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
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.
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...