few days then? I am not welcome here anymore but you will gladly sleep in my bed?"

Math'ra closed the space between himself and Aldrith from behind and clamped a very firm hand against his shoulder, "Don't."

"As long as you are a pirate, no. If you have come here to repent your wicked ways, then maybe we can talk," she said.

Aldrith snapped at the word 'bed' and lunged towards Vincent.

Math'ra grunted and wrenched on Aldrith, attempting to smother him in a bear hug, keeping him from reaching Vincent.

Eran stepped forward, interceding between the two, arms folded, expression guarded.

Aldrith snarled, "Get off of me you idiot!"

"Who says I have not?" Vince said to her as he stepped backwards.

"You're lying," she said to the pirate, just before moving over to Mathra, shoving her hands against his arm, "Let him go!"

Eran whispered to Aldrith, "Let me do the dirty deed...." He slanted his gaze to Vince, "What's your business here?" he asked as he placed himself in front of Aldrith, blocking Vince from everyone else.

"I'll have the guards shoot you!" Aldrith yelled as he tried to wretch his arm away from Math'ra's hold.

"Don't... you don't want this," Mathra said, warning Aldrith.

"I came to see my friend, and seek..."Vincent said as he bit his lip, looking to Shalee . "...redemption."

"Filthy liar!" Aldrith yelled.

"I can only speak for myself, but you are not welcome here by me.....I advise you leave...." Eran warned.

Vince nodded slowly to Eran "As you wish, Valklear General and congratulations on the happy occasion." he turned to walk to the exit.

Shalee threw a sloppy punch to Mathra's jaw, barely hitting him as he pulled his head out of the way, "LET. HIM. GO." she screamed.

"Sociopathic monster... here. How dare he?!" Aldrith stopped struggling as Vincent neared the exit and said through gritted teeth, "How dare he... and how dare you, Math'ra!"

Vincent smiled by the door and winked to Shalee "...See ya later, Cherry Pie." he smiled to Aldrith and tapped the same eye he burned out on his side "Good seeing you, Shutaq. I can see you were burning with delight meeting me again. Have a pleasant evening..." he chuckled on his way, vanishing into the falling snow.

***

Later, she scribbled in her journal as Eran slept.

He came home though a part of me thought he might stay there with her. He looked so happy, so completely in his element that for the first time I realized how truly miserable he has been in the Amarr militia.

He doesn't belong here, and never has. I guess he really does believe those things he says, the things about Shakor and every other excuse he has given to the public for joining the Knighthood. Maybe it was all true and I really was never a factor at all. I just assumed it was for me but now that he has gone, I can't help but wonder why I even thought that. If he came here for me, he would have stayed for me. It's really that simple.

But now he flies with 'her'. Now his time and passion is given to her and their cause and I get what's left over.

And to make matters worse, Vincent was here. I invited him ages ago and only now he shows up. Aldrith would have killed him if Mathra hadn't been there to stop him. I wonder what Eran would have done had there been blows? He is no fan of Vincent, but he didn't seem so keen on doing anything to him other than ordering him to leave.

Everything is wrong. I spend more time flying with a stranger than I do with the man who wants to marry me. I can no longer deny the truth of my 'friends'. I wonder what else Vincent might have insinuated tonight had he not left. No doubt he wanted to leave the impression that something happened in his bed the other night, which of course it did not.

Everything is all wrong and I just have this sinking feeling that it's about to get a lot, lot worse...




Saturday, June 26, 2010

Entry Eighty Eight: Disillusioned

"You don't have to worry about Verone."

"Why do you trust him?" Eran asked. "I thought you hated pirates."

"I do, usually. But he has been protective of me," she tried to reason.

"How?"

"When he saw me with Koronakesh, who is a notorious womanizer, he told Gaven, my old CEO. Granted it didn't really help my career any but he did it to protect me. And when he thought Seriphyn was hanging all over me, he intervened again."

"What about if you were to see him in space. Would he protect you then? Or would he kill you and your crew?"

Shalee bit her bottom lip and looked sheepish. "Yeah. Okay. Point taken." Though in the back of her mind she thought no, Verone wouldn't pirate her. Surely not...

Eran shrugged, "I don't know, maybe he wouldn't. I know where my bet would be though. And I'm sure he'd say it was nothing personal, all business." He added with a knowing smile, "...if he did blow you up, that is."

She frowned, not wanting to believe the worst of Verone.

"But whatever," he sipped his wine with the hint of a smirk, "You do what makes you happy. I wont make you stop being friends with Verone....you know how I feel. You make your choices and I will give you my thoughts."

***

She sat on the floor by the fireplace in the library, furiously scribbling in her diary. The room was quiet save for the burning wood and the occasional gust of wind against the window panes.

I can't believe how utterly stupid I've been. All along people have tried to warn me but I never listened. Even way back when, during the early days of PIE, my superiors tried to warn me of certain types of people. Aldrith has spoken out against them, even Raphael tried to reason with me. But I never really listened. I always assumed it was a control factor, but now I've come to realize it was for my own good.

And like any 'rebellious child' I turned my nose up at their rules and authority and did as I pleased, especially since leaving PIE. Being in the Knighthood with no one to answer to but myself, I've done whatever, whenever.

So if I wanted to fly out to the Last Gate and have a drink with my 'friends', then why not?

But why ever did I think they were my friends to begin with? Why?

Verone has made everything perfectly clear that he holds ISK above everything else. That his greed comes before human life. That the death of innocents mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. The only things that matter to him are money and his mindless little followers.

I don't know whats more pathetic, the fact that he is a greedy ISK whoring bastard or the fact that I ever thought he was anything better than that.



