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...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Entry 106: A Troubled Past

"Did I wake you?"

Shalee shifted languidly, on the cusp of sleeping, "No. I was just thinking."

Nola, an older Brutor woman with skin the color of tobacco and eyes as dark as space settled down beside Shalee on the marbled steps, "I noticed you haven't gone upstairs yet."

"I just...haven't gotten around to it yet. I will."

"Take your time child, you capsuleers sure have plenty of it. Have you decided what you will do with this old place, then?" Nola swayed her hand, motioning to the plantation house.

"Not really. A part of me wants to burn it down. To torch the house, the gardens, the cathedral. But...that's really not going to solve anything at all, is it? It's not going to erase what happened here. It wont change anything."

"I imagine it wont. So why did you come back?"

"I'm not sure. I heard it was for sale...and... I don't know. I wanted to buy it and destroy it but now I think I want to save it. I've been thinking about maybe turning it into some kind of safe haven for newly free'd slaves."

Nola eyed her curiously, almost skeptically.

"The Empire is changing, Nola. The Empress's Emancipation to the Ninth Generation was just the beginning. A new world is on the horizon, one where the children of God are not judged by what blood runs in their veins, but by the sincerity of their hearts."

"You always were a dreamer, just like your mother."

"It's more than a dream. There are many in the Empire just like me who fight against slavery," Shalee explained.

"But you fight for the Empire in your militia do you not?"

"I don't fight for what the Empire is, but what it can become. Will become. The Empress will bring about a 'new age of light and reason'. I wholly believe that."

"I don't remember you being so devoted to the Empire when you were younger..."

Shalee turned her head and lifted her chin to the stained glass window pane, her face bathed in a kaleidoscope of light. "You weren't the only one free'd that day, Nola."

"What do you mean?"

"When the Imperial soldiers came and seized the property and arrested my Father, they set you all free...but I got my freedom too. During all the chaos...I ran away. I would have never been able to escape otherwise... I would have been a prisoner to him my whole life. I was just as much a slave as any Brutor or Intaki that he owned."

Nola nodded sympathetically.

"I owe her my life and I would do anything to repay that debt. So that is why I fight as hard as I do, that is why my loyalty to the Empire cannot be questioned nor doubted. She saved me and I owe her and I will fight and defend this Empire, her Empire, as long as she commands it."

"Your mother would be very proud of you, I'm sure. I see a lot of her in you. That rebellious streak, stubborn chin, those sparkling blue eyes and that mass of curly hair is all your mother."

Shalee absently ran her fingers along the staircase railing, "I can barely remember her."

"You were just a baby when she died. What were you, six or seven?"

"Seven. I had just turned seven."

"Poor soul, to die in childbirth."

Shalee winced at the lie. They both knew what really happened but some truths were too painful to relive. The lie was kinder, and really what did it matter anyhow. Dead was dead. "What was she like? Weren't you her maid even before she married my Father?"

Nola's gaze went blank as she peered into her memories, "She was beautiful....warm. She had a way of making everyone love her. She was like...like a bright light and everyone wanted to bask in her glow. When she married your Father and came here, this place came alive, they said. She enchanted everyone here, we all loved and adored her."

"...did he love her?"

"He?"

"My Father....do..do you think he really loved her?"

Nola's expression darkened. "It was love, or something like it," she said mysteriously.

"What do you mean exactly?" Shalee asked.

Nola seemed to hesitate, "It was a long time ago child, maybe you shouldn't be drudging up old ghosts."

"Please tell me?"

"Your Father was pure Amarr and though he was wealthy, your Mama's family was more so, even if they were Ni Kunni. Anyhow, he had met her at some ball or other and had fallen in love with her at first sight. He courted her, courted her parents and eventually they agreed to the marriage. He always was a charmer."

"Did she not want to marry him?"

"He was an older widow with three little boys. She was young and beautiful and Ni Kunni."

"It must not have mattered so much...?"

"She was Ni Kunni of the Old Realm."

"What does that mean?"

"Her family still practiced what the Amarr had tried to abolish all those years ago. In public they appeared to be the model of Amarrian faith...but they kept many of their old practices and customs alive, in secret mind you."

"So my mother...." her words trailed off.

"She followed polyamory. She was involved with two other men when her parents married her off. She had to give them up, of course, once she was married."

"Did Father know?" Shalee asked.

"He found out eventually...."

Shalee furrowed her brows, feeling as if someone had just walked over her own grave, "...are you saying...are you saying what I think you're saying?"

