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?"
Kyrie stared at Shalee. "I..."
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."
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?"
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."
"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..."