***
Shalee knocked on the door after being escorted up to his office by one of the security guys.

Ethan Verone, CEO of VETO, buzzed the door lock open and tilted his head with a curious smile.

She stepped inside and smiled, "Hi....thanks for seeing me." She neared his desk, wearing her usual Amarr militia flight suit, her hair pulled back messily as if she hadn't really given it a thought. "Are you busy? Am I interrupting anything...?"

He shook his head with a smile, tapping several times at the interface on his desk "Not at all, please, have a seat," he gestured to the chairs.

She neared the seat and slid into it, "Are you certain?' She blushed ever so slightly. "I mean...I can always come back another time."

Grinning, he said, "It's quiet alright sweetie, take a seat."

She dropped her hands to her lap and rubbed her fingers together, "Thank you."

"So what can I do for you? If it's another elevator ride, unfortunately it's a little busy this time of night." They had once rode the elevator in his hangar for a half hour or more, talking the whole time.

She blushed again, "Oh...I uh...well. No, not exactly." She looked at him for a moment as if trying to gauge his mood. "The thing is..."

He tilted his head and smiled a little, waiting for her to go on.

"Well. I mean...do you know of the Knighthood?"

"Mmm, I do yes," he smiled.

"Right. Of course. Well, the thing is..." She tilted her head to the side as she lifted her gaze, looking at him. "We uh, we aren't like other loyalist corps."

"How so?"

" We don't believe in slavery, you see. And well...I mean. It isn't a secret that we are vastly different. But some of us go a little further, you see. We have high hopes of changing the Empire, from the inside." She hesitated for a second, dropping the tone of her voice almost to a whisper. "Some of us take it even further...we are involved in some very specific 'programs', if you will. That help others..."

"I'm listening, Shalee." He tilted his head, listening carefully.

"Slaves. We help slaves." She couldn't quite hide her nervousness. Though she were smiling her hands were shaking a tiny bit. He was just so big and imposing. "And the thing is, I know that VETO is a pirate corporation and loyal only to yourselves and pretty much, fuck everybody else."

He looked surprised at the use of language and chuckled.

"But...I was just...hoping. That you would have a little bit of compassion, you see. Your pirates hinder my work, if we are being perfectly frank. I work very hard to move people out of the war zone and when your people are shooting at us..." her voice trailed off.

"Compassion in what respect?"

"The only reason VETO exists is to attack others. To rob and steal from them. Granted, I understand that the pilots who venture down to low sec take that risk of being pirated. But there are others, like myself, who are here for a nobler purpose. And I wish your people wouldn't attack those who are trying to do something worthwhile, like transporting slaves out of Amarr space." She paled ever so slightly, " ...and I don't mean to be insulting, if you are taking my words as such."

He smiled softly to her, "While I can appreciate the sentiment, Shalee... I have to run a business. I'm afraid there's little I can do in that respect.

Crestfallen, "I see. So you're okay with running your business at the expensive of human lives."

"There are always casualties in war, Shalee," he answered solemnly.

"That's your answer? And exactly who are you at war with? As far as I can tell, piracy is not a war. There are thousands upon thousands of others who make those choices when they come into these unsafe systems to prey upon. Why can't you leave us out of it?"

"I'm at war with anyone who opposes the pursuit of profit, Shalee. Our bottom line is all that matters, and the safety of our own personnel. We offer safe passage or release for a price, people just need to barter for it. Sadly, most choose not to."

She sat there for a moment in silence as if digesting his words. Finally she nodded, "I see. I don't what possessed me to come here." She laughed awkwardly as she stood up, her nervousness having faded into anger. "Sadly my ass. You're not sad about anything. But you are a sad man if you cant find any compassion to let people live. Everything can't be about money. Somethings can't be bought. Like self respect. I don't even know how you sleep at night."

He continued to smile at her while sighing softly, "I don't like killing people any more than you do, but I do what I do to get the job done."

"Sadly," she scoffed. Her temper was getting the better of her.

"I have a contract to fulfill. Its' that simple."

She slammed her hand against his desk, "You're lying! There are no contracts for piracy! You do what you want because you can."

He towered over the desk as he stood and pointed to the chair she'd been sitting in. He raised his voice, the deep words booming around the room, "SIT DOWN!"

She flinched from his tone and gasped, though she did not sit down. "No. I'm leaving." She yelled back. "I cannot BELIEVE how fucking gullible I was. Everyone told me, over and over, but NO would I listen?"

"Another victim of the mass media, who pretends to know about me. Pretends to know what drives me, what makes me do what I do, when in reality she's just too damn fucking ignorant to listen without immediately forming opinions." He pointed to her, his voice unusually calm, every word concise and well chosen. "You people make me fucking sick, you know that? Every one of you thinks you're some smart ass shrink who knows what goes on in here." He tapped his temple.

"Whats media got to do with anything? I come here asking you for the tiniest bit of mercy and you throw your 'war' and need for money up, as if that should matter more than human lives. I obviously don't know anything about you other than greed."

He shook his head, smirking, "Greed, I like that. Sure, get your self into a headlong mind lock with the mass media sweetie, and live in bliss and ignorance."

"I don't even know what you're fucking talking about. Mass media."

"You'll realize someday, like hundreds of thousands of others have done that I was right, and you were wrong."

She scoffed. "Ha!

"Hopefully before the barrels of someone's Neutron Blaster Cannons are pointed at you."

Incredulously, she stared at him, "Surprised this room can fit your big old head! You are so arrogant!"

He smirked to her, "You seriously don't know me, at all, or what I'm doing. Some day you'll realize what we stand for. Your vision is clouded, by the opinions halfwits like Aldrith Shutaq and that blood traitor you're attached to. You just suck it all in, and don't stop for a second to look at both sides of the fence."

