A faint blueish glow illuminated her face as she accepted the holographic call from her CEO, Aldrith Shutaq.
She paced the catwalk inside her Houla hangar in her pod suit, the holodrone following beside her, "Yes?"
Aldrith offered a small smile. "Hello Shalee. Just checking on you. Everything alright?"
"Alright... the sarcasam is not lost on me, but alright. We were just worried since you did not come to the fleet."
"I need some time away from the front. I'm going to work on my security status until it is positive," she said as she neared the med station. A team of pod techs swarmed around her, taking vitals and preparing her flight.
"I understand. Take as long as you need. And if you ever need to talk..."
"I'm fine. Don't worry about me."
"Shalee, of course I'm going to worry," he said.
"Everything is fine. I promise. I've had a bit of clarity."
"I know how that goes... I actually had to have several moments of clarity before I became who I am today. I didn't turn out too bad, I hope?"
She interrupted suddenly, "Don't hate me for what he does. I've tried to be with him but he makes it impossible. I'm done with men."
Aldrith blinked. "Shalee, do you really think I'd blame you for not wanting to be with a drunk? I still admire and care about him, but he has some... issues to work through now. And... wow, done with men? I'm both shocked and proud."
He smiled a little more, wincing when the cut on his lip opened a bit. "Yeah, he and I had a... talk. One he doesn't remember, but I think a few things stuck.
"She gave a glance to the holo, "What happened to your lip?"
Aldrith laughed light-heartedly. "Funny you'd notice that before the black eye and broken nose..."
She frowned at him, "I wasn't really paying attention, about to undock soon...did he do that?"
"I did a few things to him too..Heh... Brutor. You know. We reached an understanding though." Aldrith said.
"So... when do you think you'll come home?"
"A few days at least," she answered vaguely.
Aldrith nodded, "Take care, Shalee."
"You too, Aldrith." She killed the connection.
A thousand images and sounds processed at once as she undocked from the 24th in Huola. The ambient noise over comms flowed across her mind like a slow moving river. She picked through the information for the only thing that would stop her from her task. Lukka.
Thankfully he wasn't in system.
By habit, she immediately warped to the insta undock while setting her destination for Lantorn, a system she once lived in during the early part of her capsuleer career.
She'd made up her mind and now all she had to do was actually go through with it. She needed a fresh start, to clear her mind. A new body. A new way of existing.
Her thoughts raced. She knew what she wanted done...but by who's hand? She scanned local and saw Predator Elite docked up. He'd do it, probably, if she begged...but it would cost him standings. She wouldn't ask it of him. She quickly dismissed everyone else in local as well. No, it couldn't be by an Amarrian, it wouldn't be worth the standings hit they would have to take.
A pirate? They wouldn't care about standings. A pirate made the most sense...but who? She thought of Verone. Could he? Would he? He'd probably yell, call her dramatic. No, it couldn't be at his hands. Nor at the hands of the only other pirate she trusted, Vincent. He'd probably tell Verone first, anyhow.
That left the enemy. A few names flickered across her mind, bloodthirsty men who would see to it in a heartbeat...but she didn't want it to be like that.
It had to be symbolic. Had to mean something, else what was the point?
And then she knew who it had to be. She took a chance and invited him to fleet with her. She'd take it as a sign from God that she was doing the right thing, if he were free, then she'd go through with it. If he rejected the fleet, then she'd simply dock back up and forget the whole foolish idea.
"Thank you for accepting the fleet invite..."
"My pleasure Shalee is there something I can do for you?" Zenton Karvash asked.
" ...yes. Could you meet me in Lantorn, for old time sakes?"
"Alright I'll be there shortly."
"I'm going to ask you to do something that should come easily to you." she said as she jumped through the Kourmonen star gate.
"Alright." His tone was curious.
"I w-want you to pod me."
He hesitated, "Why on earth would you want me to do that?"
"Because it's something that needs to be done, because I'm starting over, and I want to fully start over. New body. I don't want the taint of this bounty. Makes me feel like a pirate. I'll devote myself to raising my security status after you do this..."
He said nothing.
"Will you? Will you do this for me Zenton?"
"A fresh start isn't as easy as a new body Shalee... I would know that better than anyone, are you sure that is what you really want to do?"
"I know it's not that easy, but it is symbolic. At least for me." She made the final jump into Lantorn. He was there in unchartered space. She warped to him in nothing but a shuttle.
He was silent for a moment before answering her, "Alright on one term," he said as he locked her, a warning sounded off inside the Amarrian shuttle. Pred's shuttle. She ignored it.
"And that would be?" she asked, trying not to lose her nerve.
"Someone suggested to me I need guidance I would like you to possibly be that guidance, not like theres anyone else who I could turn too."
" ...guidance? You want me to help you? Help you do what, Zenton? You fight for the Minmatar...you're a virtual enemy."
"I don't know how long I'll be fighting for your enemies...and try is all I can ask of you." he said.
"Interesting. Very well then... I shall try."
"Then I shall grant your request."
She tensed, waiting. Seconds bled into minutes. "...why are you hesitating?"
"God forgive me," he whispered.
The last thing she remembered before dying was how pretty the green lasers pouring from his Navy Omen looked as they ripped into her ship.