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...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Entry 116: Blood Moon

Powder blue silk fabric wrapped around her torso and fell in soft folds to her ankles. Her shoulders were bare save for the loose, pearl encrusted straps that drooped against her upper arms. Her long hair had been curled and pinned up with matching pearl and diamond clips.

Around her neck she wore a necklace that cost more than the slicer's she flew.

A soft, warm breeze ruffled the hem of her dress as she crossed the walkway, moving towards the steps of the Imperial Opera House.

A thrill of excitment coursed through her as she glanced about, searching the crush of people who were lingering about, dressed in an assortment of silks and satins, jeweled, powdered and perfumed.

Gods she loved the Opera.

She'd always been seduced by the atmosphere, the elegance, the beauty of it all. And then there was the show itself, the music, the scenery, the stories.

It was rapture, it was bliss.

And tonight's performance would be especially intriguing because she hadn't a clue who invited her. Earlier, she'd received an invitation along with the dress and jewels, her ticket and directions.

She ventured several guesses though none seem to quite fit. Raphael had taken her to the opera once long ago but the last time she'd spoken with him, he'd made it clear that he pretty much loathed her. She mentally crossed him off the list, then considered Eran. He would be the type to suprise her but she doubted he would feel comfortable among the imperial nobles.

A whirlwind of silky colors bled together as the breeze picked up again. Laughter and conversation filled the night time air as everyone waited for the doors to be opened.

She thought of her friends who might have invited her. Aldrith perhaps. No doubt he'd enjoy the finery and music as much as she would, but he wouldn't send her costly jewels or make such a mystery of things.

Strolling around, she searched the crowd, trying to find the one who invited her. Other names crossed her mind but they didn't quite fit either. Alexander perhaps? Though they were becoming such good friends, it didn't make sense for him to send her jewels either. Predator maybe. He'd spent enough on her over the past few months that a few diamonds wouldn't be out of place. However, she wasn't certain he would be the type to enjoy an opera.

She shook her head no to him, then thought of others.

Invelious, maybe. She could easily imagine that this would be his type of scene. Imperial, rich, cultured. He would be in his element here. And he was fond of mystery, intrigue, and beautiful things. Just as she decided it must be him, she frowned, remembering he was off in null sec.

Sighing to herself, she let her thoughts settle on Verone for a moment. He certainly could afford it, and would be the type to throw isk around on jewels and clothes...but would he come to Empire? If he did, it would be to prove a point.

Perhaps he wanted to apologize, really apologize for the things they had fought over.

Just as she had settled upon Verone, a hand wrapped around her arm.

She turned, expecting to see the overly tall gallentean, "Apology accep-" she gasped. "Kathetel..."

"Expecting someone else?" The Imperial Agent smirked to her.

"Any one but you," she said dryly as she attempted to jerk her arm away.

His dark eyes lit with warning as he kept his fingers wrapped firmly around her arm. "Smile and look enormously pleased to see me," he whispered as he lead her through the crowd.

Once they stepped through the opened doors, the house lights flickered several times, warning the patrons they had but ten minutes to find their seats.

He guided her to a private alcove, leaning over to whisper against her ear, "You've been assigned a new mission."

"What? No. I don't work for you!"

He squeezed her arm, "Calm down," he warned. "This is one assignment I think you'll enjoy."

She looked at him skeptically. "Go on," she whispered with reservation.

"Your Father has escaped. We assume he will eventually find his way to your brother, Keon."

Her Father, once a wealthy holder and distinguished member at the royal court had openly defied the Empress's proclamation of emancipation. He had made his fortune upon slave trade and would suffer from the decree.

He was arrested on charges of treason and heresy plus countless other minor charges. Being of noble birth saved his life though he would spend his remaining days in prison.

She paled from the news. "I don't know why you're telling me this...I left that life behind. I don't even know where Keon is...they are all but dead to me. You should know that...so I don't know what I could even do."

"Easy, really. Your task will be simple. You will seek out your brother and make amends, gain his trust, and when your Father shows up, we will handle the messy details." He winked at her, "That is, unless you'd rather do it yourself. I remember how you enjoyed Hadrien..."

Hadrien. Her youngest brother. The memory hit her suddenly. Blood everywhere, drenching her pale white hands, rolling down her wrists, splattered against her face. Standing in a pool of it, his lifeless body sliced into a hundred pieces or more.