Shalee frowned as her face flushed with hot anger. His smirking only served to infuriate her more. "I know enough to know that all you care about is this band of simpering fools you have assembled around you and ISK."

"You're like a fucking sponge, sucking it all in, until you're saturated with their narrow minded fucking stupidity. It angers me, because you could be so much more, you really could."

"More! What, like you and your lot? Kill for profit? Well OBVIOUSLY you don't know me either if you really think I follow along like some mindless little Sansha!"

He continued to smirk, shaking his head, "Wow, you... really do have no idea."

"It's what you told me. Come from your own mouth."

He started to laugh to himself, smiling to her across the desk, "I guess you're looking for justice? hmm?" He slipped his chrome plated, mirror polished sidearm from the back of his waistband and tossed it onto his desk with a clatter, smirking to her as he opened his arms wide, patting his chest. "Take your justice, Shalee."

She folded her hands across her chest. "Justice? I'm looking to make a difference."

He nodded to the pistol, smirking, "Make a difference, put me out of commission and watch the whole pyramid come tumbling down beneath me."

She glanced down at the sidearm in disgust. "If you truly think I would use that to kill you, then you don't have a fucking clue who I am. Not at all. I came here hoping you'd give a just a bit of mercy and safe passage to our vessels. I wanted to save lives. Not take them."

He pulled his shirt off over his head, patting his broad bare muscular chest with a fist, "So save thousands, do it... go right ahead. Punch holes in me, solve your problem in one simple step, and be done with it. One life, to save thousands. For the greater good. That's how it is, isn't it?"

Angrily she picked up the gun and held it between both hands, "That's what you're asking me to do? To kill you? Don't have enough courage to do it on your own do you? Are you that unhappy?"

He sat back and smiled to her, opening his huge arms. His lightly tanned broad chest rose and fell slowly, every muscle defined as he kept his eyes on hers, "I'm waiting."

She exhaled a frustrated breath. "I guess you are." She lifted the gun and aimed it at his chest. "But we both know I wont do it." She quickly lowered it, "And not because I'm afraid to kill you." she said matter of factly. "But because I know I'd never make it out of here alive. And unlike you, I don't have a death wish right now." She dropped the gun onto his desk with a loud thud.

"Do you feel better, now that you've had a chance to scream at me? Does that satisfy you?"

"Nope. Not at all."

"Then what would?"

"You've already said no." She sighed with frustration, "I'm sorry for coming here, I should have known better."

He shook his crimson covered head to her with a sigh, "Such a closed mind. I hope that it opens in future for you sweetie. I really do." He grabbed his shirt off the desk with a sigh.

Frowning. "Of the two of us, I assure you I am not the one with a closed mind." And with that she turned around and headed for the door.

He smirked, "Fly safe, sweetie. Our staff will see you out."

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Entry Eighty Seven: Incarnations

Jacke rounded the corner of the 'trophy' room of Shalee's hangar and froze in mid step.

The little holographic girl had come back.

After so many days of waiting for her return, he started to think that maybe he had imagined or dreamed her up while sleeping.

Dutifully he had waited, hoping she would send someone to take him to her, to her 'big house in the snow'. But after a few days his hope had started to wane and even believing in her had become a chore. She wasn't even real anyhow. A ghost, probably. Only a ghost would want to play with dead bodies.

But a small part of him still held on desperately to the idea that she would come back and somehow fix everything. Help him find a home. His dad.

"Red?"

"Jacke!" she sniffled as she started towards him, crying.

He looked her over curiously, wanting to console her but uncertain how. Not like he could hug her or touch her. "Why are you crying? What's wrong? Where have you been?"

"I couldn't come! She wouldn't go to sleep! She kept taking the stims to stay awake and fight the war and she stayed awake the whole time." She sniffled again as tears dripped down her cheeks. "And then something bad has happened and I need your help."

The young Brutor sat down, propping his back against the wall and patted the floor beside him, motioning for her to sit with him, "Slow down." He looked to her as she knelt down beside him on her knees, facing him. "Who wouldn't go to sleep? Your mother?"

"No. Shalee. She kept staying awake so I couldn't come. But now she is asleep...but that is bad. Very, very bad."

He nodded as if he had a clue, trying to figure it out as she was talking, "Go on."

"She wanted to speak to Verone. She went to The Last Gate but he wasn't there. She was really really tired and was drinking while she waited for him. And Vincent Pryce was there."

"Who is that?"

"Only one of the most scarey pirates in all of New Eden. He is in Veto too, with Verone. They are friends. And Vincet is friends with her too but last night ...."

Jacke nodded, waiting for her to continue.

"Last night, Vincent told her that his new girlfriend would let him sleep with whoever he wanted, then said he wanted to sleep with her. She thought he was joking." She sniffled, "And then she had to go but she was so tired and Vincent told her to stay at the club, in the VIP guest quarters. And she said okay, but then he took her to his apartment instead and now she is in his bed.."

"Asleep? Is she alone with him?" he asked, caught up in her story.

"She is asleep and alone, he isn't there but if he returns it could be bad. Cause she had been drinking and if Eran finds out he will be so mad. Eran doesn't like Vincent or Verone. He hates them."

"Who is Eran?"

"Eran Mintor. He is a Brutor like you, and Shalee's boyfriend. He wants to marry her. He gave her a ring yesterday and asked her to marry him but they had a big fight but then they made up."

"So what do you want me to do about it?"

"You have to go there and wake her up. Before Vincent comes back...he might try to kiss her. He did before."

Jacke sighed heavily, "Go where? How can I even get there?" he asked, not wanting to disappoint her but what she was asking of him seemed impossible.