Nola twisted her hands together nervously as she looked over her shoulders. "Leave the past where it is." She stood up suddenly, "Now, let's go have a walk around the gardens, shall we? It's such a pretty day outside."

"Nola please, tell me the truth, I have a right to know why it happened."

The Brutor blinked several times, "Look. How should I know what really happened between them? All I can say is what she told me before she died. Your Father found out about the Old Realm long after you were born. But he became obsessed with it, of what she had done and who she had done it with. When she became pregnant...well. He went out of his mind, started accusing her of seeing her old lovers and...."

"...and he killed her and the babies she was carrying."

Nola nodded.

"He murdered her but he let me live....why?"

"I think that he tried to turn you into what he always wanted her to be. A proper Amarrian wholly devoted to him."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Entry 105: A Bad Day

Static muffled Predator's voice over comms and all she heard was, "Take down the Hurricane."

The Heart of Huola II uncloaked and locked the nearest 'cane, raining down a storm of laser fire into the hull of Torus Nunn of the 8th Order.

"Focus fire, focus fire goddammit I'm going down."

Her target was bleeding into armor as the FC again called primary, "Xirusphere in the Hurricane, focus your goddamned fire."

Fuck. Wincing, she realized she had locked the wrong target and Predator would lose his ship because of it.

Pred's Myrmidon exploded as she locked up the primary, leaving her drones on the other. They managed to clear the field though she couldn't help but feel guilty over Pred going down.

"I'm sorry," she said as she docked up in top station to wait out her GCC, feeling personally responsible for his loss.

It had been a bad day and kept getting worse by the hour.

She rolled her eyes at the dip in her security status. Though it was far from the pirate's coveted negative ten, it was precariously close to making it impossible to enter Amarr.

Over the previous weeks she'd been in too many situations where she had to engage a target that was not clearly defined as an enemy by CONCORD's standards. Thus, she'd been flagged as criminal by CONCORD and had taken a few hits on her security status.

Not that she regretted it in the least. Her rules of engagement were simple. If a fleet member was taking fire, so would she. Her job in the militia was simple. To protect Amarrian sovereignty. Anyone who got in the way of that was an enemy in her eyes, despite what the unscrupulous CONCORD labeled them as.

The FC's she flew under regularly would never demand it, but if they asked for their pilots to take GCC she would always volunteer to do so. She had as much loyality to her commanders, Predator Elite, Zoarial, Jackman, and Invelious as she did to the Empress herself. And now her security status was suffering because of it.

Still disappointed with herself, she readied her Imperial Navy Slicer and headed out to the astroid belts of Arzad to blow off some steam and raise her stats a bit.

She'd left fleet and disengaged from voice comms, wanting nothing more than to be alone while melting a few dozen Sansha ships under her lasers. Over the few jumps from Kourmonen to Arzad, she mused over how relaxing it had become to kill. Mindlessly kill. Some pilots harvested rocks and 'roids, she'd harvest the hulls and blood of the fanatical Sansha.

Once she'd hit the belts, Raphael Saint commed her and asked if she wanted company. She told him no though he showed up in local anyhow, fleeting her up. Moments later her CEO, Aldrith Shutaq, joined them. The trio worked diligently to clear away the belts of both Sansha, pirates, and random war targets.

They returned to Huola after receiving intel that Huola was being invaded by an enemy fleet.

A defensive fleet composed of cruisers quickly formed to take on the Minmatar as they were fleeing they system. The Amarr pursued them to Auga, only to have them undock in battleships.

The Amarrian fleet retreated and reshipped. Moments later the two fleets engaged on the Kourmonen Huola stargate, though the Amarr were unable to hold the field even with the help of Eran Mintor's scimitar.

Orders were given to retreat and dock for the night.

Once inside her Apartment in the 24th station, she sat down with a glass of wine and her journal.

***

Tonight was a clusterfuck. Not only was I responsible for getting Pred shot down, I ended up in an engagement with Kuan and did fire upon him.

After our last meeting I thought maybe I'd be able to avoid such a thing...but with the FC demanding he be taken off the field, what other choice did I have but to lock him up and fire? I will not jeopardize the safety of an entire fleet for the misguided feelings of friendship I have for a Minmatar.

Though I did hesitate. Did that make a difference? In the heat of the battle, it is hard to say. Their fleet tonight was well organized and a lot stronger than I've seen them these past few weeks. As organized as we were, we still suffered losses and had to retreat.

