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, December 31, 2011

Entry 147: Meeting Lukka

"How did your meeting go?"

Shalee glanced sideways, unsurprised to see the Imperial Agent. He seemed to have a way of popping up out of the blue. He grinned at her as he settled against the railing that she'd been leaning on, watching the waves rolling across the shoreline.

"It was strange. Every interaction I've ever had with that man has ended poorly. Time after time he's acted as if he hated me...now all of a sudden he's actually nice to me? It makes no sense. And he wants me to actually trust him. I mean, there's trust then theres I'm-putting-my-life-in-your-hands trust. He says he can give me back most of my memories."

"He has a backup?"

"It's pretty current, I'd only be missing a couple of months of memories."

"So you'd remember everything but the most important thing you're after. You wouldn't know why you got involved with Tiger," he said thoughtfully.

She nodded.

"I wish I could help you. I honestly don't know what you were up to. I told you several times to stay away from him. He wasn't an official assignment, not from the Empire. However that doesn't mean anything really, you could have picked up the assignment from any number of people."

"Like Raphael Saint?"

Kathetel nodded. "You might have done some work for him. Or CVA even, Tiger was a huge thorn in their side at one time. There could have been any number of reasons you befriended him. You could have decided to do it on your own, for whatever reason. You have a habit of killing Sani Sabik, after all. Or...it could be what it seems. You could have actually fell in love with him...despite my warnings."

She shrugged, "Guess I'll never really know the whole truth."

He looked out at the sea, "Are you going to take Verone up on his offer?"

"I don't know. I have until the morning to decide. He seems genuine and everyone keeps telling me that I can trust him- well, Miko and his doctor, anyhow."

"You've trusted him in the past."

"That's what he said. But I don't remember that. I don't remember him, all I know is that he is a notorious crime lord, on the DED's most wanted, and that he has a strong hatred for Amarr. So yeah, not too eager to put my life in his hands."

Kathetel suggested, "You could always live as you are now."

Shalee made a face, "True. But then I'd always wonder. I'd always have this lingering doubt in the back of my mind about everyone. If I take him up on the offer, at least I'd know. Maybe not about Tiger but everyone else."

"True. So you've made up your mind?"

She sighed, "I guess I have. I have little choice otherwise, the only other current neural copy is in the hands of Jacobi...if that's even true. It could be a ruse. I wouldn't put it past him."

"He will be dealt with in time."

"Yeah. But until then..." She brushed a strand of hair from her face, "I'll trust the pirate. But...if I don't come back..."

"You will. One way or another, you will. And if this is a setup-which I highly doubt- then I'll have your jump clone activated. It's current, yeah?"

She nodded, "Yeah. And I'll have another scan before I leave. Apparently I'll be there for at least twenty four hours, the doctor says I'll have to stay put for a while."

"You're staying at the VETO headquarters? Does Tiger even know you're doing this?"

"No one does except you, Miko, Verone, and his doctor. No one from corp knows."

"How are they anyhow?"

"Busy. We've spent weeks moving out of Huola."

"How do you feel about that?" he asked.

"It's different. All I've ever known is the Bleaks and Devoid. Though it's only sixteen jumps away it feels as if it's on the far side of New Eden. But, orders are orders, and we have been tasked with heading a new front into Minmatar space. A part of me is excited about it, I guess," she admitted.

"About that..." he pulled small data chip and passed it to her. "The real reason you guys were assigned the Otosela front..."

"A new assignment?"

He nodded. "But don't activate it until you return from Veto. Just in case, don't want them knowing what's really going on."

"Alright," she said curiously as she slipped it into her pocket. "I'll wait."

"Good. See you in a couple of days."

***

The lights of the Huola space station dimmed along the corridor, simulating evening time. At the far end of the hall, a group of new Amarrian militia pilots rounded the corner, talking loudly and laughing, obviously in a good mood. Shalee assumed their patrol went well.

She nodded to them as they passed mid-corridor. One paused and lightly grabbed her by the arm, trying to get her attention, "Hey Commodore, be careful out there, I hear Lukka was seen warping in."

Another young pilot groaned as he heard the news, "Sansha balls, not him! He cost me half a bil in implants last time he was around."

Shalee quirked a tawny brow, "Lukka?"

"Yeah, don't you remember him? Terrorized the 24th for a couple of months, popping most anything that landed."

"Scum," muttered another.

"Oh yeah, I vaguely remember something about him. So he's back?"

"That's what intel says, anyhow. So be careful okay?

"Yeah, of course." She smiled to the bunch of them, "Actually I'm not on the roster tonight, got some things to take care of planet side, but I'll see you guys in a couple of days."

"Roger that. See you Commodore." He tossed her a lazy salute as he dashed up the hall to catch up with his friends.

Shalee neared the windows and crossed her arms, staring aimlessly out into space. Several more militia pilots were being pulled into docking range. She recognized a couple of ships and made her way to the station's public hangar's, hoping she'd run into First General, needing to pass on some information to him before she clone jumped into Veto's medical facilities.

Instead, she came face to face with the notorious Lukka, though she did not recognize him.

"Are you a new recruit?" she asked, eyeing him cautiously.

He laughed. "Nothing of the sort, Commodore Lianne." He said her name slowly, grinning. He propped up against the wall and folded his arms, eyeing her with a smirk.

"Well? What do you want?" she asked impatiently, almost unnerved by the way he was staring at her.

"I have something to tell you, however, I know you're not going to believe me." He continued to grin, as if it were all some big, amusing game to him.

She found him infuriating.

"I really don't have time for this. Say what you will, sir."

"Lukka," he said, correcting her.

"You're the man I just heard about? Great. Though I warn you, your little cowardly sniping tricks wont work inside the station."

He laughed, "Now now Seashell, is that any way to talk to the man who's come to save your life?"

"Don't call me Seashell," she said with the arrogance only a Holder's daughter could muster, her tone imperious and cold. 'You'll address me as befitting my station and rank, sir." She practically spit the word at him.

"You used to like it. In fact, you used to like a lot of things..." his tone insinuated much.

"Impossible."

"You really did have a penchant for the bad boys, you know. Too bad you've forgotten."

She rolled her eyes.

"There it is, that fiery little temper that everyone finds so irresistible." He pushed himself from the wall and cornered her, his massive arms coming up to trap her against the wall behind her. "That temper that gets you into oh-so-much trouble, young lady."

She twisted her face in anger as she jerked her knee up, aiming to shove it into his groin. He grabbed her thigh before it could make contact. "You know I like it when you're rough, sweetheart." He forced her leg down as he grabbed her wrists with one hand, capturing them above her head. "Are you prepared to listen now?"

She nodded, her blue eyes blazing with hot anger. "Yes."

"Good," he said as he released her hands.

"Get off of me!" she shoved at his chest.

He laughed, not budging, remaining mere inches from her. "Being a hero is quite exhausting, you know." He said as she shoved him again. "I thought you said you were going to listen."

"Go to hell." She balled her hand into a tight fist and slammed it against the side of his jaw.

"Goddammit." He scooped her up in a fluid move, tossing her lithe form across his shoulder. She screamed and wailed at his back. "We could have done this the easy way but would you listen? Noooo." He carried across the metallic walkway and through the door of his rented station's captain's quarters.

Once inside he threw her onto a sofa, "Don't you dare move," he said as he qued up the holographic screen in front of them.

Before her eyes, the Scope logo disappeared into black as a personal recording flashed into view.

Her eyes widened as she watched herself and Lukka roll across a black, satin covered bed. Naked.

His hand caressed her thigh, inching it's way up as he asked, "Ready for round two? She giggled in response and said, "And three, and four." Her mouth grazed his jawline. "And five," she whispered seductively.


She squeezed her eyes shut as she yelled, "Turn it off!"

He complied and the room faded into semi darkness.

"Fine. I get it, okay? We fucked."

"Such a crude little mouth you have on you, Seashell. Another thing I really loved."

She exhaled a frustrated breath. "What do you even want from me? Because you must know that I don't remember you, and I feel like if I ever meant anything at all to you, I would have seen you in these past few months...and since I don't even have a clue to who you are..."

The humor left his face and he simply stared at her for the longest of moments before saying, "I've seen you. You didn't know it but I've kept my eye on you from the distance, and I know that you went to see Ethan Verone last night and I know that your old self wouldn't do that. You two quit talking for a reason."

"What do you even know about him?"

"I know what you've told me in the past. I know he is someone that meant you harm once, and I know that you need to stay away from him."

She considered his words. "But he wants to help me now. He wants to give me my memories back."

"Yeah, but at what price? He threatened to kill you before, Shalee. So you have to ask yourself now, what's in it for him?"

Friday, December 30, 2011

Entry 146: The Offer

Ethan Verone sat behind his desk, his long legs kicked up on the corner of the glass surface as he watched the holo-display in front of himself. He smiled at the images displayed and tilted his head as the door opened.
Miko Hareka led Shalee inside.

Verone gestured to the seats opposite himself, his voice, quiet and deep, his huge frame just a silouhette against the backdrop of the rattlesnakes in the dark office. "Have a seat."

Shalee slid into the offered seat and crossed one tanned leg over the other. She folded her arms across her chest, her blue gaze locked on the pirate. "Thank you."

"How've you been?" Verone asked her as Miko sealed the door behind him and leaned against it.

Her brow quirked. "Since we've last spoke? Fine, I guess." She hesitated for a second then asked, "And yourself?"

"I'm always well, life is just like that for me."

"Of course."

"How's your memory coming along?"

"I've had a recent memory."