The holographic little girl stared at him unblinking. "Sinq Laison. You have to go to Goinard IV. The pirates have a club there and Vincent's apartment is in the back, behind the blast doors."

He looked at her incrediously, "Um..."

"It wont be hard. I will tell you how to get the isk. You take it and buy an interbus ticket. Once you get there, use the special codes I give you to get into the apartment. Wake her up...but don't tell her who you really are or who I am. She will get mad."

***

An hour later following the little girl's advice, Jacke made his way into the front of Veto's club. He waited by the door as he called Shalee's comm repeatedly.

He stared at the girl while he kept dialing the comm.

A part of him wanted to stay in Huola, in the safety of the space station that he had adopted as his new home. He knew his way around, was familiar with the people who came and went, even if they never took notice of him.

He knew the best places to sleep, knew which air vents lead to the best places to sleep and the easiest places to steal food. He had everything he needed to survive.

But some instinctive part of him wanted more. He craved the most basic of human needs. Love, affection, and the desire that someone actually care about him...and he found that in this unreal little girl. Whoever she was, wherever she lived, she seemed to care for him, for whatever reason.

And that was enough. He would follow her anywhere if he could, even into the den of the most infamous pirates in all of New Eden.

"Remember, you can't tell her about me. And tell her she has to go." Red whispered just before disappearing.

When she finally answered, he sighed with relief.

Jacke made up some lie about how Verone wanted her to come outside. He quickly turned the comm off before she could respond, and waited. At least she was awake.

Moments later a groggy Shalee stepped beyond the doors."Miss Lianne," Jacke stuttered, "Y-you have to get out of here."

Shalee blinked, as if trying to clear her vision. "Who are you?"

"Uh..."

She stretched with a languid yawn, "You're a little young to be here." Groggily she ran her hands across her face, "You said Verone asked me to come out here? Did he say why?"

"Uh..yeah." Jacke glanced to the bed, where he had last seen Red, "He said I should escort you back home...to your house in the snow, on Amarr Prime."

She glanced sideways, looking at him from the corner of her eye, "He wants me to leave and take you with me?"

He nodded.

"Did he say why?"Jacke nodded again, "To study with the little girl there."

"Little girl? Oh. Right. Anette Inhonores, Seriphyn's little girl. She has been staying with us since the Sansha attacks."

"He said it would be a better enviroment there than here." Shalee gave a glance around the exterior of the Gate. "Yeah okay, get your things and we can leave." She was too exhausted and intoxicated to even really question the situation.

Jacke followed her as she started to walk off, "He said he would send them later."

"By the way, you haven't told me your name."

"Jacke." He tensed, remembering Red had asked him not to give his real name though he didn't know why. "Jacke Incarnate." he said, using the first surname that came to mind.

***

A few hours later, Jacke trudged his way through the snow in front of the Keep. He pulled his new cloak tight around his shoulders as he leaned against the wall just beyond the door, hoping that Red would find him somehow.

A pretty blonde Gallente stepped outside, pausing to look at him. "Hello there, don't think I've seen you here before."

He looked at her, "I've only just arrived a few hours ago."

"Oh? Well then, welcome. I'm Brystal Blue. I live here with the Knighthood." She smiled warmly.

"Jacke Incarnate."

"Incarnate? Are you related to Omnicide?"

"Not really." He blushed, wishing he hadn't used such a well known name.

"Are you a friend of Anette's?" she asked, wondering if they had sent a playmate for the little gallente girl who had been living with them these past weeks.

"No...actually...I am a friend of Reds....do you know her?" Every servant he had questioned about the holographic girl had ignored his questioning.

She stared at him, her brows raised with curiosity, "Yes, actually I do. How do you know her?"

He sighed with relief. Finally. "I met her in Huola. Well, not her, but her hologram. I guess she was playing with the holo-interface. She said she lives here...wanted me to come here....but I wasn't to tell Shalee about her."

Brystal's expression etched with worry, "Oh dear." She led him over to a covered bench and sat down, motioning for him to join her. She studied his youthful face. Strong Brutor features, dark eyes. In a lot of ways he resembled a very young Eran.

"There are some things you should know about your little friend." Brystal said, wondering how she was going to explain such a bizarre situation to a child. "You see, Red...well. You've only seen her in holograms, yes?"

He nodded.

"The little girl isn't real."

He quirked a brow, "Then she is a ghost. I knew it."

She shook her head, "Non, not exactly. Red is..." she swayed her hand, "How do you say..." she stumbled over the words, trying to find the right way to explain it to him. "She is Shalee."

"What? But Shalee is a grown up..."

"Yes but, when you see Red, you only see a part of Shalee. The part of her when she was very little, before all of her troubles, I think."

"How does that even work?"

"Well...we don't know, exactly. But you will only see her when Shalee is asleep. It's as if..." she swayed her hand again, "as if a part of her mind works it way through to the outside world. To her, I think it is like dreaming. But in her dreams she is a very young child. And instead of dreaming in here." She taps her fingertip to her temple, "Her implants have somehow allowed her to dream outside. She can go anywhere that is virtual, she just connects with her implants. Once she subconsciously learned how to do that, she started to access the holodrones. She goes any place with holo access."

"But why is it a secret? It seems like no one wants to talk about it."

Brystal sighed softly, "Oh, everyone has their own reasons for keeping it a secret, I suppose. Most don't want to tell her because since this has been happening, it's allowed her to talk about things with them that she wouldn't normally do when awake."

"And she doesn't even know she is doing this? It's a secret they keep from her too?"

She nodded. "I guess people are afraid of what she might do if she finds out."

The boy sighed, "So what should I do? Should I go?"

"Non. She brought you here for a reason, I suggest you stick around to find out why."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Entry Eighty Six: Red's Party

Two nights ago...