I was hoping that after the battle he would initate comms, that he would tell me that he understood that I was only doing my duty...but I imagine he is very disappointed in me.

I don't even know why I care. He should be no one to me, nothing but a faceless name on my overview. A flashing target.

Nothing else.

When I had seen him last, he asked me if I trusted him.

I told him yes.

He then asked to train me.

I told him I would.

I shouldn't allow him, this enemy of mine, to get so close. To know me as a person. He is far more dangerous to me in the flesh than he has ever been in a vessel of war. Several times on the battlefield I've hesitated, I am distracted by his presence. I am failing in my duties to the Amarr ...and now I realize how hard it must have been for Eran.

I am mere 'friends' with Kuan and I am torn between loyality to a friend and loyality to the Empire.

It must have been so much harder for Eran, being torn between the woman he loved and the people he had vowed to protect.

I made a mistake with Eran and he pays the price for it every single day. My selfishness destroyed him....and I just don't want history to repeat itself.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Entry 104: The Aftermath of Betrayal

Eran Mintor was sitting on a bench by the church looking at the steeple.

"Eran....."

He tensed as he heard her voice and turned slowly to face her, his eyes lit with fear. "Shalee..." He forced a smile, "....it's good to see you again."

She furrowed her brows as she tried to decipher the look of fear. "You were at the Gate...?"

"Yeah. Not for long."

"Why didn't you speak to me?"

He ran his hand up and down his arm as he looked at the grass, "...I wanted to, but what am I going to say?" He blinked a few times then lifted his gaze as he stood, beaming at her sheepishly, "You look beautiful...as you always have."

She tilted her head, back lit by the sun. "Thank you."

His smile melted into a frown, "....I miss you."

Her expression softened and as he frowned, "I miss you too."

"...Did you get my package?"

She nodded, "The slicers? Yes, thank you. It was very kind of you, though I don't think I should have them....I will just save them for you I think."

He frowned deeper as he shook his head, "They're yours now. They were never mine to begin with...called in a favor from a friend of ours. I'm sure she's happy that you have them." He pushed the hood from his head, revealing a lack of hair.

Shalee moved over to the bench he vacated and sat down, her hands folded in her lap.

"So...how have you been?" he asked.

She shrugged lightly, "Busy. At least trying to stay busy with the war and all." She glanced to his shaved head for the moment. "....and you?"

"I...I'm..." Eran winced briefly before putting on another forced smile, "I'm fine." His smile faded, "Shalee..."

"...yes?"

"Things will never be the same, will they?"

"...I don't know."

He walked slowly to her, apprehensively, and stopped in front of her off, "I've made a lot of mist-..." He choked on his words.

She nodded her head, agreeing, quickly looking down at the ground as her eyes misted over with tears. "Yes. You have."

He sat down on the grass and crossed his legs, picking at the blades of grass. "How could I fuck up this bad?!" He darted his eyes to the path leading to the new manor, contemplating leaving before looking back at the dirt and freshly picked grass. "I never wanted to hurt you."

She inhaled a sharp breath. "Then why did you do it? Why did you help someone to harm me Eran?"

"Because I wanted everything. I want everything and I can't have it. I was foolish, I thought it'd be a way, or something, to prevent the other militias infringing on the others space. I...I thought I was a....a superstar or some shit."

"You lied to me. You never even told me, Eran. You were in my god damned fleet and you were aiding the enemy to kill me?"

He looked to the grass again.

"How am I supposed to pretend that didn't happen? How am I supposed to just pretend like you're not a Brutor when you are."

He clutched his knees. "I'm nothing now....it did happen...I betray-god dammit," he winced, fighting off tears as he stood.

Tears dripped down her cheeks, "I forgave so much. So many times I tried to pretend you weren't destroying me."

He ignored the tears that ran down his face, "I...I hate myself for what I've done to you....if I knew this would've happened...I would've told you to stay away from me."

"This isn't about love, Eran, it was never about love. I love you. I love you. With every single breath I take, I love you, and a part of me will always love you. But my love wasn't enough for you, I wasn't enough for you. You wanted more, and all I wanted was to be with you."

He frowned. "I wanted everything....but I can't have that...I could have had...it's too late." He paced several steps from her and pulled his hood up.

"I don't want your empty promises."

"Of course not. My word is worth nothing. I could've been happy if I just gave up sooner...if I had listened."

"Not when you try to kill me no. Not when you say you only want to protect me yet you help the enemy to destroy me, no, it's not. Not when you say you wanted me, that all you wanted was me, but you destroyed what we had."

