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."