"Darling, where are you?"

Shalee grinned as she heard the familiar voice of Omnicide Incarnate over her comm. Omni and she had been friends for a year or more, having met when she was a pilot in PIE inc. Though she had left the corporation she had kept in regular contact with many of the capsuleers who still flew under their banner, and since they were in the Amarrian militia together, she more often than not still flew with a majority of them.

"Uh.." She checked the system name with a yawn, "Hadozeko." Her plexing patrol with 1PG and PIE had taken her deep out into Minmatar space, "Why, what's up? Where are you?"

"Huola. I'll head your way....I have something for you."

"Oh?" she asked curiously. "Can't just contract it?"

"Nah. I'll bring it to you."

Intrigued, she set course for Huola, "Alright, I'll start heading towards you, meet you in the middle?"

"Roger that."

Four jumps or so she met Omni on a star gate as he jettisoned a can, "A gift, m'lady," he said charmingly.

"Mmmm thank you?" she said as she scooped the cargo container into her slicer. She scanned down the contents and started to giggle. "A corpse! You brought me a corpse!"

"Check the ID."

She gasped. "Missy Lorelai!"

She could hear the smile in his voice, "Your mortal enemy right?"

"Ah you know the way to my heart, Omni."


*****

Hours later, as Shalee lay sleeping on Amarr Prime, curled up beside her Minmatar lover, a holodrone activated in the Huola station.

Inside the Headquarters of the Knighthood, the holographic little girl skipped her way into the personal hangars, humming an eerie little tune to herself. Inquisitive blue eyes slanted from left to right as she searched for Moonlight, the Imperial Slicer Shalee had been flying on her patrols earlier.

After checking the cargo hold, she headed towards the coolers.

She shivered though she couldn't actually feel the chill in the air, then giggled. She liked to pretend.

Humming a new tune, she started to sing the rhyme, "One two Sansha's coming for you."

"Who is there?"

She gasped as she spun around, coming face to face with a boy in tattered clothes. Dirt smudged his face and he looked as if he hadn't bathed in weeks. She wrinkled up her nose as she looked him over, "Who are you to ask me who I am. Who are you? I don't think you're supposed to be in here," she said with an air of superiority.

"Neither should you, I bet. What are you anyhow, a ghost?"

She stomped her foot, "If I were a ghost I'd be running around trying to haunt you now wouldn't I! No, I'm no ghost you silly fool. Anyhow, what are you doing in here!"

"What are you doing in here?" he returned the question. "I was just looking ..." he said sheepishly as he dropped his head.

"At dead bodies?"

"...looking for my Dad."

"Oh...you think he is here?"

He shrugged, "I dunno. I've been looking for a while. Haven't found him yet...he was a salvager. Got shot down in this system, over in the astroids."

"Well if he was a capsuleer it doesn't matter if his body is here or not..."

"He wasn't a capsuleer."

She frowned. Sometimes dying really did mean being dead forever. "Oh. I see." She flicked her gaze to the line of coolers, staring at the corpses displayed like trophies along the wall.

"Anyhow, what are you doing here?" he asked.

She gave a little shrug, "I wanted to see Missy Lorelai."

"Who is that?"

"Only one of the most horrible terrorists in the Bleaks. Missy and Maarg Blood. We hate them." She started to walk down the corridor, her fingers nearly grazing across the frosted glass of the display cases. "Omnicide podded her tonight and now we have her body here." she said a bit smuggly.

"Who is Omnicide?" the boy asked as he followed her.

"Only one of the best pilots in the militia. And her friend. He is a capsuleer too."

"Her friend?"

"Shalee. This is her hangar."

"Oh. She is a capsuleer?"

"Yes. And she flies with all the best people," the little girl said with a tone of importance, going off to name several of her favorite pilots and FCs. "Anyhow. What is your name?"

"Jacke."

"Raphael calls me Red," she said in return.

"Nice to meet you Red."

"Where do you live?" she asked.

"...I stay here."

"Here? In this cooler?"

"No, but on the space station. Anywhere I can, really."

She frowned again, "Oh." So that was why he was so dirty. "Are you an orphan?"

He nodded.

She suddenly stopped walking and pointed to one of the corpses, "That is Laerise." She slanted her gaze to him, "She is mean, we don't like her. She pretends to be nice in front of her Admirals but when she is around other people she is a monster! They called her the dragon!"

Jacke chuckled. "She don't look so scary to me."

"Well, it's because you can't see her horns!" She held her index fingers to the top of her head and wiggled them about, pretending her horns were coming out. Red giggled, "Open the cooler and look!"

He hesitated, "I don't think we can. There is a security code."

"But I know the code!" She rattled off a series of numbers.

His brows lifted, "Uh..." He looked to the cooler again.

"Oh come on Jacke," she pouted. "Don't want to see a real life monster? Anyhow this one can't hurt you it's dead!" She stepped closer to the cooler and tipped her chin up to have a better look. "Please?"

"Well...I guess." He stepped over to her and entered the security code to open the door. As it slid open they were greeted with a rush of frigid cold air. They stepped inside.

"Get her down!"

"No! I'm not touching that! It's dead!"

"Stop being such a baby. You're older than me. And stronger too."

"Well you're not even real! Of course I'm stronger!" he retorted.

"Am too real!"

"Well, I mean you're not really here. Where are you anyhow?"

"Amarr Prime." She stepped closer to the corpse, "If you get her down we can have a party!"

"What? Are you crazy?"

"No. I just wanna play." She placed her hands on her hips. "And you have to play with me," she said in a bossy tone. "You can be my slave!"

"I'm not being no slave."