"Oh?"

"I think perhaps because I clone jumped, I'm not sure. Just a small memory, about Raphael Saint."

"Well, this is good news. I understand if it's something you can't share."

"It's nothing major really, I remembered that I started eating meat because he introduced me to it," she said.

"That's a good thing." He smiled. "I have an idea."

She relaxed as he smiled. "Hmm?"

"I've talked it over with the best cloning physician I know, my own personal medical consultant."

"And?"

He rested his feet down and leaned forward from out of the shadow, the light from the holo projector bathing his tanned face as piercing blue eyes looked across the desk to her. "He can fix you, if you want him to."

"Fix me how precisely?"

"Well, it's possible to give you your memory back,"  Verone said.  "The specifics are beyond my simple, meatheaded brain. Would you like to talk to the doc?"

She hesitated, "But to gain it I would lose my new life, correct?"

Verone shook his head, smiling. "No, you could retain what you've learned since. Its' actually beneficial for me if you do retain what you've learned since, actually. So, it helps us both."

"Beneficial how?"

"It'd give me peace of mind."

"Explain."

"Knowing that I helped you, and knowing you know, that I helped you."

"You said I wouldn't like what I found out,"  Shalee said.

"You wouldn't now. But, with restoration, you'd deal with it, and still have he knowlege that you have now. What you've learned since the accident. Maybe the doctor can explain it better?" He glanced down to her and smiled, noting the tanned thighs. "Your dress sense has changed, I approve, and it looks like you're getting a lot of sun. That'll be on the terrace?"

"I'm just not sure why I should trust you," she admitted, then glanced down at her bare legs, "Well it's not cold there. No snow to dress for."

Verone smiled warmly, "You trusted me with your life, before. And I trusted you with mine. You trusted me with your reputation too, and I did the same." He nodded over to Miko, "Miko, be a darling and call Toma for me?"

Miko Hareka laughed slightly and nodded, before heading out, "Sure thing, Eth."

"Toma?"

Miko sealed the door behind himself as he left.

"Yeah, my Doctor," Verone said. "He was the one who treated you here, when you had your accident. He took the scans, and the gentic backup."

Shalee glanced over her shoulder as Miko left, frowning as the door closed. She returned her gaze to Verone, "I don't understand why I was here."

"You don't have to be scared of being alone with me. If I wanted to hurt you, I'd have had ample opportunity to do it before now. I don't want to hurt you Shalee."

"I'm not afraid."

"As for your question, You were here because we were... good friends, before your accident. Although we'd become a bit estranged. The friendship became very rocky. Something I regret every day."

"You haven't even tried to be friends with me that I can remember," she said.

"I alienated you for your own protection. I didn't want a fresh mind to have my influence."

"Then how are you protecting me now, by offering a chance to remember?"

"Because you're not a fresh mind any more. You have experience, you've taken a perspective on the world, and you have the knowledge to choose."

"How do you mean? Because I remembered one thing? About Raphael?"

"As a blank canvas, so to speak, you didn't have that."

"Oh."

"You understand now?"

"Experience as a capsuleer, sure." she said.

"That accounts for a lot."

"I know."

"Good, then you've learned well."

A few minutes passed by in silence.  "I'm thinking."

"About what?" he asked.

"About what to do."

Dr Einmoch tapped on the door before heading inside. He made his way over to Ethan, nodding.

Verone smiled at Toma, before looking to Shalee, "This is Toma Einmoch. The man I trust with my life every second, of every day."

She glanced up to the doctor, "Hello."

Einmoch offered a perfectly manicured hand to her, smiling, "We've met many times before, however, you won't remember. It's a pleasure to see you again, Shalee."

She shook his hand, "Oh. I see."

"Good to see you again, I guess."

The doctor chuckled.

Verone nodded then turned his attention back to her, "You always were a stubborn one, Shalee. You always had that fire about you, some of our talks have been harsh, and for that I'm sorry."

"All of our talks have been harsh except this one," she countered. "So you can see why I'm reluctant to take you at your word?"

"Then, don't take my word. Take Toma's. Unlike me, he's not in the business of taking life, he tries to save and preserve it."

"He works for you."

Verone nodded, "That he does."

"We can help you Shalee, should you allow us," Einmoch said.

"How does it work? How do you combine both sets of memories?"

Dr Einmoch took a seat in the spare beside her, and opened his palm. A soft light expanded from the centre of it, producing a holo that hovered above his smooth hand. He smiled as the image took the form of a human brain, a timeline above it. It then shrank and turned into two brains, one red, one blue. "We currently have two sets of memories, yes? We use red and blue, to denote them. seen here."

She nodded, "Alright."

"Firstly, we take you, in your present form, and run a soft scan, neural backup of you. This will preserve your current memories. From the time you awoken after the accident, until now." The blue holo of the brain turned white with the blue turning into a pulsing waveform above it. "The second set of memories are in storage, that we have."

Einmoch gestured to the flashing red holo, "We will create a clone for you here. Complete with your original memories, okay? As seen here..." A red bar appeared above it, a pulsing waveform that took the form of a timeline, "This you will use as a jumpclone... okay?"

She nodded.

"Your current memories, that you hold in your head right now, when you jump, will be parsed over, through the jumpcloning process, like so." He flicked his index finger, the two holos merged together, the brains overlapped each other, the timelines doing the same.

"You make it sound so simple."

Einmoch nodded as the brain image turned purple with the timelines doing the same, a slight grey gap between the two bands of memories. "What will happen, when we prepare the clone correctly is this. Your original memories will be retained, since there is no data to overwrite them, in long term memory."

"We ensure this by scripting the cloning sequence and the hardware not to overwrite the current state of any active neurons in the entorhinal cortex, and allow only the new data to be processed by the hippocampus. What will happen, is you will awaken with both sets of memories, you will be your old self, but you will have all the knowledge and experience you have absorbed since, even the memory of this conversation, right up until the point you jump clone. There will be a gap, between the neural scan at our facilities, and your cloning accident. That, we have no data for. To you, it will just seem like an area of memory you can't recall. A coma, effectively, like a long sleep."
"How much time is there in between do you think?"

"When was your accident?"

"Months ago. I don't recall the exact day."

"Our scan runs up until June 11th, 113. You'll have every memory up until then, then a gap, and every memory since the accident. You will know who you were, and who you are now."

"So when can we do this? How long will it take? Are there any dangers?"

"It's low risk. We could finalise a clone from a blank within twenty-four hours, then all you would have to do, is jump. I've uh, tested it. On Ethan's request."

"What do you mean by that?"

Verone glanced at the rattlesnakes out through the windows, disconnecting himself from the conversation.

Dr Einmoch said, "We ran trials, to see if the process would work. The first was a failure. We ran a further fifty seven, all were sucessful, after a minor tweak."

Shalee hesitated for a moment, then took a long breath and exhaled before saying, "Very well then. Twenty-four hours it is. Do I have to do anything to prepare?"

Einmoch shook his head, and smiled warmly, "No, just have faith. And if you'd like to see proof of the process, just look at Mr Hareka."

"Mr Hareka has lost his memories at some point too?" she asked.

"No, he volunteered to be mentally split, and re-assembled." The doctor said. "Ethan pays... extremely well."

Verone smiled.

Shalee relaxed into her chair. "I see." She looked to Ethan as he smiled. "I hope this isn't some sort of trickery but I have little choice but to trust you. I don't have any other options that I would even consider."

"I'll prepare for tomorrow, and leave you to talk." Einmoch stood and flicked his hand a little to make the holo vanish, before heading for the door. "There is one more thing, Shalee."

"Yes?"

"Make provisions not to pilot, for twenty-four hours after the clone jump. It's imperative that you stay rested and out of harm's way. Do you understand? In fact, I may insist on you staying with us for twenty-four hours after the transfer, depending on how it goes."

She nodded. "I guess they can spare me for twenty four hours."

"Excellent. Then I will see you tomorrow, when you awaken here." He smiled as he left, closing the door behind himself.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blog Banter 31: Why EvE Wins


Blog Banter 31: EVE Online Community Review
Welcome to the thirty-first EVE Blog Banter, a community conversation between anyone and everyone with an interest in discussing EVE Online. For more information on how this works, check out this link or for details of this edition's topic, read on.

As any games journalist would probably tell you, a true and complete review of a Massively Multiplayer Online game is impossible. MMOs are vast, forever evolving entities with too much content for a single reviewer to produce a fair and accurate review. However, a collection of dedicated bloggers and EVE players (past and present) with a wide range of experience in various aspects of the game might be able to pull it off.

This special 'End of Year' Blog Banter edition aims to be a crowd-sourced game review. Using your gaming knowledge and experience, join the community in writing a fair and qualified review of EVE Online: Crucible. This can be presented in any manner of your choosing, but will ideally include some kind of scoring system. 

With each Blog Banter participant reviewing the areas of EVE Online in which they specialise, the result should be a Metacritic-esque and accurate review by the people who know best. 

******

There are many reasons why EvE Online is simply the best MMO there is, and I'm sure there will be a lot of responses to this blog banter describing the most obvious things: one server, learning skills via time instead of grind, and well, it's spaceships.

But the thing that keeps me most interested is the roleplay.  

I have little experience with other games, having only really played World of Warcraft before my EvE addiction, so I'll compare the two in regards to RP.  


Who RPs?

Anyone who plays EvE is essentially an rper, whether they realize it or not.  If you log into the game, you're pretending to be a space pilot.  You choose the 'story' of your character- a pirate, scammer, industrial, etc.  That is roleplay.  

