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