"But you're a Brutor right? So you have to be the slave. Anyhow, I will be your mistress and take care of you! But you have to do what I say." She looked at him imperiously. "So get her down so we can have the party!"

Jacke stared at her for a moment then gave a little sigh of resignation, the same little sound that so many adults had sighed as they have given into her outlandish requests. He pulled the corpse from the frosty tomb and brought it out into the corridor, dropping her to the floor with a thud.

Breathing heavily, he gave her a look that said, -now what-?

She grinned adorably and skipped off, moving over to another cooler. "Get him out! He is evil too. A very very bad man. He will be her date at the party!" She pointed to Garst Tyrell's corpse, then ran off to find two more bodies.

"Want me to get out Missy?" he asked as he followed dutifully behind her.

She shook her head thoughtfully, "No. Missy can't come to the party til we have her date, Maarg Blood."

"What about this one?" he randomly pointed to a corpse.

"No, that is Gangreli. He is very nice. We don't want good people to come!" She hesitated, thinking. "Or maybe we do. Let's get Aldrith! And Mitara!" She ran down the aisle, leading him to their containers.

Jacke pulled the pair of them out, sweating from the effort.

"Okay. Now we need stuff for the party." She named off several items that could be found in the offices nearby.

An hour later the party was set up, each corpse propped into a chair wearing strange bits of clothing they had found in some cargo containers in the main hangar, personal items looted from various wrecks.

Laerise wore a Gallentian pink feather dress. Garst wore the same thing. Mitara and Aldrith were dressed in matching tuxes, and all four wore party hats that they had made from scraps of paper.

An old Amarrian waltz played softly and she made Jacke dance with her, "Just watch me," she said, teaching him the steps.

The ten year old nodded and followed her movements, pretending to hold her ghostly hands.

She tipped her chin up and looked him in the eye, "Jacke?"

"Yes?"

"I want you to come live with us at Amarr Prime. We live in a big big house in the mountains and it is always snowing. And there's lots of people who live there and other people who come to visit!"

"But how will I get there?"

"In a spaceship of course."

"But I don't have any isk..." he said as his expression went somber. "I don't have anything at all."

"But you have me. All you have to do is come to Amarr. Anyhow I know people who fly the spaceships..." she said, her little face twisting up thoughtfully as she tried to figure out who she was going to ask to bring him there. Before she could say anything else, her hologram flickered.

Jacke looked at her, worried, "What's happening to you?"

"She is waking up. But don't worry, I'll come back for you."

She flickered again then disappeared completely.

***

Pain throbbed in the back of Shalee's head as she sat up in bed, rousing slowly from a dream that made no sense to her. Like all dreams, the macabre images of Garst and Laerise's corpses were already fading.

She rubbed her fingers through her hair, massaging her temples, wishing the headache away.

As she lay back in bed, she rolled over onto her side and looked at Eran as he slept, her thoughts drifting. Remembering. Tidbits of the dream flashed through her mind and she couldn't shake off the eerie sense of how real it felt.

Ever since Hadrien had died, she'd been having vivid nightmares and strange dreams, though mostly she never remembered them, not for very long anyhow. It was as if some part of her subconscious forced it away. She chalked it up to some sort of coping mechanism to help her with what she had done.

Not wanting to think about Hadrien, she snuggled closer to Eran and lay her head against his shoulder. Moments later she was drifting off asleep.

As soon as she cross the threshold into the land of dreams, a holodrone activated in their room, and a little girl tiptoed over to the bed, whispering, "Eran...wake up. I need you to go fly your spaceship..."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Entry Eighty Five: Sansha

Shalee sat stretched out on a padded bench in the library of the Keep, scribbling in her new journal.

Outside the weather was unchanging. The evening sky was covered with a blanket of low hanging snow clouds.

Despite the dreary freezing weather outside, the library was warm due to twin fireplaces roaring on either side of the room.

Most of the books were still unpacked and lay scattered about in shipping crates. Shalee found the room inviting regardless of it's disarray.

***
I have a raging hangover.

I hadn't meant to drink quite so much, but after a while common sense goes out the window and having another drink seems like a good idea. I remember going to the Gate after patrols.

I was a bit upset, nothing major but...

I missed Eran.

He was off in null sec. He was leading his new alliance and would be gone for most of the day.

Perhaps days, depending on how well the op went.

So after a short patrol flying under Predator Elite with the militia, I took the rest of the night off and went over to the Last Gate. By the time I arrived I had one too many. And of course that didn't stop me. I kept drinking, chatting it up with some woman who seemed rather intriguing. I vaguely remember telling her that we would be the bestest of friends. You know, the usual droning on of an intoxicated person.

Turns out my new friend Ruby is a Sansha.

A goddamned Sansha.

Since the Sansha abductions began, our corporation has tirelessly fought against them, traveling all over the starmap to stand with allies and enemies alike to stop them. Sometimes we were successful, other times not. They managed to abduct millions.

Among those numbers, Seriphyn's wife and child.

So it's more than personal.

But in my drunken state of mind, I just let it go without protest. Talked to her anyhow.

Befriended her.

And then I came home to the Keep and told everybody about it. Esna, Hitome, Aldrith, Riso, and Morwen, I think. I just remember being so out of it, jabbering on about this and that, telling them about Ruby.

Not too long after that, Eran came home to the Keep and I remember telling him the same thing. And I remember he was so very angry.

"Are you crazy? You fucking get mad at me for pretending to be a Sansha and..."

I was devastated. I just...I hate to see him angry. Hate to disappoint him in anyway. But he had every right to be angry. I can't blame him for it, especially after I had him arrested when I mistakingly thought he was a Sansha loyalist.

