The young pilot exited the Imperial Hangar and made her way down the dimly lit corridors of the 24th station in Huola.
It was 'night'. Simulated, anyhow. There was no defining moment of time in space, no sunlight to mark the day, no sunset to bring upon evening, no soft moonlight to announce the midnight hour. She was likely to see at least ten sunsets falling across various planets during her patrols. She'd warp past a dozen or more moons while prowling for the enemy, and the stars, they were constant.
The halls were quiet despite the crush of pilots flowing down the corridors, some making their way to the hangars for morning patrols, others just getting off of duty.
She nodded to a few familiar faces of the militia, men and women she flew with almost nightly but barely knew out of pod. Tonight her expression was more curious as she really studied some of their faces, wondering which of them were being paid off by the Minmatar.
No doubt there were spies among those faces.
Probably some Star Fraction spies as well. She knew they employed a few, had proof of it when she'd said something in the militia channel about the annoying alliance and within a minute, her words were sent back to her with a message, "We love you too."
Not that she cared...much, anyhow. Of course it was a nuisance, but then again, that was the way of militia. There were a handful of people you'd trust with your life and the rest, you just prayed they weren't selling out the location of your fleet for a few ISK.
Despite all the subterfuge and betrayals, the Amarr Militia still managed to dominate the field more often than not.
She turned the corner and stopped off at a viewing area, slumping down onto one of the stiff benches and sat indian style while she pulled out her neo-comm, having a look at her piled up messages.
Frowning, she read each of the notifications from Zenton Karvash involving her personal standings with him. Once upon a time she would have never imagined that he could ever fire upon her, but now the grim reality of what they had become blinked in front of her.
Two notifications, the first setting her to terrible standings. A few hours later he had rescinded the terrible standings and marked her as neutral. Had he felt guilt? What was his intentions, anyhow?
The next message answered the question.
Hours after he'd changed her status, war was declared.
She frowned deeply. Zenton? At war with KOTMC. With her.
Zenton Karvash. Her Zenton. Memories crashed through her mind like a tidal wave. So many moments spent with him, so much love given, so much heartbreak taken. He had been her first love, a man who had taken her under his wing when she'd joined PIE, he'd taught her so many things. How to fly, how to trust, to love.
A feeling of dread overwhelmed her as she remembered...
"You were a murderer for pleasure and did it without remorse, you took pleasure in it...and then you left me and I thought we were over."
"I did ...and I don't know why.. I have no explanation. I had no remorse at the time but when I spoke to you ... the shame of what I had done caught me and I couldn't stay..."
"I wish you hadn't of left me.."
"I haven't left you..."
"What do you want Zenton."
"What do I want?"
"Yes. What do you want. From life...from me..."
"I want to spend it with you, and for us both to be happy no matter where we are. I love you Shalee ... you're all that matters in my life."
...and now he wanted to kill her? It made little sense. Granted they had drifted apart. She wasn't even sure when it had happened or why. Had it been because of Eran?
She tried to force him from her mind by reading the rest of her messages. Two other war decs, bringing the total up to four. Absently she read the reports from CONCORD and mentally dismissed them. Star Fraction declared war. Big deal, not like she wasn't already at war with them, her waning security status was proof of that. The other corp was unfamiliar, but after checking into it, she realized it was quite small.
Shrugging to herself, she skimmed through her personal messages. One from her missing CEO caught her eye:
First I must apologize for my disappearance; I never expected to be gone so long, but alas it looks very much as though I will be trapped for much longer, lest I am granted some odd mercy by my current 'captors'. I have not truly been kidnapped so to speak but I may as well have been by most standards. I have limited time with which to access the galnet and have taken most of it to attempt to sort out most of the more pressing matters facing the Knighthood at the moment. I owe you an explanation, even if it is a brief and brutal one for now. Please, whatever I write here, do not yet repeat to anyone else, especially Mitara. I have already sent her a message promising to explain everything in the detail she deserves.
Simply put Shalee, I have been sent to war. Not what we do as capsuleers, but planet side. No stations, no ships, and no pod. I must be honest with you; I could very well die before I am allowed to leave. Should that happen, the Knighthood is yours to do with as you will. Take up the mantle of leadership or disband it, it is up to you, but you are the only person I can trust with the responsibility for now. I can only imagine how stressful this all must be for you, but as long as I am alive I will attempt to guide you through letters or comms.
Again, I am sorry for all of this, and I will attempt to explain what has happened more throughly next time I get the chance. Hopefully I'll be able to negotiate something with my leader so that I may get into space now and again and attend to pressing corporate matters, but there is no guarantee.
I have faith in you, Shalee. Be strong, for the whole Knighthood.
She turned her neocomm off, leaving several messages unread. It was too much, far too much to deal with. Betrayals and possible deaths and all the added responsibility of the corp.
Stretching out on the bench, she turned her head and stared off into the inky darkness of space, trying to calm down.
Aldrith had faith in her?
"What the fuck am I going to do?" she muttered under her breath. "I can't even manage my own life, how can I suddenly be responsible for everyone elses in the corp?"