So everyone who plays an MMO is an RPer to a degree.

But, some are better than others.  It takes two things to be an online rper: 1. something to write about and 2. someone to write it.

On EvE you have more unique experiences to write about because it's a sandbox instead of game-of-grind.  What's a more interesting read?  A story about yet another elf dancing on a mailbox after a long day of picking flowers, or the one guy who spent nearly a year infiltrating a corp to steal loot worth thousands of real life dollars?

So just for that reason alone, EvE is superior to WoW.

World of War Craft: 0
EvE Online: 10 (EvE wins!)

What do you RP?

What happens in RP?  Everything that happens on EVE is rp essentially.  EvE Online is one massive, interactive story.  Every pilot I come across can affect my character's story.  That is the best part about EvE, is that one single person can change the entire game.

With WoW, your character starts off on a series of quest, and you grind and grind til you get to the top level, then grind some more for the top gear.  It's the same boring story for everyone.  "Oh he wants you to go kill ten kobolds and bring back some candles?  Hey wait...he told me to do the same thing!"  Your character isn't unique and you have no real choices for how the overall story goes.

But in EvE, the players are the story.

World of War Craft: 0
EvE Online: 10 (EvE wins!)

Where do you RP?

Roleplay on World of Warcraft was difficult to find.  They had several realms that claimed to be rp but usually those servers were just a bunch of kids who had no idea what rp even was.

On EvE, it's relatively easy to find even if you know nothing about the game.  A new player can check the EvE Online forums and find a whole section dedicated to in-character.  (The Intergalatic Summit, aka IGS and EVE Fiction)  In game, there are many channels dedicated solely to rp.

It doesn't stop there.  There are many blogs, websites, and podcasts that are dedicated to RP.

World of War Craft:0
EvE Online: 10 (EvE wins!)

When do you RP?

It happens around the clock.  With players form all over the world, there is always someone around to roleplay with usually.

On WoW, servers are sorted by countries or something, so that means there are a lot of slow times on WoW, when everyone is asleep, or off at work, yada yada.

World of War Craft: 0
EvE Online: 10 (EvE wins!)

Why do you RP?

Why should you immerse yourself into the story of your toon?  Well why not?  It adds another level to the game.  RP can give you motivation and direction.  It makes what you do that much more meaningful.  As an Amarr Militia pilot, plexing can be rather dull but I do it, not because I have nothing better to do, but because it would matter to my character to defend Amarrian territority (and hey I'm hoping to get a little pvp out of it too).

RP can open up doors.  I have met so many interesting people in the game because I am a roleplayer.

Still not convinced?  I got a free year of EvE for my RP blog and won half a billion in an EvE writing contest.

There are no benefits to rping on WoW that I know of.

World of War Craft: 0
EvE Online: 10 (EvE wins!)

How do you RP?

Just play the game.  If you're in the sandbox, you're roleplaying.

But if you want to take it deeper, if you want to explore your character's motivations and emotions, then you can always join one of the RP channels and interact with other people.  If you don't know what channels to join, check here for a full list.  Also, join the BackStage forums, because they are awesome too.

Or, you can write a story and blog it.  There are massive amounts of rp blogs out there all telling the story of New Eden.

When I was on WoW it was difficult to get started in it because there were no guilds and websites there to help you out.  (that I knew of anyhow)

World of War Craft: 0
EvE Online: 10 (EvE wins!)

So there you have it folks.  RP on EvE is far superior, so if you're playing WoW, quit and rp on EvE... (I might be a little bit biased :))

***


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Entry 145: The Pleasure Hub

"You look like a poster child for the 24th Imperial Crusade." He shook his head with a slight roll of his eyes. "You're in the Federation, you can't go prancing around in your militia uniform."

"You didn't say what to wear, and anyhow it's all I keep in my shuttles." She looked down at her pristine uniform, "It's not that obvious is it, not like I have on any medals."

"You're about as subtle as a Nyx in high sec." He took her by the arm, "C'mon, we need to get you changed." He led her into a nearby clothing store and took her straight into the dressing room. "Wait here."

Moments later a neon blue-haired sales girl passed her an outfit over the half-door, "He says he wants you to put this on."

"...uh, where is the rest of it?"

"Oh, right." She handed over a pair of strappy heels.

"I meant, wheres the rest of the clothes?" Shalee said as she checked her reflection in the dressing room mirror, frowning. The flimsy material barely covered her torso, "Are there pants? A skirt?"

The sales girl laughed, "Oh, you Amarrians. So precious!" She opened up the door and cast a critical eye over Shalee, "It's a dress." She moved behind her and wrapped a necklace around her throat. "There, perfect mademoiselle. Perfect! Your gentleman will adore it."

"He's not my 'gentleman'." Shalee wrinkled her nose.

"Mmm." the girl said with a knowing smile, as if she didn't believe her. "He says to meet him outside. I will have these clothes delivered to your shuttle." She said as she folded up the militia uniform. "Have fun!"

Apprehensively Shalee met up with Kathetel, "Okay what's going on? Why am I wearing this? Where are we going? And what in Jove's space are you wearing?" She drug her gaze down the length of him, giggling at the skin tight translucent shirt and tight-fitted pants. "They shine! Your pants glitter...."

He sighed, "You used to be so professional."

"Mmm. Sorry. Okay." She bit down on her lips to keep from laughing, her expression morphing into something serious.

"You wanted to know, remember?" He took her hand and pressed a metal device against her palm, injecting a nanochip. "Your new identity, for tonight anyhow. Lolita Arceli."

"Ah, undercover work. Sounds exciting."

"We'll see if you think so after it's over." He unclipped her hair and ran his fingers through it, mussing it up a bit. "Open your mouth."

"What?"

"Just do it."

Skeptically she parted her lips and winced as he poured a vial of sweet liquid across her tongue. "You're drugging me...?"

"Mildly. Don't worry, it will only last a couple of hours. It's necessary."

"Why?"

"Because they'd never buy it otherwise. You're too uptight. You spent a couple of months working on this assignment, gaining their trust. And now it's paid off, you just got clearance to the Red Room and you can bring along a guest."

"What's the Red Room?"

"You'll see."

By the time they arrived at their destination she felt as if she were floating in a sea of colors. "I feel funny."

"That's the point. You're high. They will think you're just high instead of...different."

"Oh." She laughed, "Getting high for the Empire!"

He tightened his grasp on her arm, "You must say very little from here on out, got it?"

"Got it."

The entrance to the pleasure hub was surprisingly ordinary. They were met by a professional looking Intaki who smiled and scanned their palms. After clearing them through security, they were lead into a long, dimly lit room. The walls were filled with monitors showing a variety of sexuals pleasures to be bought. Some screens showed scantily dressed girls posed provactively, others had young men. A stream of text scrolled beneath in neon red with prices for each encounter, both for neural and physical.

A bar stretched the length of the room with several patrons lounging around it, laughing and talking. A few holographic screens floated above the bar playing real time sessions with those who liked to be watched in the act.

Music played softly, mingling with the sounds of sex.

Shalee sideglanced, looking to Kathetel as the Intaki asked, "Do you need a moment to decide your pleasure?"

Kathetel shook his head, "Actually, you can take us to the Red Room. We should be on the list."

Her grin widened as she checked her datapad, "Ah, yes, of course. Do follow me." She lead them to the far end of the room and through another, well guarded door. Again they were processed through a security checkpoint. They walked down a long hallway, the artifical lights blurred as she glanced up and stumbled.

The Intaki pretended not to notice as Kathetel slid his arm around her back, steadying her, "Easy love."

They were shown into private room. As the door sealed behind them, Kathetel lead her to a sofa. In front of them a holographic display shimmered into view, the portal icon a half nude girl with her panties stretched across her thighs.

"Capsuleers," Kathetel said, queing up the menu.

Shalee squinted as she rubbed her face. "So this is it? This is the 'Red Room'?" she made air quotes with her fingers. "It's not even red!"

He laughed. "Look," he motioned to the holo. "That is the Red Room." A list of names scrolled through the air in red letters. Faces flashed behind the names.

"What the fuck," she muttered as she recognized a few names. "This is like outside? A menu? Like...no way. These people can't work here, they are capsuleers!"

"Bingo. They are capsuleers. Were, anyhow."

"What?"

He selected a name then answered her. "We're not paying for the actual person, it's their corpse."

"Get the fuck out. What? People pay for...to do...things..."

"There's an underground market for it, yeah, but only the very rich can afford it. To sex a capsuleer corpse is the ultimate dream for some."

She made a wretching sound. "That is so gross...wait. What are we doing here?!"

"Ordering." He chose an unfamiliar name. The wall behind them chimed several times as a side panel opened. A fabric covered slab with the corpse of a man slid into the room.

Shalee gasped, "What are you doing! You ordered us a corpse! I'm going to be sick."

He chuckled, "He was an agent; he was carrying something very valuable when he was podded." Kathetel unclasped Shalee's necklace and took it over to the body, using the end of the jagged jewel to slice into the dead flesh. He dug around until he found what he was looking for, a small chip.

Shalee followed him over to watch, her nose wrinkled. "I can't believe people actually do this." She cast a hesitant glance down the length of the nude body. "He doesn't even look like a corpse, he looks like he's alive."

"That's part of the procedure. They 'reanimate' the body, filling in anything that might be missing. The rest is parlor tricks. Nano animation that will respond to human contact."

"So you brought me all the way out here just so you could retrieve that?"