He turned to Shalee, his mouth open as if he were trying to speak.

She stood and started to pace, her hurt and anger fusing into a powerful emotion. Tears poured down her cheeks, her face flushed red, her vision blurred from the tears. "You have no right to make me feel sorry for you! I risked everything for you. I risked my reputation to be with you. I risked my LIFE to be with you, I would have done anything for you, I would have died for you. I fucking worshiped you and I was NEVER enough for you!"

"Some day you will find someone who will treat you the way I should have..." His voice was low, pained. "You will never know how much you mean to me Shalee, that's because my words can't be trusted anymore but that's my problem, not yours. I'm sorry for what I've done, I truly am." He glanced off into the distance, "...the manor is finished. I will tear it down and plant more trees there so you can have it the way it was before I came around."

She inhaled a shaky breath through her sobbing, "....you finished our house?"

He stared pitifully at her, "Please don't cry." He mumbled to himself, "God, what have I done to her?"

"Shalee....you'll be alright."

She shook her head, "No I wont. I wont. I'll never be alright again." She closed the distance between them, half stumbling, til she reached him and laid her head against his chest, "Hold me."

He looked confused and deeply saddened before placing a hand on the back of her head and an arm around her back, pulling her closer. "It's alright." He rubbed her back slowly and closed his eyes, letting out a deep sigh.

She stained his cloak with her tears as she slipped her arms around his waist, holding onto him tightly.He kissed the top of her head and spoke quietly to her, "Someday you will look back at this and be glad that you found me out for who I was before it really was too late....."

She tipped her head back, staring into his face as tears streamed down her cheeks. "That's all you can say to me?" She gasped for air, feeling breathless, "No more promises? You wont even try?"

"Shalee..." Eran looked down at her, "I still love you but I can't keep hurting you."

She stared at him, choking on the tears.

He frowned as he wiped his thumbs across her cheeks, swiping away her tears, "l promise that I always will love you....but I don't think I can ever forgive myself though. You deserve better."

She pressed her tear stained lips to his, "Just kiss me..." she whispered against his mouth.

His mouth melded to hers as he pulled her closer, holding her tight. She cupped his cheeks, holding his mouth to hers, kissing until they were both breathless.

He kissed the tears away as he caught his breath, "You give me too much."

Her forehead rested against his. She inhaled his scent, "I love you."

"I don't deserve this...you should be spitting on me. But I love you Shalee."

She tensed as she started to untangle herself from him, gasping for breath, wiping away the tears, "I love you but I haven't forgiven you."

He reached for her hand, curling his fingers around hers, "I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make sure we can at least still be friends. I need you, I know I do. It's beyond a want, and I wanted everything; that's why I fell so hard. It's up to you in the end.....I don't want to hurt you more than I have."

"I should go...duties and all of that," she said softly.

"Of course...take care, Shalee. Be well."

She wiped her cheeks with the edges of her sleeves, "I will. And you take care too....and we'll talk soon?" her voice was heavy with emotion, slightly higher pitched.

"Yes, of course!" He smiled to her as he squeezed her hand before letting it go.

She turned around quickly and dashed off into the distance.

He watched her, whispering, "I love you."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Entry 103: Commander Yida

"It seems I have some free time at the moment." Kuan Yida, Commander in the Tribal Liberation Force Militia said as he initiated comms with her.

"Mmm wonder why." She smirked to herself. Kuan was docked up in 'Auga Third' with twenty or so Amarrian militia hovering around the undock, herself included.

"And... you may note, lady, I was not on your combat loss log." Earlier, Shalee and Pred had went out for a roam, picked up one or two other pilots along the way and had been attacked by the Minmatar with overwhelming numbers. She had noticed Kuan being there just before she went down, though later when she checked the log of it, his name had not been listed.

"I did notice that, actually. Why?" she asked.

"I had other targets to shoot," he responded.

"Ah."

"However, it seemed as if it would be... unseemly. I don't know," he said.

"So. Unseemly," she muttered.

"Indeed."

"Looks like we are leaving, so you're free to undock," she said as orders had been given to warp to Amammake.

"Alas, some stationside duties now call, and nearly all my comrades have disbanded."

Before she killed the connection, she said, "You shouldn't hesitate."

"You have been my guest, and I failed at providing proper courtesy. I have yet to determine how that should be amended. In the meantime... it will be simpler to choose other targets in your fleets."

"I'd rather you not do that," she said flatly.