She closed her eyes, feeling faint.

He slid an arm around her waist to steady her, "Come now, enough of that. You kill thousands every day, don't get hung up over one little death." He looked at her sharply, "Straighten up now, we've an opera to see. Blood Moon. I thought it fitting..." He suddenly smirked.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Entry 115: Rushing Anka

Intel had been reported by Admiral Mitara Newell just as their small fleet of seven or eight pilots jumped the star gate, making their way towards Minmatar space.

A military complex had been scanned down in the system of Anka and currently was being fought for by General Sassawong of the Tribal Liberation Force.

"Eran, do you think we can make it?" she asked as she noted the time. It would be a close call.

"We will try," he told her then gave orders to the fleet to backtrack the four jumps back to Huola to reship in something smaller, anything that could activate the accel gate to get inside of the complex.

Minutes bled away as they made it to the 24th station and reshipped, though now they faced another four jumps to Anka.

"Burn best speed, hold on the accel gate."

Two minutes remained on the clock as the small fleet warped in. Sassawong was forced to retreat.

Though there had been a minor skirmish on the star gate as one of the late comers of the fleet was engaged and shot down, the complex was held by Amarr.

Four ships had been lost in the process, but it was a small price to pay to keep control of the system.

Anka was precariously close to falling. Every complex mattered.

***

The Keep was eerily quiet as Shalee made her way to the training room just before sunrise. She had been restless, unable to sleep, and wanted to work off some of her frustration.

As she stopped at the entrance, she could hear the familiar voice of the holographic instructor, Mikuela. With her curiosity piqued, she stepped into the room and watched as a Jacke Incarnate thrust his epee towards a holographic foe. Mikuela paced around him, giving critique on his stance.

As if sensing her presence, Jacke remotely froze the holographic instruction as he turned around to face her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you..." Shalee apologized.

"No one ever comes here at this hour," he said.

"I couldn't sleep." She moved over to a bench and dropped her workout bag. "You're...Jacke?" she asked, only vaguely remembering the boy, having little contact with the children of the Keep.

He looked at her with a steady gaze, "Yes. Jacke Incarnate."

"Right, of course." She felt uneasy without understand why. "So...you train every morning?"

"I do. I will have to be in the best physical condition if I want to get into the Navy."

"You're going to join the Navy?"

"When I am older, yes," he said with unquestionable confidence. "And then Capsuleer training after that. I want to be a fighter pilot."

"Well that is really admirable. We can always use more loyal pilots," she smiled.

"You need more people you can trust," he said eerily.

Her brow quirked, "That's an odd thing to say...especially from one your age."

"I'm almost eleven."

She stared at the Brutor boy who was already taller than she was. "Enjoy being a kid. Too soon you'll be an adult and wishing you were still young."

"But I'm not a kid."

"You're not an adult either," she responded in an argumentative tone, briefly wondering why she was even bothering to quarrel with a child.

"But I will be, soon," he said matter of factly.

"Yes, well soon isn't now."

"No, it is not," he said reasonably. "But still. You need people you can trust, people who wont betray you. That will be me." He poked his thumb towards his chest.

She lifted her brows again, "Oh is that a fact? How do you think you know so much about me anyhow?"

He gave a shrug. "People talk, I listen."

"Yeah well, you probably shouldn't believe everything you hear."

He turned his back to her as he swung his epee from left to right, slicing through an imaginary enemy. "I don't. But..."

"But?"

"Everyone knows about Zenton."

She sighed, "Right, of course. Everyone knows just how much of a fool I was to trust a man I loved, once." She picked up her bag and slung it over her shoulder as she headed for the door, having lost her mood to do anything. "See ya, kid."

He smirked as he looked over his shoulder, watching her disappear before he resumed his training.

Half an hour later, he jerked around as he heard one of the holo-drones activate. The image of a little girl appeared, smiling a dimpled grin, "Jacke!"

"Hey kid," he said as he smiled in return to the red-headed little girl.

She rolled her eyes, "You shouldn't provoke her, she is sad right now."

"Sad? Why?"

"Because something bad happened with Predator."

"What happened?"

She put her hands on her hips as she started to speak, "He made her mad because he was in Huola and they were sitting outside the big space station...it was her and Eran and Sabotage and CF Proctor." She nodded matter of factly as she told her tale, "And then two other space ships showed up! And they were part of Pred's new corporation. And Pred told them on comms that if there was a fight he was going to rep his corp friends!"