He nodded, "Pretty much. And to show you what you've forgotten. To show you what really goes on within the Federation. It's a hive of sin and desecration."

She winced. "I understand."

"Do you really? Do you understand that this is the sort of thing we fight against. To keep the Empire pure of this kind of blasphemy." He nodded his head toward the corpse. "This would never happen in Empire."

She nodded.

"As long as you continue with your duty, as long as you follow orders, we turn a blind eye to your other activities."

She quirked a brow, "Oh...I think I get it. So I wasn't really didn't betray either agency... I just did both."

"Precisely. Now..." he said as pushed he grabbed her chin and tilted her head to kiss her mouth before she could even react. She pulled away and slapped his face.

"What the hell do you think you're doing!" she demanded.

"We are in a pleasure hub, you need to walk out of here looking...pleased." He smirked as he rubbed his jaw. "Just part of the cover."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Entry 144: The Quest

She swayed her hand in front of the holographic console, activating it. The holoform of a brown-robbed Amarrian monk appeared, his fingers steepled.

"Greetings Commodore Lianne, how may I help you?"

Shalee nodded her head to the data guide reflexively, then laughed at herself. "I always forget you aren't real." She settled back in her chair. "I need information on the Amity Project."

"Searching." The wall-sized screen behind the monk shimmered as streams of text processed, flashing in neon green lettering. A myriad of pictures flashed behind the text, faces and places and a thousand other things that could be linked to Amity Project loaded, waiting to be viewed.

"Shall I connect you to their info-portal?" Layered above the text and links, a black circular logo appeared with a gold AP entertwined in the center. The image of the portal pulsed, the watery logo appearing in the form of a wormhole.

Shalee nodded. "Activate, please."

The screen around the logo faded to black as the portal spread. Above the logo a number appeared. 796,243,965.

"What does the number mean?"

The monk replied, "It is the number of slaves helped by the organization."

"Huh." She furrowed her brows, "That's a rather bold statement, especially a public one. So that's how many slaves they have freed?"

The monk's face remained passive as he paused, absorbing data. "Helped, not freed, implying that they are not operating outside of the law, even in Empire space."

"Ah. Clever. What is their mission statement?"

"The Amity Project's mission statement is 'to educate and empower former slaves and other misfortunates, while advocating on the behalf of those who cannot fight for their own freedom."

"How are they funded?" she asked.

"The Amity Project is a privately funded organization."

"Can you dig deeper?"

"Access denied," he replied.

"Search for Kyrie Lo'Sava."

"Access denied."

"Molok's balls," she sweared. "Terminate portal." She threaded her fingers through her long hair, "Connect with ...." she searched through her cards, finding the one Kathetel had given her weeks ago. She read off the number. The holoscreen lit immediately with the Imperial Agent's face.

"Took you long enough."

"I've been busy."

He swayed his hand, "Yeah yeah, war and all that. So, what do I owe the pleasure of this communication?"

"I want to know about the Amity Project."

He chuckled, "Ah, them." He leaned back in his chair and lit a cigar, taking his time to respond. "Just a ragtag bunch of do-gooders for the most part. Some are on the extremist side. Why?"

She said nothing.

"Ah ha. You've been unraveling. You've found out your involvement with them, I presume?"

She nodded. "It doesn't make sense."

He exhaled a ring of smoke, "I suppose not. Not from where you're sitting, anyhow."

"I don't see how I can be both an agent of the Empire and part of the Project too." She hesitated, "Was I some kind of double agent?"

"In a manner of speaking, I suppose you could call it that."

"Great," she muttered sarcastically.

He peered at her questionally as he puffed on his cigar. "Sounds like you need a fieldtrip. Theres a place you need to see, it will explain a lot." Her neocomm flashed with an incoming message, "I just sent you coordinates. Meet me there in one hour and I'll answer any question you have." He closed the connection, smirking.

She glanced down at the coordinates. "A pleasure hub in Gallente space? Oh boy."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Entry 143: The Visitor

A slight breeze blew across the balcony, clinking together the long jewelled strands of a wind chime. The musical notes caught her attention and she glanced to the open doors, enraptured by the endless sky painted an array of pastel colors, soft pinks, rose, lavender and warm orange.

Huola Seven, the home of Cerra Manor, was breathtakingly beautiful even in the rainy season.

She'd been planet side for hours, waiting for Concord and other governmental officials to give the green light on flying. Mysteriously, all across New Eden every space port had been temporarily closed without any real explanation why. It happened a couple of times a year, so she decided not to worry about it too much.

She sighed restlessly, wishing to be beyond the perfect sky, piercing through the atmosphere. She longed to be in pod, in flight, in battle.

Her pulse raced at the heady thoughts, her mind imprinting a war zone across the panoramic, balcony view. Streams of sunlight became laser beams, the swirling clouds morphed into an enemy fleet.

She conjured up the voices of her fleet mates, moving them into position. As the breeze picked up outside, the clouds morphed yet again, tumbling into one another. The two fleets collided.

The clinking of the wind chimes became artillery fire. Thunder rolling in the distance was now the sound for the turrets firing from an Abaddon.

Lightning flashed suddenly- an explosion.

A knock at her bedroom door roused her out of her reverie, her imaginary battle.

"Come in," she said as she sat up in her chair.

The door was opened by one of the servants of the manor. A tall, young Minmatar woman bowed her head as she dipped into a slight curtsy. She wore a long black gossamer dress overlapped with red and gold patterns. Gold bangles entwined both wrists. A band of gold wrapped around her throat with a single red gem in the center, laying at the hallow of her throat. Her hair hung to her shoulder on one side, the other shaved, revealing a strange tattoo that stretched from her cheek to just behind her ear.

Shalee quirked a brow. A Krusual servant? The Krusual- a tribe of the Minmatar- were rumored to be the most barbaric of them all. Hardly the stuff servants were made out of. A shiver of unease shimmered along her spine.

Shalee looked at her expectantly, waiting for her to say something. "Well?"

"M'lady...."

"Yes?"

Kyrie stared at Shalee. "I..."

"Hmm...?"

The Krusual shifted from one foot to the other impatiently, her lips parted as if she wanted to say something but couldn't bring herself to utter the words.

"I usually don't take my tea until later..." Shalee offered, wondering if the new servant was shy. She flashed her a warm smile, "Is this your first day? You seem a bit uneasy. You shouldn't worry, though we are Amarrian we do not keep slaves here, nor do we condone it. Official policy of the corporation, even. You are safe here."

"M'lady..." Kyrie uttered, her dark gaze focused on the floor. Her voice tensed, "I know you do not believe in slavery."

"Alright..." Shalee said, a bit confused by the girl.

"You truly don't remember me?" she asked as she looked up. A tiny line of worry creased her brow. "I am no servant..." she said proudly.

Oh Jove! Not again. Shalee sighed inwardly. Yet another person from her past, one she couldn't remember, someone lost with the memories of the past several years after a cloning 'accident'.

"I'm sorry...I don't remember you."

"May I come in?" Kyrie asked, still standing by the door.

Shalee nodded and motioned toward some chairs by the balcony doors. "Yes. Please, do sit." Outside, the rain began to fall and the air cooled somewhat as it blew into the room.

Kyrie nodded and closed the door behind her, then joined Shalee, taking a seat opposite of her.

"I'm sorry that I mistook you for a servant," Shalee apologized.

"It's alright. I've been waiting to hear that you've recovered your memories, I wasn't going to approach you until I was certain that you would know me, M'lady. But...it simply cannot wait any longer."

"What can't?"

The dark woman furrowed her brows, "This." She pulled open a beaded pouch and withdrew two vials, offering them to Shalee.

She took them cautiously, "What are they?"

"Poisons, M'lady."

"Pardon?"

Kyrie nodded, "The Black Dream. Poisons made my by Tribal 'witch doctors', great men who live in the mountains...none of this is familiar to you?" she asked hopefully, as if trying to jar a memory.

Shalee shook her head no. "I...I wish I could remember, I am so very sorry." She sighed, "I don't even know your name."

"Kyrie Lo'Sava, from Eytjangard. I was one of the people you rescued last year. We only met briefly on Eytjangard, but later I got in contact with you and wanted to repay you for your sacrifices. I worked with your people on Adia for a few months, taking some of the refugees back to Eytjangard with me."

Shalee continued to stare at her as if trying to force the memories. "I see."

Kyrie continued. "You were training me."

"For what? To be a combat pilot?"

The Minmatar shook her head no. "To be a relief worker like you...your work in the Amity Project was inspiring not only to myself but to others in my clan. The Elders wanted to offer you a gift."

Amity Project? She vaguely remembered of hearing about the organization, a group of capsuleers that worked to help free slaves and relocate political refugees.

Eran had mentioned to her once that she had done some sort of work freeing slaves, so she was willing to give Kyrie the benefit of the doubt and believe her.

"I see. So your Elders....wanted to give me poison?" She wrinkled up her nose. "Why?"

"No M'lady. They sent you various pieces of jewelry, rare gems that can only be found on Caskpri Mountain. I delivered them to you several months ago. And that is when you asked if I could bring you the Black Death."

"I asked you for this? What kind of poison is it? What does it do? What did I even want it for?"

Kyrie nodded slowly, "Yes, you did. It is a rare poison that can be added to a capsuleer's pod fluid. It absorbs into the body, first attacking the mind. The victim will hallucinate and go completely mad. There's no coming out of it. It makes the victim commit suicide, usually by ripping out their eyes and bleeding to death."

"Oh Jove...that is....horrible." She shivered as the grim reality of what the poison really meant. "So by using this, you not only murder a person but every clone they try to jump into..."