"It is my decision, Commodore. It requires no response or like act on your part, nor any obligation."

"You're rather stubborn, aren't you." Shalee sighed to herself. Men.

"So, you have noticed?"

"Absolutely."

"The way of the Xia teaches pride and honor, and those can be difficult masters."

"Mmm. I've hesitated too," she admitted.

"My pardon, lady. Pressing business calls. However, I will be in contact. Fly safe."

"Farewell."

***

After her patrol, she docked up in the Huola 24th station for the night. Once inside her apartment, she changed out of her uniform and made herself a drink, turned on some soft music and sat down to activate the date crystal he'd given her.

She took a sip of her wine as she started to read, 'Tao De Long Xia: The Path of the Dragon Warrior.'

She'd finished half a bottle of wine by the time she'd finished reading. Her thoughts drifted to when she'd first became aware of him, sometime out on the battlefield these last few weeks.

No doubt he became aware of her in the same time frame as well. He had wrote about her in his public logs, though she didn't know whether to be flattered or concerned. He spoke of her with equal flattery and sarcasam.

Of course.

He's the enemy after all, dammit.

And then he changed her world forever. He sent her the mail giving her proof that Eran had betrayed her.

Some part of her first thought he'd done it out of malice, that he must have taken great satisfaction to know that he had singlehandledy destroyed her life. Well no, to be fair, he handn't been responsible for Eran's actions. But still, had he not told she would have never known the depths that Eran had fallen to. The things he was capable of.

Later, she'd seen Kuan in local comms in Auga one night and randomly invited him to Houla for drinks in front of everyone. The guys she'd been flying with had laughed it off as if it were some joke, but she had been serious.

And he had accepted.

A few days later they met in Kourmonen instead, he'd taken her into the Vherokior occupated section of one of the space station to have drinks and dinner.

She'd been fascinated by the experience despite the open hostility from some of those who had hated Amarrians.

It could have been a trap. He could have easily delivered her over to the mob yet he did not, instead he protected her.

Her enemy defended her against his own people.

It was a strange situation and had continued to be one even after she'd left him for the evening.

Since then she'd hesitated on the battlefield, just for a few seconds, but enough to where Kuan managed to live. It had made a difference.

She had been disgusted with herself, not because she shot him, but because she hesitated. Kuan had wormed his way into her subconscious, gotten under her guard and now she was paying for it.


"Goddammit," she muttered under her breath.

After another glass of wine, she opened up her neocomm and sent off a message to him.

Dear Commander Yida...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Entry 102: His Story

 
"So what's the deal? Why do you not like Intaki...?" she asked Pred as they stepped outside into the snow. Moments earlier he had lost his temper with Rita, an Intaki and frequent guest at the Keep.

He pulled out a picture and handed it to her, "This was my family..."

She barely hid her shock, "What?" She held the photo up to the waning light, staring at it as her thoughts raced. She had flown under him for months now, had been to his Huola apartment for drinks, he'd come to Amarr to visit her and the rest of the Knighthood at the Keep. He was her friend.

Wasn't he? What did she really know about him? Apparently nothing. She didn't even know his name, only his call sign, Predator Elite. Gods. And now he had a wife? A family?

"My wife and two sons."

"...wife? You are married?"

"Was." He looked away.

"It's a long story."

"Tell me."

"I was in the Caldari militia at the time. My family and I had moved out to a low sec system."

She nodded. "So what happened?"

"I thought I could protect them, from anything." He started to pace. "I was out in a small fleet commanding as usual and the next thing I know the Gallente had taken over the system we lived in."

She folded her arms, rubbing them absently as she listened, her eyes wide, trembling from the frigid temperature.

"I quickly organized a larger fleet and ran back to the system. It was a masssive fight, over five hundred against a thousand."

"...we had less."

"I did everything I could in the book to try and get it back, to retake the system... but I failed at every attempt."

"During the fight the gallente learned that my family was there. They found them and took them."

"I tried to pursue but was intercepted and we had to fall back."

"They held my family hostage for over a year. Eventually I left the Caldari militia to look for them."

"When I found the Intaki that was holding them I demanded their release."

"They tried to negotiate...the Intaki wanted me to spy against the Caldari. I obviously told him no way and then at that moment....I lost everything that was dear to me."

She paled, "Oh god...."

"He murded my family right in front of my eyes...it happened so fast. They were dead before I even reached him."

"I buried them." His voice cracked, "I buried my wife and my two sons."