Jacke looked at her oddly, "Rep?"

"Repair their ship," she explained patiently, "With the big swirly lights!" She swayed her hands around.

"Oh, okay."

"So then, the bad guy shot at CF, and Pred did rep him, but he repped CF too. But it made everyone angry," she sighed a frustrated little sound.

"She doesn't trust him anymore?"

The little girl shrugged. "She doesn't know what to think. He's helped her a lot but...he is a pirate too."

"So she doesn't trust pirates?"

"Well..." her voice took on a higher pitched sound. "Not really, 'cept maybe one or two." She thought of Verone. "She knows Pred wont hurt her...but he's not the same person he was to her before."

"Well really, who is?" he asked seriously.

She grinned again, "Good point! So do you want to come play Empire with me!" The little girl looked at him for half a second before dashing off towards the exit, knowing he would follow. "Meet you outside! The last one out is a rotten..." The holodrone blinked off as she activated somewhere else in the Keep.

"Hey no fair!" he yelled out as he took off towards exit, "Cheater!"

Down the corridor her giggling could be heard just before another holo-drone deactivated.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Entry 114: Verone

They stopped at the security checkpoint, manned by two huge Brutor Gurista guards. She glanced around nervously, looking at the bare steel walls. The room was illuminated with bright halogen lighting, giving the area a cold, clinical feeling. She shivered as she side glanced, looking to Ethan Verone as he spoke with one of the Brutors.

"Morning Jiko. Many to clean out?"

The brutor guard nodded, "Two, five, six, eight, nine, ten."

"Open her up."

Verone looked to Shalee as Jiko slid him a matte black .50 calibre pistol not too different from his own custom sidearm.

He took the gun and lead her toward the huge glass door as it opened with a hydraulic whine, ushering her into the coridoor.

She followed him in, her gaze falling upon the VETO corp crest at the far end of the hall. A feeling of nausea overwhelmed her, she wasn't sure if it was from having too much to drink at the Last Gate or the fact that she was standing in probably the most dangerous place in all of New Eden with the most savagely notorious pirate of all. Ethan Verone, CEO of the VETO corporation.

She probably shouldn't have said that she could do what he did. She had a bad habit of putting her foot in her mouth, and this time Verone wasn't about to let it go. He brought her to his interrogation cells as if to prove to her otherwise.

Apprehensively she stepped closer to him as he started to explain the set up.

"These are our cells, the ten to the left are holding cells, the ten to the right are interrogation suites... you're more than likely not going to like what you see."

Shalee glanced down to the gun then to Verone questionably, a feeling of dread coiling in her stomach. "I'll be fine." she whispered soberly.

Verone headed to the first door on the left, tapping in a long code to the lock, before the deadbolts fired open. "This guy is an Angel Cartel informant. We found he was working against us in our staff for over six months, feeding intel back to Curse."

He slid the heavy door open. The room was empty save for a heavily built Civire resting in the far corner, huddled against the wall. He was badly bloodied, the fingers and thumb of his right hand missing, his whole frame battered and bruised.

"I see," she said blandly, trying to keep her composure as she glanced into the room, her dark blue gaze locking on the Civire.

"We pulled him in, and he's given us valuable intelligence, to counter the surveillance that the Cartel has had on us. He'll probably die in this room of blood loss at some point, when we remove a few more body parts."

Sighing, he resealed the door. He moved to the second door and tapped in an entirely different code, clearly from memory as if he knew the place well.

"You think this is supposed to frighten me or shock me? I'm in a war Ethan, I know what happens to traitors."

He opened the second door without replying to her. A wiry framed Intaki sat in the center of the floor, in much the same condition as the Civire was, missing toes, fingers, and an eyeball that looked to have been crushed by concussion.

"This guy, worked as a crewman for one of our pilots for three years. He was finally rumbled trying to swap a vial of strong exile combat booster out for hydrogen chloride. It would have killed our pilot, and rendered his neural burn useless."

He leveled the pistol with the Intaki and squeezed off a round with a loud crack, the weapon kicking, and lighting up the room in an orange flash for a second as the Intaki's skull opened up across the floor.

Shalee stared at the man for a long moment, her gaze locking with his just before Verone killed him. She gasped in horror, not expecting the sudden violence.

