A cacophony of voices ran through her mind at once; Militia, intel, corp, and a dozen of other comm channels that she frequently monitored while in pod.
Disoriented, she absently grabbed at the pod tech as he disengaged the last neural link, silencing the voices. She flushed with embarrassment and whispered "Sorry" as she dropped her hand from his shoulder.
"No problem Commodore."
She pulled away from him and trudged over to the shower units, leaving a trail of pod goo behind her. She stepped beneath the cool water and closed her eyes, chin tilted up to let it splash against her face.
"Did you see me bump it?"
Sabotage, Legatus Commodore of the Amarr militia and her corp mate, stood a few feet from her, showering in the next stall. She opened one eye as she turned her head, looking at the Caldarian from the shoulders up, "The Naglfar? Hell yes I did. That was amazing." She threaded her fingers through her thick, clumped up hair. "Really, I can't believe we got that lucky. What an idiot."
Earlier in their patrol, a Minmatar pilot who flew under the call sign RUNVS undocked a dreadnought outside of the Republic Fleet Assembly Plant in Auga, commonly known as 'Auga 3rd'. He was sighted by Predator Elite, who happened upon him during a routine scouting expedition of the system.
Pred had called in the fleet though no one really thought it would be possible to force the dreadnaught pilot away from the station.
It hadn't stopped them from trying.
And in this case, trying meant succeeding.
She rarely found beauty in destruction, but as she watched the Naglfar meet a fiery death and rip apart into a thousand pieces, she couldn't help but be awed and humbled. It wasn't just the explosion itself, but what it represented. It was the might of the Amarr militia manifested. The sheer will and determination of countless men and women who gave their all to defend Amarrian sovereignty.
Her thoughts drifted to Pred again. She had nearly flown exclusively under him these past few weeks as he lead the Amarrian militia into countless battles and victories. The Minmatar media liked to paint him as a blob-warfare commander, which was untrue. It wasn't his fault that he could inspire so many to follow him. A call-for-fleet from him could fill countless squads in the matter of minutes. How could he be faulted for that? He was a natural born leader and it was evident to those who flew under him. She would never pass up an opportunity to fly for him.
The pendulum of war favored the Amarr currently with the rise of such commanders as Predator Elite and ZeroRespect in the Amarrian militia and the loss of Generals Eran Mintor and Sassawong from the Minmatar. Heimatar was burning, and soon Amarr would claim every last system and the war would be over. It couldn't come quick enough for her. A dreamy smile stretched across her mouth as she thought about life after the war... settling down, having children, the whole bit.
She closed her eyes again and stood there, letting the water flow over her as she tried to relax and 'find' herself. It'd always taken her a little bit longer than everyone else to fully disengage from the pod and find her senses once again. It was easier for others to simply disconnect and go about their way, but for her it was harder, more stressful. Often time she'd come out with nosebleeds, hallucinations, or just an overall feeling of disorientation.
"Guess what?" she said, breaking out of her reverie.
"Number eight on the kill boards."
He smirked to her, "Did you really just use that tone with me? I'm number six!"
She laughed, "Yes I know you're number six, but I was just saying. Number eight. Better watch your back..."
"I'll probably drop off of it soon anyhow. The morning shift just undocked." Even with the use of stims and boosters, she'd never have the stamina or skill to make it to the top and hold the position.
The gal-net played somewhere in the background near one of the tech stations. Eran's familiar voice caught her attention.
"You're a bigot. The Minmatar militia may be unjust, but it is not a "terrorist" organization. It's full of fighters no different than the 24th IC; just as many pirates and "terrorists" thrive behind the 24thIC banner as do Minmatar. You're a fool because you do not accept the terms when they are offered; if the Minmatar offered to end this war, would you refuse out of arrogance? Should I come back and take another nine of your systems? You don't seem to have learned anything..."
She paled as she grabbed a towel from the stall wall that seperated her and Sabotage. Hastily wrapping it around her, she stumbled over to the holo-projection, splattering water everywhere. She was hoping that she had misheard it. Maybe it was someone else, another Brutor who sounded like Eran. Surely he wouldn't humiliate her like this in front of all of New Eden.
"Please, do an instant replay," she asked the tech who looked at her oddly.
She felt dizzy as he replayed the segment. Nauseated. Utterly sick. "Oh god." Finding a seat, she held her hand to her head, dripping water all over the place. "Replay anything involving Eran Mintor," she commanded in a steady tone that hid how miserable she felt in that moment. Blood dripped from her nose, "And get me a towel."
"You're a fool. You cannot act on your own, so why even announce such a thing as a "Confido" if you are inept to serve your people? Amarrians deserve more, yet you give them nothing but words. Such a shame...you will wait by as the Empire stands around with their thumbs up their ass, like they're going to give you any direction, and hope that they tell you what to do? Good luck; Amarrians would be better off joining the Sansha than waiting for your weak attempt to protect them fail miserably."
She leaned her head against the wall, shivering on the bench in nothing more than a towel, listening to the recorded segments of Eran Mintor, the man who had recently proposed to her, a man who had once been a General in the Minmatar Militia until she seduced him to the Amarrian side.
He barely made it two months before leaving for null sec. She could handle his leaving, at least he wasn't fighting against her people, or flying as her enemy out on the battlefield.
...but now he was threatening to pick up his old fight?
Sabotage stepped over to her after a few moments, standing there awkwardly, "So uh, Pred just announced that he's going back out, apparently he wants to go suicide his scorpion over in Amamake..." he tempted, hoping the possibility of a fight would distract her.
"Nah, it's okay. I ...I shouldn't be flying, I'm exhausted. I think I'll head out for a drink somewhere before heading back to the Keep."
"Yeah, it's late, I think I'll call it a night too."
She nodded to him as she stood up, held tilted back with the cloth against her nose.
"Same time tomorrow?"