"I am so, so sorry." She blinked rapidly as if trying to keep tears from falling.

"I took the Intaki and tortured him for several months. He was asking to die every single day...eventually I agreed and killed him."

"At that moment I swore I would take the life of every Intaki I ever meet."

"...but Pred, you musn't do that. One person's actions should not speak for an entire race of people. He was a horrible, wicked man but...certainly not everyone is like that."

His jaw clenched as he reached out for the picture.

She stared down at the photo for a moment then passed it back to him, "I am so sorry."

"Maybe you're right Shalee.. but I will keep killing them as long as I am alive."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Entry 101: Shady Pilots


Shalee slanted her eyes left and right, following the small beam of light that Joshua flashed in front of her.

"So anyhow, I had went out on a patrol under Jackman. It was different from what I am used to with Predator, but it was fun, he took us out to Minmatar high sec. On our way back to Huola, we see Eran on a gate, on auto pilot."

Joshua nodded as he signed off on a chart, the motioned for her to stick out her tongue. He pressed a tongue depressor into her mouth, "An' then..."

"Say ahh."

"Ahhh."

She waited patiently as he pulled it away, then continued her rambling. "I hadn't flown with most of these militia pilots, they were dayshift, though Raphael was there. Anyhow so we see Eran, on autopilot. Someone mentions locking him, but I asked them not to. Jackman gave the order not to agress him since I know him. The fleet disbands and everyone is told to go on their way, we were in Kourmonen by this point."

Joshua moved to her side, otoscope in his hand, tilting her head to look into her ear, "Right, Kourmonen," he muttered distractedly.

"I make to the 24th station in Huola, but I'm hearing over comms that Eran is being bumped off the Huola gate by some of those pilots." She tilted her head to the opposite side as he examined her other ear, "So I go back. Haven't heard from Eran since that night he left the Keep mind you, I didn't even know he was flying again."

He added something else to her medical chart, pretending to listen, "Uh huh."

"I have never been so angry and so annoyed with my own damn militia. I start randomly locking up pilots on the gate and tell them I will go GCC, that they need to let him go."

He looks up at her, absently nodding. "Right."

"Mind you, I'm only in a harbinger and if I had to go GCC I probably would have died to gate fire. But that didn't matter to me, it was the principal of it. Anyhow, they end up letting him go, he jumps into Huola and makes it to the station. He never said a word to me after that, and I've still not heard from him."

"What did your CEO say about it?" He mumbled, not really paying her any attention.

"Ah, didn't tell him. Not like he is going to care, I think....well maybe he would care that I locked up Raphel, my own corp mate. But still. If I explained it to him, maybe not. I don't know. And anyhow he's unlikely to hear about it now."

Joshua nodded, "Right." He motioned her off the exam table, still looking down at her med chart.

"All done?"

"Yes, Commodore. You're all clear."

"Perfect. Time to fly." She gave him a mock salute as she headed off towards the pod station, "Oh hey, Joshua? Thanks for listening."

"Anytime Commodore," grinned wryly.



 
 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Entry One Hundred: A Certain Death

"He's coming for you and you've no one to stop him."

She closed her eyes to force the image away, "You're not real. You're dead."

"Garst wont stop. He is relentless, and he will not stop until he has you. Poor little Shalee, all alone with no one to keep the monsters away," Hadrien taunted.

"Stop it."

"If only you hadn't butchered the only one who ever really loved you."

"You're dead."

"Because you killed me."

"You deserved it! You DESERVED your fate I will not feel guilty. I will NOT." she screamed.

"...and yet you do. You cannot let me go, can you? You don't want to let me go."

She buried her face in her hands, trying to force him away but his voice was still there, inside of her mind.

"You destroy every man who loves you. It's your fault. Love is but a game to you, I taught you too well, didn't I my angel?"

"You're not real," she whispered.

"He is dying because of you."

"I didn't pull the trigger."

"He pulled the trigger because of you, angel. It might as well have been you."

"I could never do that, I could never hurt him."

"You're nothing but a source of misery to him, just like you are to every other man who loves you. You have to know that, have to know that if he truely dies his blood is on your hands."

She sat there rocking back and forth, whispering over and over, "I don't hear you, I don't hear you, you're not real."

Hadrien's voice finally faded away.

She dropped her hands and looked about the room as the AC unit kicked on, blowing a gust of artifically cool air against her feverish skin.