Kyrie nodded. "Precisely."

"I can't imagine what I was going to do with this...who I was going to use it on."

Dark eyes stared at her for a long moment, the silence filled with thunder rumbling outside. Finally, she answered. "I do."

"Tell me."

"You...you wanted to bring down a powerful man, an enemy to the Empire, you said. One of unspeakable cruelty, a renowned murderer. It was an assignment, you said."

Shalee paled, gasping with horror. "No...."

"His name," Kyrie paused, wearing a look of sorrow, "is Tigerfish Torpedo..."

Friday, September 16, 2011

Entry 142: A Fragment of Truth

The days following Jacke's death settled into a routine of endless patrols along the Empire's borders, joining militia fleets, and spending time with Tiger in her free moments- which had become something of a rarity.

Though she barely knew the boy, some part of her was in constant mourning for him. Often she'd find her thoughts drifting to the dark haired Minmatar child while she was drifting among the stars, patrolling from system to system.

In an almost restless drive to find out more about him, she spent her downtime in between fleets searching through various databases for more information. With a little digging, she found out she'd been the one to bring him to the Keep, that he'd been orphaned, and that his goal was to become a capsuleer.

She found the logs of his studies and admired the countless hours he'd spent in the flight sims at the Keep.

At first she thought he might have been the illegitimate child of Omnicide Incarnate, a comrade in the Amarr militia, but later read that Jacke admired the infamous often-solo pilot, that he wanted to be just like him and took his last name as his own.

Over and over she rolled it around in her mind, the idea that he was 'playing on the rooftop and fell'. It made little sense. The child had a remarkable mind and determination of an adult, and yet he didn't have the sense not to play out on the icy rooftop?

Sighing, she docked up in the 24th station in Huola, trying to force her thoughts away from the dead boy.

After showering and changing into her militia uniform, she took the lift to deck 407 and made her way to Huola Haze, a capsuleer cigar bar and social lounging area.

She settled into chair by the floor-to-ceiling window, her gaze captured ever so often by flashing lights beyond the glass. Destruction in all of it's macabre glory, beautiful colored explosions and lazor lights streaming across the dark vast void. She watched impassively, already wearing the dull, nonchalant expression of a capsuleer who could view such a thing and see only the mistakes of those who lost the skirmish, never once giving a thought to the cold brutality of those who did not survive. Crew members were another piece of equipment, another necessity to fufill the capsuleer's agenda, whatever that may be.

Crew members were expendable, easily replacable. Forgotten.

Another explosion lit the bar, this one much closer to where she sat. A thud followed the flashing light and as she looked to the window, she saw the bloody remains of some poor unfortunate crew chief as his corpse had landed against the glass, half of his face missing.

His eye hung from his skull, sticking to the window above his head as his body started to slide down the blood-slicked surface.

Wincing, she quickly looked away as a station scrubber drone vaccumed up the remains and cleaned the window.

"Well thats not something you see everyday."

She glanced up and nodded, "Yeah. Kind of creepy, huh." He wore a long black Amarrian robe trimmed in gold along the sleeves. As he pulled back the hood, she noted his dark hair and pale blue eyes. Shalee thought him ruggedly attractive.

He grinned as he took a seat in front of her.

Shalee watched as he lit his cigar then blew a ring of smoke upwards, "Miss Lianne, you've been something of a hassle to keep up with lately," he said.

Her thin brow quirked, "Pardon?" He knew her? Huh.

He narrowed his gaze at her, his expression equally inquisitive. "I'll be damned. I thought this was some kind of game you've been playing." He puffed on his cigar as the corners of his mouth twisted upwards into a slight smirk. "I guess this is the part where you tell me you have no idea who I am."

She stared blandly at him, "Should I know you?" she asked, feeling a bit uneasy.

He exhaled a mouthful of smoke then laughed. "You're good." He leaned forward, studying her face. "Really good, but that's why we hired you in the first place."

She stiffened, looking blankly at him still. "Hired me?"

He laughed again, "One assignment to Jove space and I come back to this? I haven't been gone that long." he sighed as he settled back into his oversized, leather chair. "Okay okay. Let's say I'm buying it. Let's say it's true, that you really have lost your memories. What is the last thing you remember before becoming a capsuleer?"

She jutted her chin up and gave him an icy roll of her eyes, "I don't believe I have to tell you anything."

"Ah, lost the memories but not that firey attitude that always has a way of getting you into trouble, I see."

"Who are you?" she asked finally, her curosity overcoming her anger for the moment.

Kathetel smiled, "A friend."

"Don't suppose you have a name?" she inquired.

He hesitated for a moment before responding, his amusement having melted away as he realized she was sincere. "How about this. I'll give you my name after you tell me what you last remember."

She blew out a frustrated breath. "Okay fine. I'll play your game. I last remember living on Adia, at my Father's house. There were rumors of the Empress's new proclimation of freeing slaves to the eighth generation I think?"

He nodded, "Go on."

"There was to be a ball that week, nothing out of the ordinary really. It's all kind of hazy." She scrunched up her brows, "I think I had to go to the doctor, I wasn't feeling well."

He nodded again, "Ah. So you lost over two years of memories?"

She shook her head, "So they say."

"And you remember nothing of those lost years?"

"...no. I try, I really do. They say I'll regain my memories in a matter of weeks, but so far...nothing."

"They? Jonathan?"

"No. My chief pod tech, Arrok."

He frowned, "Your chief pod tech is Jonathan and has been since you've been a capsuleer."

A memory tugged at the edges of her mind. "Wait. I think I do remember him." She became excited, "I do! Is that his name? Jonathan? He was there the first time I ever woke up...but I've not seen him since."

"Interesting."

"I'll ask Keon. He was there, he must know what happened to him," she said excitedly, happy to have some kind of memory. It had been too frustrating living in a world where she remembered nothing. Finally. Perhaps she was starting to remember.

Kathetel's face twisted into hot anger, "Sonnovabitch! Keon?"

She nodded very slowly, "...yeah."

He calmed instantly, regaining his composure. Grimly, he asked, "Do you see Keon very much now?"

"My brothers have rented a villa near the Keep, I try to see them as often as I can, but often I'm too tired to travel back to Amarr after patrols."

"Jacobi is there too?" He asked incrediously.

She nodded, "Yeah....do you know them?" she asked.

"Something like that. And your corpmates, have they met your brothers?"

"Keon and Jacobi have dropped by once or twice, but mostly I visit them." she said warily, wondering why he was so interested in her life.

He shook his head as he exhaled a series of smoke rings, "Have you not questioned why you are here?" He swayed his hand, "This is a far cry from Adia. Have you not wondered why you are fighting a thankless job in the militia? Why you are even a capsuleer?"

"Every single day," she admitted. "I told you what I remember, now tell me your name."

"Why do you think you are here?" he asked, ignoring her question.

"I..." she hesitated, obviously afraid to tell him the truth, that her Father had orchestrated the whole thing, that she was sent there to make connections for the family. Unfortunately he had died in a shuttle accident, but her brothers wanted to continue his work. Later on, Jacobi and Keon told her the real reason she had been sent into the world of the capsuleers. Revenge. She was to be the instrument that was used in destroying Aldrith Shutaq, a man who had seduced and ultimately caused the death of her Mother.

Her Mother. Jea Cerra. She died, pregnant with Aldrith's child.

Keon had mentioned to her several nights prior that he was putting together a plan to bring Aldrith to his knees. He was going to have the foolish Mitara, Aldrith's wife, podded. It wouldn't have been a big deal in the grand scheme of things, capsuleers were podded all the time. But rarely did capsuleers fly while pregnant.

An eye for an eye.

A child for a child, he reasoned. And Shalee would be the one to do it. She'd be the one to get close enough when Mitara's guard was down.

"What have they told you?" Kathetel asked again.

"It doesn't matter. I'm here, I do my job, I defend Amarrian sovereignty."

"Your job?" he laughed. "Your real job is far different than your fleets within the militia. You're not just a militia pilot. You're an Imperial Agent and have been for over two years." He handed her a card, "This is my comm number. Unravel the truth, Shalee. Consider it an assignment. Figure out who you are and why you are really here. Then, and only then, will things make sense." He snubbed what was left out of his cigar in the ashtray before standing.

"We will be watching," he said as he grinned, "Just like the good old days eh. A pity you've forgotten them."

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Entry 141: Falling



"Jacke!" she screamed his name as she watched him fall, snowflakes bright against the dark abyss he was plummeting in to.

"Noooooo!"

The snowflakes bled into long streams of light.

"Warp drive active," the automated voice announced as her ship lurched into hyperspace, pinpoints of starlight stretching across her camera lens.

The dream shifted again; she started to fall through the inky blackness of space as her ship exploded around her.


***

Sitting up in bed, she laid her hand against her chest as her heart thudded loudly. Her pulse raced and her breathing was quick and gaspy as she forced herself to awaken fully.

"It's just a dream it's just a dream," she told herself over and over as she tried to calm down, trying to reign in the sea of emotions that were drowning her.

The nightmare lingered, the same she'd been having for weeks. She'd dream of dying. Of the Brutor boy. And falling. Always falling. It made little sense to her and yet it terrified her at the same time.

She glanced to the open window, watching as snowflakes drifted into the room. The sheer curtains danced on the breeze, blowing inward as gusts of cold snowy wind chilled the air.

Sliding out of bed, she neared the enormous window and gazed out into the dark sky.