It was a mistake, really. I had went through his comms, wrongly so, and found some correspondence between Eran and one of the Sansha's who were leading the attacks. Also there were letters between Eran and Ashar.

I assumed the worst. I still feel horrible about not trusting him when it mattered most. Come to find out, he wasn't betraying anyone but the Sansha. He was trying to infiltrate them. Aldrith knew of it. So did Ashar. They thought it best to keep me out of it so I wouldn't worry.

Her thoughts drifted back to that day several weeks ago...

****
Shalee entered into the main hall and paused by the door wearing a look of shock.

"What is wrong?" Vlad Cetes asked, glancing up from his chair by the fire.

She barely noticed him, her blue gaze scanned the room searching the faces. "Aldrith. I need Aldrith."

Vlad made his way over to her, "Lianne, Shutaq is not here."

Charles Raine joined Vlad, "Are you all right? You look faint.."

On the opposite side of the room, the entrance door was pushed open as Eran Mintor stepped inside. A flurry of snowflakes followed him in. He quickly closed it and dusted off the snow from his cloak before slipping it off and handing it over to a servant.

Shalee stood there, feeling as if she couldn't breathe. As if all the oxygen had suddenly been drained from the room. "I just..." She grabbed hold of the door.

Eran started over to the fire and paused as noticed the trio by the door. He made his way to Shalee, placing an arm on her shoulder, "What's wrong?"

Charles glanced between the two of them, "She looks faint. Commodore, perhaps you should sit..?" he slid a chair over in her direction.

Eran held her by the arms and slowly guided her towards the chair. He looked to the other two for explination before stooping down beside Shalee, "Tell us whats wrong..."

"I need Aldrith!" She said frantically as she shook her hands, motioning for him to back away. "No, dont."

Vlad had disappeared and returned a few moments later from the medical bay with a breathing mask. "Breathe," he instructed as he held it to her mouth. "It's oxygen." His voice was suprising soothing, "Shutaq is not here, what do you need?"

Charle's expression turned grim as he look between Shalee and Eran again, "What's going on, Shalee? Take slow, deep breaths.."

"Shalee...." Eran whispered a few feet from her, confused.

She cupped her hand across the mask, holding it to her mouth, inhaling deeply, trying to calm herself. Shalee looked to Charles, her gaze locked on his. She lowered the mask and inhaled a shakey breath, "Charles, call for the guards."

Eran looked confused and lost. Helplessly he took a few more steps towards her with his arms outreached, "...will you sit down and talk with me? What happened in the past half hour that's frightened you so..." His gaze shifted to Charles, "What happened?"

Charles looked to Eran but said nothing, instead he shouted out, "GUARDS! All of you!"

Eran frowned again and turned to Shalee, "And who are you calling the guards on?"

Esna Pitoojee entered in just as the guards went running. He studied them curiously as he slipped off his heavy outerwear robe, "What in the...?"

"Shalee...will you talk with me?" Eran looked desperately at her, "Please?"

She shook her head, "No!" She scrambled to her feet, "I can't believe I fell for you, I can't believe I loved you, oh god." She paced as she waited for the guards. "How could betray me like this? Why? Because I loved you? Were you laughing the whole goddamned time! Whats wrong with you, Eran?"

Eran dropped his mouth open, unsure what to say. He looked at her helplessly. "Betray you? What did I do...."

Esna blinked, "What, the... " He started over to the group, his face a mix of confusion and concern.

As the Kamerians gathered around her, she pointed to Eran, "Handcuff that man."

Eran watched in disbelief as the guards surrounded him. He crossed his arms and grumbled to himself. "You can try...." He said to one of the Kamerians who stepped closer. He looked to Shalee again, "Fuck, I can't believe you're calling the guards on me. Why didn't you just tell me to stay away...."

Esna Pitoojee stepped closer, the look of worry growing deeper "What is happening here?"

"This man is a traitor." She looked at Esna, her face pale with grief, " A goddamned spy, a Sansha loyalists!"

Eran growled as another guard approcahed. He threw his arm in the air as they reached for it and he pushed the guard back into the others. Eventually the guards pile ontop him as he tried to fight them off but failed under the sheer numbers.

"Is there evidence?" Esna asked, frowning.

"Yes!"

Charles gritted his teeth, looking to Eran. "Sansha?!"

"Letters. And Ashar is one too!" she shouted, furious.

"What?!" Eran exclaimed.

"Let us see it then," Vlad tried to reason.

"You don't know the half of it!" Eran yelled out as he was dragged away from the main hall.

"They are plotting together. I've read everything!"

"No! That's not true!" Eran yelled out just as the doors were closing.

Esna Pitoojee glanced to Charles, "I'd recommend we all withhold judgement until evidence is reviewed... Especially on a matter as serious as this."

Shalee Lianne read in an hysterical voice from her comm where she had forwarded the mails from his comm to hers, "Tell me oh Master Kuvakei, may I prove my value before The Great Sansha Nation? I crave The Promised Land! These capsuleers are organizing against you! I can stop them, if you tell me. I can mis-lead; or do you need my body most?"

Esna shook his head "Individual excerpts are useless... is this all the evidence you have?"

"I have all the letters back and forth, Esna."

"Perhaps there is more to it, like Eran said.." Charles rubbed his temples. "Perhaps he was trying to infiltrate them?"

"And why wouldn't he tell me that!"

Esna nodded, "If at all possible, I'd like to see all of them. Then I'll see about contacting everyone else involved."

"Perhaps he wished to protect you, Shalee. I know I would." Charles said.

She went quiet and stood very still as realization slid across her face. Any of them could be a Sansha loyalist and she not know it.

Esna recognized the sudden doubt upon her face and nodded, "I'll open my comms to you if you show me the information you do have. I have no reason to fear anything you might see."