Verone closed the door, the light above it turning from red to green as he tapped at the lock control.

Shalee offered up a silent prayer as the door closed and forced herself to follow after him, her eyes wide with shock, walking as if in a daze.

He shrugged as he passed by rooms three and four, "You don't want to see those."

He stopped at the fifth door and opened it in the same manner. The occupant, a young Brutor, no older than eighteen was sprawled out, breathing shallow as Ethan spoke to him, "Look at me."

Verone smiled and spoke quietly as the Brutor looked up to him, "Good boy. It's over now, thank you for your help." He squeezed a round off without hesitating, dreadlocks flicking around as the Brutor's head snapped back, flesh and sinew spraying the floor. He closed the door, the light above the door turning green.

"This is what I have to do, to protect my people." He seemed a little distant, removed. "The militias... they're a walk in the part. You shoot from a distance. You see a battleship explode in space, and don't really concern yourself that you just killed six thousand people. You just try and catch the pod. This? This is something else."

She glanced up to the green light, her eyes rimmed in red from crying, silent tears trickling down her cheeks. "You think I couldn't do this to protect those that I love?"

"I don't do this to protect people I love. I do this because it's what has to be done, it safeguards my business, and I get paid to do it, it's as simple as that."

"Understand, Shalee. This isn't a place you want to be," he sighed quietly.

She leaned against a door, arms folded across her chest, trying to stop trembling. "This doesn't frighten me. This? I could do this. I'VE DONE THIS." she said in a higher pitched tone, on the verge of hysteria.

"Why wont you listen to me..."

She lifted her chin belligerently, "Because..." Tears streaked her cheeks. Because you don't know the things I am capable of either. You don't know the things I've done, the things I could do again if I had to. She squeezed her eyes closed as she sniffled, a look of misery flashing across her face as she realized she couldn't shut out the cold brutality of what she'd just seen. Yes, she had done things in the past, horrible unforgivable things. But she had chosen not to be that person anymore. When given a choice in her life, she couldn't do those things. And he knew it, he must have known all along and that was why he brought her here, to make her realize the truth of who she really was.

...and who he was.

She blinked open her eyes as she felt his thumbs swiping across her cheeks, wiping away her tears. "Let's get out of here...I hate this place."

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Entry 113: Her Own Betrayal

His mouth pressed against her chin before he lowered his head, grazing his lips along her throat.

"Do you still love me?" she asked with uncertainty.

"I never stopped," he whispered as he kissed her lips softly.

He pulled the sheet lower, baring her pale skin, showering delicate kisses along her shoulder as he curled his fingers around hers, pushing them above her head. "I had almost forgotten..." He hovered above her, starring down at her.

"...forgotten?"

"Just how beautiful you are."

Her fingers tightened around his as she starred up at him, "Zenton...I can't do this again, I don't want to give you up again."

"I'll never make you give me up Shalee, not ever."

"I do love you so."

"I love you Shalee, more than there are stars in the heavens."

His mouth was on hers again, his kiss aggressive. Possessive. She could feel the weight of his body as he lowered himself onto her. Zenton.

Her mind was reeling as a thousand thoughts collided. Something was wrong. She pulled her mouth from his as she rolled her head to the side, "Stop..."

"You have nothing to worry about, you're safe."

"Zenton..."

Thunder rolled across the sky beyond the windows and for a moment the scene shifted. She was in her pod, flying across one of the Minmatar backwater systems, running from him. Fear coiled in the pit of her stomach. "Consider me KOS, Shalee."

The dream shifted again and in a flash she was back in bed with him.

His mouth was at her ear, whispering, "You have nothing to worry about, you're safe."

She gasped as cold realization slid across her face, "No...you said to consider you kill on sight....you betrayed me. You killed me, you have betrayed us all...you...oh god you hunt me every night. You try to kill me...oh god..." She was struggling in his arms, trying to push him off of her.


Thunder crashed outside again, this time waking her. She jolted up in bed and stared around the empty room, her heart thudding loudly as the emotions of the dream lingered. Love, loss, and betrayal.

Sleet pelted against the window panes and occassionaly the dark sky would flash with lightning. She sat there, arms wrapped around her knees after pulling them to her chest, listening to the storm raging and the fireplace crackling.