It had been five days since she'd slept. The lines between reality and nightmares blurred and she was finding it harder and harder to keep her sanity. It was easier to keep herself together while in pod, her focus was sharper when all she had to do was worry about the next kill. Her military training kept the hallucinations at bay.

Usually, anyhow.

Her last patrol was harder. Coming out of pod afterwards for a few minutes of downtime before the next fleet was set to rendezvous had nearly undone her.

Joshua, her chief pod tech, had pleaded with her to get some rest but she ignored him, telling him she'd be fine after a drink and a dose of stims.

She'd waited for the call to come over comms for the next roam, stretched out on a bland sofa in a bland room that connected to her hangar in Huola top station. The dim light made it all too relaxing and with nothing else to look at, she stared off at the oranged hued planet beyond the glass wall.

Moments later her thoughts became less controlled as she started to drift off. She tried to fight the heaviness of her lids but couldn't. She fell into a fitful state of half asleep, half awake, exhausted, feverish, and full of grief.

In those hazy moments she could hear Eran's voice. "Shalee I love you. You are everything to me." So many promises, so many lies. She drifted deeper as her exhausted body gave into the need for sleep. Dreaming. Nightmares. Seconds later the sound of a shotgun thundered through the hellish darkness.

She jerked awake to the sound still reverberating in the back of her mind.

But it wasn't over. Though she was awake she was slipping away. Too many stims and too little sleep combined with the utter grief that consumed her pushed her towards the edge. She was hallucinating, seeing the brother that she'd murdered.

Finally a voice broke through the madness, one over militia comms. The fleet was forming and she had less than five minutes to meet up with the FC in Kamela.

***
Later...

"Goddammit!" She yelled as she struggled in the vat of ambiotic fluid, trying to pull the mouthpiece from her lips, nearly choking the fluid.

She could feel Joshua's hands on her, trying to pull her up.

She slung her head from side to side, dripping with the translucent fluid. "Get me out of here goddammit!

"Easy Commodore, calm down."

"No you calm down! I just want out of this coffin already." She swiped her hands across her face, clearing her eyes, blinking several times as she tried to focus her vision. "The nerve of that man!"

Joshua looked at her cautiously as he handed her a towel, uncertain if he were supposed to ask what man.

"Lost one of my last harbingers in the blink of an eye to the most idiotic calls." She brushed the towel across her slick face as she stood up, waiting for him to unconnect her from the vat. "I mean really, in what universe does it make sense to 'just ignore' a gate camp while you're in a battle cruiser because the rest of your fleet is light and already gone. JUST IGNORE it he says. JUMP THROUGH, he says."

Joshua nodded as if agreeing with her as he finished the last deconnect, then helped her out of the vat."And we do. Raphael went first, he got caught, was taking heavy fire but making it back to the stargate. I'm there holding cloak, planning on burning back to the gate myself. And I do. I make it. I'm ready to jump through."

Her face flushed with hot emotion as she continueed to yell and vent, "But THEN he says, "engage." So I confirm this, right? Because I think surely he didn't say to engage. But he did. He says engage so what am I supposed to do but follow orders and ENGAGE and then I'm aggressed as Raphael makes it through the gate. The FC is pleased with this. Raphael makes it, but I'm stuck in the midst of it. And he tells everyone else to simply 'warp off'. Sure I'll just WARP OFF in a battle cruiser."

"So then he says, de-agress and jump back through the gate. Yeah okay I'll just sit here and let the whole goddamned Minmatar army beat the shit out of my hull while I wait it out and hope and pray that I can make it through the gate."

She growled an annoyed sound of frustration, "Which obviously didn't happen. And it was my own fucking fault for not trying to warp my pod out sooner so not only did I lose my harbinger and my crew, I lost my pod and implants."

Joshua stood outside of the shower stall, listening to her ranting, his mouth twisted into amusement. He much prefered her firey temper to the sullen melchanoly of the last week or so. With this new clone, at least her body was rested. And by the sound of her ranting, she was back to her old self.

She stepped out of the shower and sideglanced him, "What the hell are you smirking at?"

He tried to wipe the grin off of his face, "Nothing Commodore, nothing at all. Now, shall we go and see to those implants?"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Entry Ninety Nine: Betrayals & Obsessions

It had been four days since she'd slept. Four days of near-constant patrols in the war zone. When she wasn't in pod, her life had taken on a hellish hue.

Randomly she had received a neo comm message from a Minmatar Militia pilot, someone she had been fighting against almost on a nightly basis. Her first instinct was to think it was fake. A ruse from the TLF Commander, something to throw her off her game, something to distract her with while in pod. After all, lasers and missiles weren't the only way to destroy an enemy.