"You should sit. Calm yourself. Breathe deeply." Charles guides her over to a chair again.

"...but Ashar too. Oh god. I don't know who to trust anymore.....I don't know what to do."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Entry Eighty Four: After the fall

Snowflakes fell just beyond her window, dotting the night sky with a sudden splash of white. Yawning, she watched the snow as she settled back on the oversized chair, her thoughts drifting.

Though Arzad had fallen a mere two months ago, it seemed much longer. So much had happened in such a short time, it was hard to remember how her life had been before she had met the infamous Minmatar General.

An assignment she had ended up falling in love with.

A sworn enemy, a man who had fought tirelessly to 'liberate' Arzad from the Amarr, only to step away from the fight after it had fallen. Granted, he hadn't left the minmatar milita, but he did step away from his patrols.

When he should have been spending his time in military plexes, he spent his time following her around. It went unnoticed when she had been doing solo patrols, though it had become difficult to hide when she was with others. She had tried to send him away but it hadn't worked. She told him she needed time to think, hoping he would realize how much he belonged with her and would make the decision to leave the Minmatar and be with her.

Instead, he just found her on the warfront again, doing anything he could to be close to her, even if it meant warping into a squad of Amarrian pilots while in a military compound.

He had locked and jammed the other pilots, leaving her untouched.

She shuddered as she remembered the FC's orders to take him down.

She had followed orders and shot him.

That same night she sent him a tearful letter.

Dear Eran,
I know that we said we would take time apart, but that seems impossible when we cross paths on the battlefield. I know you must hate me for shooting at you, I know you probably think I wouldn't do it, that I couldn't....and definately if I were alone I wouldn't have.
But orders are orders and duty is duty and I have devoted my life to this cause.
It means everything to me and nothing at all to you.
I see that now.
It's very clear, it's all so very clear now.
I can't do this.
I can't love you and be at war with you. I can't give myself to you and have you take from the Amarrian people.
You are an enemy. To my people, to my breathren who fly under the same colors as I ..and to me.
Eran, this is impossible.
I can't be in that position again. To have you under my guns with my FC screaming at me to take you down.
Tonight made me realize that I can't ...can't. Can't be in love with you anymore.
I have to let you go.
You are a soldier of war, a great General for your people and that means something to you.
I fight for this cause, have devoted myself to it and that means something to me.
Maybe some day after this war is nothing but a story in a history book, maybe we will cross paths again.
Until then,
Shalee

Shalee,
I've been sitting in my apartment for the past three hours trying to figure out what to say to you. I know the words I offer aren't much in the way of comfort, and I wish we were together right now.
Please, don't give up on us...this isn't impossible, this is REAL. My feelings are real, and it didn't take me but two minutes after you were gone to realize it.
I don't blame you for firing on me; honestly I shouldn't have been there in the first place... and neither should the Minmatar in that system. I realize this...I knew what your orders would be.... I knew what would happen.
I knew warping in there was suicide; I would be unable to fend off one of you, let alone four...I don't know what I was thinking other than I just needed to be around you for a minute or two.
I'm sorry... sorry I had to push you to do something you didn't want to do...I'm sorry for letting you walk out my apartment two days ago, when I knew...I knew it wouldn't matter how long we were apart...
Love, Eran


She had lasted all of two days before finding him at Soft River, a tavern he owned and lived above in a loft. She had waited for him, only to find him returning on the arms of his ex, Sophie Starsparrow and her friend, Cynn. The pair had brought him back from a long night of hard drinking.

Shalee had been beyond furious. Calling upon an air of Amarrian arrogance she rarely showed, she traded sharp words with the two Minmatar females and sent them on their way, almost daring them to start something with her.

A few short weeks later Eran defected to the Amarrian Militia after a soul searching trip to the Vol'shun on Arzad eight.

Her gaze slanted to Eran as he lay sleeping in the bed. Their bed. She watched the steady rise and fall of his chest and longed to go to him, to wake him and have him wrap his arms around her. Instead, she let him sleep as she pulled open a journal she had bought in the town behind the Keep, she started to scribble..

***
Since becoming a capsuleer I've kept some sort of log when I could, mostly a video feed, but theres just something therapeutic about writing by hand.

Last night Karmilla Strife had dropped by the Keep, a former comrade of mine from PIE. Earlier in the night we had done a short patrol together in Iesa, and I had invited her over after we had finished.

She was musing on her life, the choices she's made, the things yet to do. Granted we didn't have a whole lot of time to talk but after she left, it got me thinking. I know that Eran is going to leave, I know he is going to null sec at some point...

But I don't care anymore. As long as he can find a way to come back to me, I will marry him.

I told him last night he should buy me a ring. He was suprised, of course. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so bold or forward...but I don't want to lose him. I just want to be with him.

Tomorrow we will go look at apartments, both in Huola and Kour, something close to the warfront, though in my heart our home will always be here in the turret of the Keep.

Theres a lot to figure out before we can actually be married, mainly how to annul my marriage with Charles Raine. It's not like it is a real marriage, one that I had any choice in. It was arranged by our parents when we were very small. I barely knew him. And when I had run away from my old life, I figured he would have had it annuled.

...but he has not.

Instead, he has joined the Knighthood and flies beside me. Lives at the Keep. It is a strange thing sometimes, to sit between the two by the fire, married to one, a lover to the other.

Most residents of the Keep and those who visit frequently have grown accustomed to the delicate situation, though sometimes we will have a new guest give us an odd look.

Both have been exceedingly polite about the whole thing. Eran is sympathetic to Charles, and Charles has been nothing but the epitome of kindness to Eran.

If only the rest of New Eden could get along so well...