Minutes passed before she could fully push the dream from her mind. "God damn him," she muttered under her breath as she reached for her neo comm to do some work, desperately needing to drown herself in the mundane to keep from thinking about it.

She flipped through her mail, not really concentrating, her thoughts all over the place. She barely noticed the notifications from Concord. Down another war dec.

"Couldn't handle the pressure of us fighting back huh," she said to herself as she reread the retraction.

The Knighthood had taken the fight to the Templars, staging a daring bash against their POS inside of a random wormhole. Her pilots had managed to utterly humiliate the CEO of the Templars by having one of his few remaining members betray him during the fight. With the help of Omnicide Incarnate and Condor Amarr from PIE, the POS was destroyed the next morning.

As their POS fell apart, so did their corporation.

The following night her guys had managed to station camp one of the True Slave pilots in Amarr, frustrating him to the point of him withdrawing their war dec as well.

One by one they withdrew from the fight until the Knighthood was only at war with Star Fraction. Knowing that things were about to get really complicated for the nefarious Alliance, she wondered how long it would be until they were withdrawing their war as well to concentrate elsewhere.

With a sigh, she turned off her neocomm, leaving the rest of her mail untouched. She stood and paced to the window, trailing a hand through her long hair. The dream continued to haunt her. She couldn't quite shake off the feelings of betrayal, of confusion.

"Why?," she whispered to herself, already having an inkling of why.

It had been a complicated affair.

Her thoughts drifted to the weeks before she had met Eran. Technically she was still engaged to Raphael though she hadn't seen him in months and had no word of him. The engagement was all but in name by that point.

And suddenly Zenton was there again. Suddenly he was everywhere. Flying with her, meeting her in random places for drinks and long talks about everything under New Eden.

Perhaps she depended upon him too much, needed him too much.

So many memories played through her mind. Things he had said, things she had confessed.

And then there was Eran. At first he was nothing but a target, someone the Empire had sent her to convert by any means necessary. She hadn't meant to fall in love with him.

In the process she pushed Zenton out of her life and now she was paying the price for it. Whatever he did to her now, she probably deserved. Or worse.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Entry 112: Pirates & Saints

(Two days ago..)

Evening sunlight illuminated her lithe form as she stood with both hands cupped around the hilt of a custom built, .50 semi-auto pistol.

The light caught on the embedded gems that formed the KOTMC logo and splashed a prism of color across her face. She squinched her eyes and turned, quickly taking aim at a target across the snow covered field.

Sound exploded as she unloaded fourteen rounds of armour piercing into a makeshift dummy that she'd nicknamed Zenton the Bastard.

As she reloaded the clip, a sound behind her caught her attention. She turned swiftly with the gun aimed steadily.

"Goddammit, don't sneak up on me like that," Shalee snapped.

"S-sorry," Brystal studdered.

"It's alright. So what's up?" Shalee asked as she lowered the gun.

"We've another war dec."

"Oh? So what are we up to now, five?" She rolled her eyes, "So who have we pissed off now?"

"They call themselves Templars. The previous corp of our newest recruits."

"Oh. A Caldari Militia corp war deccing us? That's interesting. Any idea why?" Shalee asked.

"I haven't found out yet, just got word, thought I'd come tell you."

Shalee nodded. "Thanks. I'll speak with the recruits later, see if I can figure out what is going on."

Brystal hesitated, looking as if she wanted to say something. Shalee stared at her, waiting for her to leave. When she did not, she sighed, "What? You want to say something, so say it," she said with an impatient tone.

The blonde Gallente dropped her gaze and clasped her slender fingers together. A moment of silence hung between them as she gathered up her courage, "...some of the pilots are worried."

"About?"

"There have been some rumors...about Aldrith missing. Some are saying that maybe VETO has something to do with his disappearance. That you must know something about it because you've suddenly barred VETO pilots on the premise."

"Oh for fucks sake. I did that because one of the VETO pilots almost killed Math'ra Hiede outside our front doors. Once I have word from Verone that it has been handled, then I'll lift the ban. But not until then," Shalee said.

Brystal nodded, "Perhaps you should issue some kind of statement to the corporation."

"I will. Any other gossip I should be aware of?"

"Non...well..." Brystal hesitated again, hating to be the bearer of bad news. "Raphael has stopped logging flight hours and...well."

