Five days ago:
Everything was a blur.
She blinked several times, trying to clear her vision as the tech took hold of her arm, helping her up from the metal grating.
Slick from pod fluid, she slipped from his grasp and stumbled as her knees gave out.
"Whoa, Commodore. Careful," he said as he grabbed her again, steadying her.
"I'm fine, I just need a moment.."
He nodded, "I'm sure you are." He checked her vitals and gave another nod, "Everything seems to be fine." He flashed a pin point of light across her face, "Just a little sensitivity. Should fade soon."
She gave him a cross look, sounding more agitated than she normally would have, "I know."
He merely smirked, "Yes, Commodore."
Shalee tugged out of his hands, "I'm fine," she said with more bravado than she actually felt, walking over to the showers.
Her heart was racing as she stepped beneath the water, beating to the fading sounds of war that still lingered in her mind.
She could hear his voice ringing through the explosions.
The final battle played over and over, like a holo reel. Hordes of warships engulfed the Auga star gate in Kourmonen as Amarr Militia met with Minmatar.
Battleships lined the field. Squads of support vessels filled in the gaps.
For a few tensed seconds, the comms were eerily silent as the entire fleet awaited orders.
"Launch drones." Predator Elite ordered then called the primaries. Scrams and webs were activated. Guns were overheated as drones flooded the battlefield.
Veterans of war rained down a torrent of fire power, pounding into the Minmatar fleet. Explosions erupted, littering the dark blue sky with a thousand pieces of debris. Drones swarmed. New primaries were called.
Predator went down and another FC took his place. Pilots from both sides exploded and podded out, only return minutes later to take up the fight. Predator regained control of his fleet and the battle raged on.
Shalee lost SotR Sanguine, her very first battleship, an Armageddon that had seen countless battles, to the traitorous Dolmant's Revelation.
"If you go down, reship. Fast." Predator ordered.
She became vaguely aware of her old Praetorian comrades as she rejoined the fight in a Harbinger that she'd fitted up in between the previous battles a few hours earlier. Admiral Archbishop, Captain Laerise, Captain Veshta Yoshida, Guardian Stavenhorst, and Guardian Ultra Power flashed on her overview as she eased back into the thick of battle.
Her harbinger went down and she came back in the last battlecruiser she had fitted, an old warhorse Prophecy that had seen fighting all the way back to her earlier days of PIE.
"Reship, reship, reship. We will hold the field, we will not retreat!"
She was down to an Omen by the time she made it back out.
Both sides were watering down as hangars began to empty out. Lost drones, fiery wrecks, and a haze of smoke rolled across the space between the two opposing armies.
Water streamed down her face in rivulets as she turned in the shower, eyes closed, remembering.
Capital ships. Pirates in the midst. It was a hellish fight, spanning for over an hour.
Dim neon blue light illuminated her long limbs, stiff from being in the pod so long. Six battles in all, one right after the other. In the course of the night she lost five battlecruisers, one battleship, and a slicer, not that she cared in the least.
Losing ships was a causality of war.
She finally forced the battle from her mind, trying to clear her thoughts and calm the bloodlust that was coursing through her. All she wanted was to be back out there, back in the pod, back on the field.
She blamed Predator. She'd never truly experienced the thrill of war until she'd flown under him. She had felt war was a necessary evil, one that she participated in though never really desired.
It was a reluctant duty, until him.
He had single-handedly pushed her to the limits and beyond, turning her from a timid, uncertain pilot to one that craved the heat of battle.
It had become an obsession. The next fleet. The next battle. The next kill.
He had pushed her, tested her will and resolve. He had used her as bait, as scout, and damage. Whatever he asked of her, she'd do. Blindly, without question. She had never given her loyalty to someone as she had him, at least in the pod.
She mused on the irony of it. He was so many things to her, a voice over comms, a ship in space beside her, a name on her overview. A commander to whom she would die for without hesitation...and yet she'd never seen him in the flesh.
She'd seen his photo on the DED and had a vague idea of what the Caldarian looked like, but other than that, he wasn't real to her.
More god-like than man.
Her strict Amarrian upbringing cringed at the sacrilegious thoughts, but the other side of her, this new side he had unknowingly cultivated reveled in the fact.
Once she was dressed, she made a tour of her hangar, taking note of what she had and what she needed. Her vivid blue gaze scanned the length of it, sighing over the emptiness. Bestowers, a slew of Predator's shuttles, and a random coercer or two.
She trailed her fingers through her damp hair as she readied a shuttle to Amarr, determined to restock a portion of her hangar before morning.
She gave a weary glance to the empty space before heading out.
It's going to be a long night...