She tipped her head back, half closing her eyes as she felt ice cold flakes landing against her flushed skin. Fever burned through her, her eyes were glassy, rimmed with dark shadows. She'd become exhausted to the point of getting sick from lack of sleep.

The long gown she wore silhouetted her lithe body as the stepped up onto the ledge, the hem of it rippling around her ankles.

"Always, always falling," she whispered to herself as she stretched her arms out. For a moment she entertained the idea of falling and waking up into a new world, one that made sense to her.

"Come away from the window," a voice whispered in return.

Shalee tensed, the child-like voice frightening her.

"Who is there?" she called out as she looked over her shoulder seeing the shadowy image of a young girl with long black hair.

"You must come away from the window, you might fall and your brothers will be horribly upset with you." Raven commanded.

Compelled to obey without understanding why, she stepped down to the floor. Shafts of moonlight poured into the room, illuminating Shalee by the window, casting Raven into the shadowy darkness.

"Who are you?" Shalee asked. Her brows scrunched together as her gaze narrowed. She couldn't make out her face.

"Your brothers call me Raven."

"What are you doing here? Did they send you here?"

"Yes."

"Why?"

"To protect you. To guide you."

"You're a little young to be protecting me, don't you think?"

The little girl giggled mischievously.

Shalee stepped into the shadows with a sigh, "Enough of this, go back to the nursery where you belong. Does Brystal know you're running around in the middle of the night?"

Raven laughed again, "I don't live in the nursery," she said matter of factly.

Shalee stretched out a hand attempting to grab the girl by her arm, "Now look here-" her voice faltered when the child disappeared.

"Fooled you," Raven said as she suddenly appeared behind her.

Shalee spun around and gasped as her hand went straight through the child. "Stop it!" she yelled, moving over to the holodrone equipment, "You should know better to be playing with holo devices, it can be dangerous."

As Shalee disconnected the holo receiver into her suite, she turned around expecting Raven to be gone.

The little girl smirked, her eyes lit with an eerie devilish glint. "You can't get rid of me that easy."

Shalee gasped, "What are you, some kind of...ghost?"

Raven snorted. "Ghost aren't real. I am an AI device that has been implanted within your mind. To help you."

"...okay," Shalee said, clearly unnerved.

"Your brothers assumed you would have difficulty adjusting to your new life and had me designed. I am a failsafe, of sorts."

"Why am I just now seeing you?"

"You haven't needed me until now."

Shalee glanced towards the window, "Ah. You thought I would jump."

Raven nodded. "And thus, I had to stop you."

"I see." Shalee threaded her fingers through her hair. "So...you're just sort of...lurking? Inside my mind?"

Raven nodded again, "Something like that."

"Can you read my thoughts?"

"No. But I can see what you see." She pointed to her eyelid, "Your implants allow it."

"Interesting." And creepy.

A knock at the door sent the slaver hound puppies into a whirl of barking. Raven disappeared as Shalee called out, "Who is there?"

"It's Brystal," replied the blond Gallente in a muffled voice.

"Come in," Shalee said as she pulled a beige silk robe over her nightgown. "Is something the matter?" she asked as she noticed the heartbroken expression Brystal wore.

The Gallente nodded, sniffling, "It's Jacke. He's dead. He had been in a coma for weeks after falling from the rooftop and....tonight he died. He just.." she choked up, "died."

"He didn't just die he was MURDERED don't you remember!" a tiny voice screamed inside of her head. "Raven killed him and she's going to make you kill someone else!"

Blood dripped from her nose as her eyes rolled into the back of her head. Seconds later Shalee hit the floor.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Entry 140: A New Possession

"You're different."

Shalee flicked her gaze to the young Brutor boy who stood in her doorway, arms crossed casually across his chest. He leaned his shoulder against the door and stared at her with eerie coffee colored eyes, not once blinking.

"What do you mean?" she asked, feeling a moment of unease.

"Every one's talking about how you've forgotten stuff since you were podded. Some people say that it's normal sometimes to forget some stuff. But you've forgotten everything, haven't you? You don't even know who I am..."

Her chin jutted up arrogantly as a smirk pulled at the corner of her mouth, "You are Jacke Incarnate."

"Yes. You know my know name. Guess you read a file..."

A look of anger flashed across her delicate features. Of course she'd read a file. She'd been drowning in them since she had been thrust into this bizarre capsuleer's world weeks ago. Files on everyone, the people of the corporation, the people she flew with on a regular basis, and everyone who lived in the Keep.

"Brutor boy. Came here last year. Your tutor is Mister Perelli. When you're not in school you spend your time in the flight simulators." she said flatly as if repeating something she'd recently read verbatim.

He continued to stare at her. "Like I said. You read a file." He shrugged, "Red doesn't come around anymore. She used to come almost every single night but since you were podded, she's disappeared."

A thin line of worry etched her forehead as she furrowed her brows, "Why doesn't she come...have I done something to upset her?"

He continued to smile at her, "Perhaps."

Shalee frowned, "I'm sorry..." She fidgeted with her hair, tucking it behind her ear, "Should I mail your little friend, ask her to return to the Keep?"

He kicked away from the door and entered into her room. She watched him as he neared her dressing table. He paused by the mirror, looking at her in the reflected glass, "She will come when she is ready, I suspect. I just...hope she knows that it's okay to come back."

"Why wouldn't it be okay?" she asked, completely confused by the child.

"It's hard to explain...I don't think you'd understand."

"Why not? Just because I don't remember some things doesn't mean I am completely useless," she said with a hint of annoyance.

"I'm sorry," he said as he turned around to face her. "I didn't mean to upset you. It's just... I miss her. I just want her to come back, to let us know what's going on..." He stared at her.

A look of pain radiated across her face as she suddenly started to rub her temples, the onslaught of a headache pounding against her skull. "I think I need to lay down," she said as she stumbled towards her bed.

Jacke moved to her side, grabbing her arm, helping to ease her down on the bed, "Are you alright? Do you want me to call for a medic?"

"No no, I just...have a headache. A blinding headache. I think...I'll be alright," she said as her nose started to bleed. She panicked as she brought her hand up to her nose, tilting her head back. "Oh god, I'm bleeding."

He squeezed her hand. "Shhh. She's coming." He said soothingly as she passed out.

The holodrone whirled nearby as the image of a red-headed little girl appeared. She rushed towards Jacke, "I can't stay!"

"I thought you were gone forever! What's happening to her?"

"It's her brothers! They kidnapped her. They took away the last two years! They put her back to the time when she lived at home, when she was a Sani Sabik with them!"

"But how are you here if she can't remember?"

"Jonathan helped, he had my files separate from hers, he was studying me. When she was podded last time, he snuck me back in when he put in those implants but I can't stay out here for long else they will find out!"

"Her brothers?"

She nodded.

"Why are they doing all of this?"

"Because they are going to make her do something horrible. They are going to-" The holodrone fell to the floor as it was deactivated.

Another one activated and Jacke turned, expecting to see her, "Red, what's-" his voice faded as he stared at the image of Red, except this time she had jet black colored hair pulled back into a ponytail. She grinned at him.

"Hello Jacke."

"...who are you?"

"Her, of course." She tipped her head towards the bed where Shalee lay unconscious.

"...no you aren't."

"Sure I am." She gave a dimpled grin. "But you can call me Raven. I'm sure we're going to have lots of fun together." She slanted her eerie gaze towards the door as it slammed closed, followed by the sound of the lock clicking in place.

Her lips twisted devilishly, "Let's play a game, shall we?" The windows flew open suddenly, followed by a blast of icy cold air. Snowflakes drifted inside, melting on the floor.

"It's a long way down...don't you think?"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Entry 139: Drowning

Location: Amarr Medical Facilities
Date: 07.02.113

Memories played like a holoreel on fastforward as she climbed her way out of the inky darkness of unconsciousness. Voices were all around, surrounding her, drowning her. A cacophony of familiar and unfamiliar bled together, making little sense to her.

Her hands frantically grasped at the sides of the cloning vat and she pulled herself up from the shimmering ambiotic fluid. She yanked out the breathing tube and inhaled her first breath as she rubbed her eyes, smearing away congealed fluid. Memories became clearer, the last moment in space. She'd been in a military complex in Kourmonen with Eran. She had lost her Omen, and then her pod, she couldn't get out and then....everything went black.

She could still feel the adrenaline rush of combat coursing through her, the euphoric high that sustained her night after night as she battled it out on the field against the Minmatar.

She blinked several times trying to force away the cloudiness.

She shook her head, thinking something was wrong. "Jonathon?" she called out in a raspy voice, asking for her chief pod tech. He was always there to help her through those first few moments of being 'resurrected'. Gods, how she hated being podded.

As the room came into focus, the voices settled upon her like a shard of ice being drug down her spine.

Keon.

Her brother was here? In the medical facility? But why? "Keon? Keon what's happening...what are you doing here?" she lifted a hand to her neck, feeling as if she had a sore throat.

Silence filled the air suddenly as both men turned to face the cloning vat.

"She's awake. It's too late." Jonathan said to Keon, "She's awake. There's nothing I can do now." His voice was strained.

"Unacceptable." Her brother replied, his bright vivid blue eyes locked on her.

"Look, theres nothing I can do! Only one clone can be activated at a time, no matter what. That's more than just Imperial law, it's science." Jonathan argued.

His chin tilted, "Then it looks like we have a little problem on our hands here, don't we?"

"It's done. You were too late." Jonathan said as he took a step towards the door.

"Do not move." Keon said as he pulled a pistol from beneath his robes, steadily aiming it at the pod tech.