From: Kuan Yida
To: Shalee Lianne

Honored enemy:
It would seem that this message I received from your lover would be of interest to you. As he's regarded as a traitor to his people, you should know that this trait of his runs deep and double edged.
Kuan Yida
TLF Talon Commander
Xia of Huang Yinglong

From: Eran Mintor
To: Kuan Yida
Don't tell Amarr, but I was repping your sleipnir and some other Minmatar. Not that it matters.



For two days the message rolled around in her mind, taunting her. During some downtime she had checked the combat logs and reviewed some holo's of their previous patrols. Eran, in a fleet with her and Predator. It was all there. The 'kill boards' were proof enough. There was no denying what he had done.

It was the last straw.

He had broken her heart when he left the Knighthood. She'd been naive and foolish enough to believe that once he converted to the Amarr Militia and lived with her that it would be enough, that she would be enough to sustain him.

But it was not. He had left despite her tears, despite the arguments. He followed his convictions and left to build a 'new empire of peace' in null sec with some of his former friends.

She had forgiven him, she had tried to make it work despite being in different corporations fighting for different causes but he had made it difficult. He spoke out publically against the Amarr on the Inter Galatic Summit. It had humiliated her. He had shot down an Amarrian Militia member in Amarrian space. She was mortified. Over and over these incidents happened followed by his apologies.

She had forgiven him each and every time because she was hopelessly in love with him. Desperately so. Obsessively so.

It had been easy enough to put him above everything else because love was supposed to conquer all, because his love mattered to her more than the public humiliation she constantly had to endure.

That is, until he crossed the line and aided the enemy to kill her.

Until there was proof that not only would he betray the Minmatar and the Amarr, but that he'd betray her. That he would aide her enemy in destroying her.

It was unforgivable. How could he claim to love her and yet secretly aide the enemy to kill her? If he could do that, if he would lie about that, then what other secrets would he keep from her? Did she even know him at all?

She had confronted him in the Keep and he didn't even have the decency to deny it. She lost her temper, both with him and everyone else who tried to intervene for her 'causing a scene'.

She left Amarr after yelling at her former Captain, Mitara Newell, to 'fuck off', and headed back to Huola, back to all that was familiar and 'safe'. One patrol followed another.

She refused to sleep, to eat, to come out of the pod.

Eventually her emotions were under control enough for her to return, only to be told by Aldrith that Eran had tried to kill himself, that he had drunk himself into a pit of self loathing and put a gun to his jaw and pulled the trigger.

The nightmare ensued.

She tried to see him as he recovered at the Basilica but she wasn't allowed in. She stayed by his door til morning, only vaguely aware of the others who came and went; Kaleb, Literia, and Esna.

Eventually she was sent away and once again she returned to Huola, only to find Garst Tyrell there.

He taunted her in local while he challenged militia pilots to duels, for 'honor'.

Both Predator and Aldrith accepted. Those who did not were hunted anyway. As he left the system he sent her a neo-comm message:

From: Garst Tyrell
To: Shalee Lianne

We'll be together forever...or I'll haunt you until you are nothing but dust.
I'm going to be very blunt with you Lianne. You are making me very, very angry. I've taken a few dozen deep breaths and I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was more angry at myself than with you. You can't find your true nature without my help anymore than the a Matari slave would know what do with his freedom if he had it. Matters out of my control have kept me from upholding my promise to you (surprising isn't it princess? The universe doesn't revolve around you) but I'm here for you now, dry your tears. In the spirit of truth telling I have reason to be angry with you. Not ONCE have you tried to contact me, not ONCE have you reflected on your misspent life or the associations that have you got you in so much trouble. Repent princess and witness what your sins have wrought.
I've attached a present for you, although I don't expect you will like it much. Here's a preview:
(enclosed is the photo of Predator Elite's corpse)
Beautiful isn't it? I love that photo, the way the light reflects off the blood. I think is just positively delicious.
Pay attention Lianne. I promised you that if you refused me I will hurt the ones you love.
I'm raising the ante. When you've run out of friends I'm coming for you. If by that day you have not fallen to your knees, dried the tears from your eyes and begged me for repentance I will kill you. Unlike 'Predator Elite' (an arrogant windbag's call-sign if there ever was one) you don't have a backup clone, princess. Come to your senses, I beg you.
More of your friends will die. Only you can make the killing stop...