"Let me guess. That is my fault too? I assure you that if Raphael cannot find the time or dedication to serve the Empire that is no fault of my own. I am not responsible for him."

"I know." Brystal shrugged demurely. "I just thought you'd like to know."

"Sure. Thanks."

Shalee turned, waiting to hear Brystal's waning footsteps crunching in the snow before taking aim at the makeshift dummy, renaming it Raphael the Jerk as she unloaded her frustration in the form of fourteen precise rounds into the target's crotch.

She reloaded and fired again as the conversation with Raphael ran through her mind...

***
"I want to know what I am to you. Why, when I'm the one who's hurt you the least, I'm treated the worst." Raphael asked, standing in front of her in the Keep's cathedral, arms crossed.

"You're not treated 'the worst'. But you want things I cannot give right now."

"When can you?"

She eyed him curiously. "You want me to give you some time that I can commit? It's not going to happen like that, I don't know if I ever can commit to anyone anymore."

His face flashed with fury, "I didn't do a goddamn thing to you! I walked out of that cabin because you greeted my return with news of your sleeping at Zentons. And you...." he shook his head, almost speechless, "you put it on the same level as Eran's aiding the enemy's efforts against you and Zenton's destruction of your property. What is wrong with you!?"

"I do not. But things have changed..." She whispered with frustration.

"Yes, things have changed. You have no sense of gravity or responsibility any more. I don't even know who the fuck you are anymore," he accused.

She widened her eyes, her temper elevating, matching his own. "The fuck I don't have a sense of responsibility? I have been busting my ass keeping this corp together while fighting this war!How dare you say such a thing. How dare you."

"And look what's happened! Reds prancing about our very headquarters, ex-milita members hunting our Knights. A very fine job you've done!"

She glared at him. "The rules of the Keep have been set by our CEO, that is not my doing, and how dare you blame me for Zenton war deccing us!"

"Don't give me that shit, Shalee. I know you share his views of who should be alllowed in. Hell, he wanted fewer reds in there than you did! What about Muskells? He left under your supervision and now hunts us the very same."

"You don't know anything at all. I'm the one who has tightened the security here. God, you're pathetic, and if you really believe I'm doing such a poor job then leave."

"And now you're making a goddamn mockery of yourself for the entire cluster to see!" He said, showing her his datapad of her recent words on the IGS.

She rolled her eyes.

"That's exactly the response I expected from you. You used to have some self respect, and people could respect you. Now you've just made yourself a goddamn sideshow for all to enjoy."

Her face flushed with hot anger as she looked away, "Go to hell."

"Is there no part of the woman I fell in love with left in there?"

"Stop living in the past, Raphael."

"The past is the only place where you're not a goddamn joke anymore."

She stared at the stained glass window across the room. "If that's what you really think of me....then I don't know why you are even here."

"I came here because I thought I could get you back, thought I could stop you from going down this road you're travelling. When Eran betrayed you, he betrayed you, I thought that was my chance. But like an idiot you went running back to him. You let him back in, and now taunt me with his very presence. I didn't do anything close to what he or Zenton did, yet I'm the one being trampled into the dirt. You told me you loved me, but I mistakenly believed that it was the kind of love you used to have for me, and not the love you have for your favorite pair of shoes. I'm tired of the way you've treated me, the way you're treating me now, and you're non-answers and lies. I did nothing, nothing, to deserve what you've done to me."

She tilted her chin up defenisvely as her eyes watered, though she did not cry. "How dare you speak to me like this," she said in a very low voice. "You are so god damned selfish, I can't believe you are even saying such a thing to me, after all I have given to this Empire. To this war. To this corp. To you. I gave myself to you and you fucked it up and I can't let it go. Yes I love you but I've said all along that I'm NOT going to be involved in another relationship. Not exclusively, not with you."

"The only thing I fucked up was coming back. I should've known then that you were goddamn insane. And now you lend yourself out to whoever catches your fancy, making public offers for sexual liasons. The woman I fell for is dead. Gone. And you are still in a relationship. I can't go 2 jumps without hearing you called "Eran's woman." But go, you two deserve each other. He betrayed everyone and you betrayed me. The two traitors, together forever."

She shoved past him and stormed toward the exit, yelling as she pushed the doors open, "You're a goddamned bastard." She looked over her shoulder at him, "You don't have the slightest fucking clue about anything."

The door slammed behind her.