"Too late for what?" she asked in a fearful voice. "Keon please, I don't know what's going on here but we can work it out...just put the gun down, please!"

"This wasn't supposed to happen." Keon aimed the pistol at Shalee, "And if I kill her now? This one dies and you can wake her up again, as before?"

Jonathan paled, "...that is murder."

"What is murder to a capsuleer? You have any idea how many lives she takes in a single night?"

"I cannot be responsible for this, I will not!" he threaded his fingers through his hair. "Do not ask this of me, I cannot kill her."

"But you can wake her up again?" Keon demanded.

Jonathon nodded.

Panic seized her. "No!" She screamed as Keon was upon her. "Don't worry little sister, you'll be fine soon enough," he whispered as he grabbed her by the throat.

She gasped, choking for air, hands frantically slamming against his chest. He shoved her down beneath the fluid and held her there until she stopped fighting.

He watched the life drain from her eyes, waited until her body was completely limp before he pulled his hand up out of the vat.

"Was that so difficult?" he asked as he stood, turning towards Jonathan. "Now bring her back, but this time a little more docile?"

Jonathan doubled over a trashcan, retching.

Keon stared down at her lifeless body. "And destroy every god damned file you have on her, everything from the last two years. From this point on, she will resurrect as the data I had given you. Send that to every cloning facility she has contracts with."

Friday, June 24, 2011

Entry 138: The Grandest Ruse of All

Eighteen hours ago...

"Eran! I can't warp. I'm going down!"

"Get your pod out okay?"

"I'm trying! Something's wrong! It's not letting me-"

Comms fell silent as the Kourmonen sky blazed with the sudden explosion of her Omen, an Amarrian cruiser classed vessel.

Earlier, after finishing a long patrol, she had docked up in Kourm intending to shuttle it back to Houla. The system was relatively quiet with only a handful of militia members assistating the Navy inside one of the military complexes. She and Eran had decided to offer support and after the plex was secured they remained inside, practicing a few dog-fighting maneuvers.

Unaware that the enemy militia had entered system and scanned them down, they were caught off guard as eight Minmatar pilots landed right on top of them.

There would be no escape.

Paralyzed, she was only cognizant of the next few seconds. Pieces of her mangled ship engulfed her capsuel, flames burned along bits of metal and electronics that floated around her pod.

Her tomb, a fiery pyre in the blackness of space.

Realization of imminent death seized her thoughts, and all she could do was offer up a silent prayer before they shredded her pod.

Ambiotic fluid sizzled as it sprayed into the flames, her lifeless body suspended in the wreckage.

***

Pain throbbed at her temples as she shifted restlessly on the bed. She could hear whispering, soft voices nearby though she couldn't quite make out what they were saying.

Something nagged at the edge of her subconsciousness. Keon's voice. Her eldest brother. She felt his hand along her cheek as he soothed her, "Shhhh. You need your rest."

Her body releaxed at the familiar voice and seconds later she was lost to dreams once more.

"She's asleep again."

"Good." said her middle brother, Jacobi Cerra. "She looks the same, I think. All except the hair."

"She did that more than a month ago," replied Keon.

"She always was impulsive."

"And foolish. Just like her Ni Kunni Mother."

"So how did you manage it?" Jacobi asked.

"Paid off the right people. They were almost ready the last time she was podded, had it been another few hours and we would have had her then. Fortunately she was podded again a mere eight days later."

"Quite brilliant, brother. So our dear little sis is going to wake up and have absolutely no memory of her life as a capsuleer?"

"Not exactly. It was explained to me as 'rifting'. The part of her mind that allowed her to learn flying and whatever else she used in space is still there, it's just melded with a soft-clone scan of when she was with us."

Jacobi nodded, "But how do you expect her to return to her normal life? Wont they suspect when she hasn't a clue who they are?"

Keon shook his head, "Once she is awake, we explain everything to her..." His mouth twisted deviously. "Remember, she loved us at one time and her loyalty was to us, not them." He stroked her hair from her face, "And now it will be so again."

"Can't we just keep her here? Why do you insist on sending her back into that world? She is safe with us."

"She is the best instrument of revenge we have at our disposal." He said matter-of-factly.

Jacobi nodded reluctantly, "I suppose you're right, brother." He folded his arms and looked to the sleeping girl, "I just hope she can pull it off."

"You remember how I told you she started visiting me as a hologram? Of when she was a child?"

He nodded.

"Apparently she has done that with many others, but here is the interesting part. Only when she was asleep. She had no control over the hologram, no control over her subconscious." Keon smirked, "That little girl, the one they call 'Red', is going to help her."

"I'm afraid I'm not following..."

"Before, Red was essentially her, a part of her mind that manipulated her implants that allowed her to access the holodrones and holographic realms. But now, Red will be the AI I had inserted into her mind."

"So Red is gone?"

The eldest brother nodded, turning his gaze to Shalee as she slept. "Her implants allowed her to become Red, to interact with everyone as the hologram. Essentially we've silenced Red, and instead have given her an AI. Others will think the AI is Red."

Jacobi gave a thoughtful nod, "And what about her? Will she think she is part of some conspiracy?" He said as his gaze shifted to the window, absently noticing a handful of pod techs passing down the corridor. "How will you explain the last two years to her?"

"I've decided to tell her that Father sent her to the Academy and that it was his desire for her to become a capsuleer, to gain the favor of the Amarr militia and all the right people, that she was a plant for the Sani Sabik, and that when the time was right, she would fulfill his wishes."

A haughty smirk stretched across Jacobi's lips, "Very clever. So anything that anyone tries to tell her now, she will think is either a lie or part of the grand ruse she's been involved in this whole time."

Keon chuckled, "Precisely. She's a smart girl, she will play the part thinking she had been all along."

"Aren't you afraid she will just make all the same mistakes again? Falling in love with heathens, betraying the Empire by freeing slaves, etc."

Keon shook his head no, "She ran away. All of those choices she made on her own. This time she will have us."

Jacobi stroked a finger along her ankle, "And this time she will never leave us."

Shalee murmured in her sleep.

"Looks like she is waking up again. Shall we?" Keon said as he dropped a hand to her shoulder, shaking her very lightly.

"Shalee dear...time to wake up. We have so much to tell you...."

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Entry 137: Dubious Intel

"Okay. You have my attention," she said as she glanced around the room, her gaze skimming across the network terminal.

Earlier, she'd been sent a mysterious message from someone within the VETO corporation, and letting her curiosity override her common sense, she responded.

He said he had a message, one to be delivered in person. In between patrols, she decided to fly over to Goinard just to see what the message was. A part of her was reluctant, thinking it was some kind of prank, but as she was lead deep within the secure perimeter of VETO's headquarters, she quickly realized it was for real.

As she was lead into the heavily fortified armoured security room, she felt a moment of unease. Video monitoring equipment lined the walls. Thousands of network lights flickered, fluid router cables shimmered around the room as data transferred between various data banks. The airlock door sealed behind her, leaving her alone with a young Brutor.

Drem Haklar pulled his headphones from his head as the door sealed behind her. He straightened up, setting his feet on the floor as he grinned, "Ah, I was right. You did change your hair color. I thought so. It was a while ago, no?" He spoke with a heavy Venal accent, flashing her a white smile between pierced dark lips.

She nodded, "Yeah, I changed it. And you are who exactly? And what do you have to give me?" she asked skeptically as she rested her hands on her hips.

He watched her curiously as he stood, gesturing to the seat at the other side of his desk, "Have a seat. My name's Drem. Drem Haklar. I uh... well. Probably should explain this place and what I do first. I'm the Secure Comms officer for our corporation. Our boss likes to keep a solid network of Intelligence. You're stood right at the beating heart of Veto Corp right now. This is our mainframe control room. The equipment you see around you is our main frame's communications layer. We're hacked into pretty much every fluid router network you can think of here, watching, listening, and recording."

"I see." she glanced around the room again as she took a seat at his desk, her nose wrinkling, "So you're spying....got it."

"So, my boss wants to do business, but wants to keep distance, as do you, from the mails I've intercepted and monitored. He's asked me to offer you our eyes and ears, for anything you might need."

She frowned, "You're reading my mail? That is private!"

"I read every one's mail, with my boss's authorisation. For instance, I know there's a few Angel Cartel loyalists who've been tryng to figure a way to infiltrate us for months, but their CEO is too much of an idiot to get to grips with it. I know about a certain Gallente clone who was visiting you, about a certain Cartel Loyalist who's fucking his sister."

She sighed a soft little sound, "So he just lets you read my mail!" she threw her hands up in the air, obviously frustrated with the situation, not really caring about the Angel Cartels.

Drem shrugged his heavy shoulder and smiled, "Nothing leaves this room, I'm paid a lot of money to ensure that. That's why the walls are so thick. This place has a suppression field, and ten metre thick walls, with one of the best electronic firewalls available. It's quite secure in here, the two weakest links ironically are you, and me."

"Wait. So why would he offer me intel? Whats the point?"

"He's extending an olive branch to see if you take it. It's a common practice. If business ties can be healed, then it's a start."


***

Kathetel frowned as the video went blank. "You were gone for twenty eight hours and this is what you come back with? A two minute video?"

"It's all you need to know."

He looked skeptic, "That one of the most powerful crime lords in low sec is offering to share intel with you." He laughed a sound of disbelief. "A loyalist. A known Amarrian loyalist. Why would he lift a finger to help the Empire?"

She made air quotes, "An olive branch." She said with a shrug.

"I thought you two weren't friends any more."

"We aren't."

"This seems pretty friendly to me."

"Ethan has his quirks. Maybe it will amuse him, hell if I know."

"And what do you have to give him in return? Your intel?"

"No. Not that I have any yet anyhow, I haven't even formed the group, though I have a couple of people in mind for it. I don't have to share anything with him. I wont even see him, only Drem. He'd be my handler."

"It's too generous." He frowned in puzzlement.

"So you're saying it's a bad idea?"

"Not necessarily," he conceded, "Having someone who can operate outside of Empire law is not a bad thing. It's just odd."

She shrugged. "I told him I wanted no part of VETO, but he was more than welcome to come work for me."

"And why would he do that? You don't have the resources and ISK that VETO allows him."

"Well, he didn't accept it exactly. Yet, anyhow."

"But what makes you think he will..." Kathetel laughed, "Ah. He has a thing for you?"

"Something like that."

"Romantic," He said with a laugh, "No doubt he has been watching you? Were you his assignment?"

"For two years..."

"This should get interesting. I bet he thinks he's in love with you."

She rolled her eyes.

"So whats with the bandages?" he nodded towards her wrist.

"Nothing."

"You can tell me now or I'll get it out of Red later. Your choice."

She frowned, "It's complicated."

"Isn't everything?" His smile widened.

"Drem and I got into a fight of sorts...he told me some things and thought I'd tell Ethan. He thought Ethan would kill him so...he was going to beat him to it. Right in front of me."

Kathetel quirked his brow, "He tried to kill himself and make you watch? But that doesn't explain your bandages..."

"I was stuck in the securest room in New Eden with no way to get help. Only he could open the doors...so I tried to force him to."

He clicked his tongue, "I see. So you hurt yourself to force him to open the doors to call for medics, using his affection for you against him."

She nodded, "Yeah, something like that. And it worked too. He survived. I woke up in VETO infirm the next day, the nano's healed most of it. So yeah. It worked out."

"I take it Ethan didn't kill him?"

"No. I guess he felt sorry for him," Shalee murmured. "Anyhow, he's a good kid, and good at what he does."

Kathetel smirked, "That crush run both ways?"

She argued, "I barely know him."

He shrugged, "Makes little difference. What I do know is that if I tell you to stay away from him you'll go to extraordinary measures to get close to him. So, do as you will, but be careful. He's so far off the radar that he isn't likely to make waves. As for your friend Tiger..."

She stiffened.

"Precisely what part of 'hes a dangerous man stay away from him' did you not understand, hmmm?"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Entry 136: Red Tiger

She froze the holoscreen and stared at it, still wearing a look of disbelief that had plagued her face for the past half hour.

Tigerfish Torpedo, a former Sani Sabik and right hand man of the notorious Revan Nefarious, stood frozen in the holovid she'd just paused.

She studied the lines of his face, the glint of his eyes, the twisted curl of his mouth. A sadistic, eerie grin of pleasure.

His gloved hands were soaked with the blood of his crew members, men he'd just murdered for the sake of forcing someone else's will to his own. They were nothing more than pawns in some macabre game he was forcing Tiberious Thessalonia to play. Submit to his will, else more would die.

She pressed play again and heard him say, "If you don't help her, I'll go back and purge the rest of them. Their blood with be on your hands."

Again, she pressed pause and stared at him, her thoughts racing.

"You're a cold blood murderer...and you enjoy it," she whispered into the darkness.

With trembling hands, she poured a shot of whiskey and lit a cigarette, needing to calm her nerves.

It was one thing to hear rumors of such deeds, it was easy to dismiss them as idle gossip, half truths twisted to reflect a person in the worst possible light.

It was entirely different to have actual proof, to see the blood dripping from their hands, to see the look of pleasure gained from such gruesome acts.

She downed the shot then took a long draw off of her cigarette, placing it in the ashtray before she started to pace the dimly lit room. Behind her, Tiger's holographic form flickered.

An eerie feeling slid down her spine. "Why?" she asked as she turned to face the frozen image of him. "Why?"

"Because he is a bad, bad man," the holographic form of a little red headed girl responded.

Shalee jerked, darting her head as she searched for the girl. "Go away."

Red spoke rapidly, "You know he is bad but he reminds you of Hadrien. You feel guilty for not saving him. You killed him cause he was bad, you didn't even try to save him did you? You didn't try to help him."

"Stop it!" Her vision started to blur as her head pounded, throbbing with pain just behind her eyes.

"You want to help Tiger because you feel guilty! But you can't fix him. You just can't. Evil is evil and you know that. It doesn't go away...." the little girl laughed an eerie little sound, "...does it?" Her tone was accusing.

"Stop." Shalee lifted her hand and curled it in her hair, fingers tight in her long raven strands. "Stop, you're hurting me."

"You're hurting yourself." she said as she blinked into view finally, standing in front of Shalee. "Hurry up and pass out, I have to go tell Aldrith or Eran. I have to make them understand what you're doing!"

"Go to hell," she said as the blood dripped from her nose, staining her lips. She brushed the back of her hand across her mouth and chin, wiping away the blood, "I'm not going to let you do this. I am going to help him, he needs a friend. He needs me."

"You can't stop me," the girl challenged as she waited, watching Shalee's face as her eyes rolled back seconds before she collapsed to the floor. "Told you so."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Entry 135: A Night In Houla

Two Days Ago:

Dim, artificial lighting of the hangar silhouetted her lithe form as she stretched her arms out parallel to the floor. She wore her pod suit, a thin, nearly translucent covering that molded her body as a second skin.

Jonathan, her chief pod tech, gave the go-ahead for flight after running the obligatory pre-flight medical scans.

Several other pod techies started the process of wiring her up for the on coming night shift. As she synced into the endless flow of militia and intel channels, she checked to see what was reported and who was ready to roll out.

Eran, her usual FC since Predator Elite had abandoned militia to fight in the lawless lands of null sec hadn't made it to Houla yet.

Oh well, she'd make due until Eran's arrival.

As the pod was sealed, she felt her consciousness expanding, awareness amplifying as she floated in the shimmering fluid that entombed her body within the capsule.

A sense of anticipation coursed through her, an eagerness to fly. With Huola hot already, she knew it was going to be a long night of fighting.

Randomly she was invited to a fleet by a stranger, an Amarr militia pilot who was in local and already engaging the enemy.

She decided to give the unknown FC a chance and joined the fleet.

She initiated militia comms and Almity joined her.

"You get that fleet invite?" Shalee asked.

"...yeah. You joined?" Alm asked suspiciously.

"Yeah, why not. I'm ready to head out." She replied as she shipped into a hurricane.

They both frowned when they realized their FC wouldn't even be on comms with them.

"Oh. Well this is going to be interesting."

"And foolish. But what the hell."

As they were preparing to undock, Eran Mintor popped up in local.

"Oh thank God," they both replied in unison over comms.

Eran commandeered the fleet and within minutes they were out on the field.

The remainder of the night was spent fighting long range against the enemy fleet as they assaulted a POS in Houla.

Though they were unable to take down the enemy caps that were on field, they did manage to disrupt the operation and kill a few support ships in the process.

Later, after she'd docked up for the night and dismissed her crew, she stood beneath the showers longer than usual.

Her thoughts raced as she let the hot water spray across her back. Her reverie was broken by a too familiar voice.

"You need to be careful."

She turned suddenly and yanked the towel hanging across the back of the shower stall, wrapping it around her quickly as she said, "What are you doing in here? This is a private area. And I'm naked." Her face flashed with annoyance.

Kathetel smirked, "Calm down." He turned his back to her, giving her privacy. "I came here to warn you about your little friendship with Tiger. It's catching the attention of too many people."

"So what? I'm not allowed to speak to whomever I want now? Is that what you're going to tell me?" she asked as she made her way to the lockers, yanking hers open to grab a clean uniform.

He followed in pursuit. "How are you still so naive? Why are you so gullible?"

"Fuck off. I'm not in the mood." She slammed the locker closed and waited for him to turn his back to her before she started to dress. "Anyhow, we are just friends. I think he is interesting. He has interesting stories. He amuses me. That's it."

"He is a cold blooded killer. He has fought against the Empire for years, plotted against it. He was one of Revan's top associates, but you know that already. So how many people have to warn you before you decide to listen to reason? He is a dangerous man, Shalee."

"I know. But what is the harm of talking on comms with him?" she asked as he turned to face her.

"I wouldn't be here if it were just that. But you're accepting gifts from him. Very expensive gifts. Men don't buy Navy Geddons and Abaddons for girls they want to be 'just friends' with." He curled his fingers, making air quotes. "Plus the flowers? He wants something from you and he's seducing you to get it buy buying you things. He's even told you himself he is dangerous."

"Are you monitoring my mail?" She asked as she trailed her fingers through her damp raven hair.

"Of course."

She sighed her frustration. "Is it not enough that I devote my entire career to the Empire? Am I allowed no privacy in my personal time?"

"Your personal time still belongs to the Empire. Leave him alone Shalee, I'm warning you. I have a really bad feeling that he could be your downfall."

She lifted her chin, her blue eyes blazing, "Don't threaten me, Kathetel. I know my duties."

"Then act like it. Think of others for once. Think about the harm he could bring not only to yourself but the entire Knighthood, hell, even the entire militia if he had the inkling to do so. Don't get involved with him."

"I'm not!" She stomped her foot impatiently.

"Good." He smirked to her as he turned to leave. "Oh and Shalee? Enough with the Minmatar ships already, it's rather vulgar."