Thursday, March 28, 2013
The Last Light, Part 4
Neon lights flashed from a billboard near the star gate they orbited, advertising the SOMER Blink casino and gambling den of Jita IV.
'Traffic Control,' the automated voice of the shuttle announced to the passengers. Scatha glanced through the window, watching the congestion around the last star gate into Jita.
Shalee murmured in her sleep and rolled over, kicking Scorpion Venom's side. The pair of militia pilots slept across a shuttle bench, tangled up among a pile of flight jackets and overnight bags used as pillows. Scorpion grunted and slouched down, his head ending up against her leg.
They had been asleep the last eight star system changes.
Scatha side-glanced them and chuckled.
The public transport was nearly empty, shuttling the three militia pilots and two heavily tattooed Sebiestor teens, who were also asleep on the last bench near the back.
A bright light flashed as a holodrone whirled into activity. The holographic image of a small red headed girl took shape in front of him. She peered at him curiously. He instantly recognized her, the avatar that Shalee's subconscious took when she was 'digitally sleepwalking', as was explained to him by his superior. She could access anything digital, go into any holographic world, activate any holodrone to project herself. She could take any form but chose a little girl; no one knew why. She would 'dream' in the waking world, wandering wherever she pleased, carrying on conversations with people, and pry into anything digital that she had access to. She was a restless dreamer. The ironic part was that she never remembered anything she learned as the little girl. It was like a fading dream as soon as she awoke. However, the child remembered everything.
He smirked at her.
"I was wondering when you were going to show up."
"How do you know about me?" the child asked.
"We've met before," he said.
She looked skeptical. "I would remember you."
"Actually you wouldn't. It was during those two months she doesn't remember."
"Then what's my name?" she challenged.
"Red. You say that Raphael calls you Red."
She tilted her head, "I've been watching you. You aren't Scatha. Scatha and Melisandre are both real girls...I've seen them. So who are you?"
"Steve," he answered.
"Okay Steve, though I know that's probably not your real name either. What are you really doing here. Are you an agent? You fight like one."
"The Empire, of course."
"What is your agenda?"
"To infiltrate Faliin Oreen's Sani Sabik covenant and destroy it along with the Jovian tech that he has acquired."
"Why should she trust you?" she asked.
"She has to trust someone, right?"
"You say that as if you know something...."
"I know lots of things," he assured her.
She paced along the floor in front of him, "She used to be an Imperial Agent."
"I know," he said.
Her brow lifted.
"I was her partner. During those missing two months, we were assigned a couple of joint ops."
"Why didn't you tell her the truth about who you are."
"She's not ready to face that part of her past."
"Because the last mission we had was to kill her fiance for good."
"You were going to kill Tiger?"
He nodded, "She was. He was an assignment, just like Eran Mintor had been."
"But Eran lived."
"Eran was converted and he fought for the Empire. His betrayal to the Minmatar was a crushing blow to their morale at the time. Tiger," he swayed his hand dismissively, "is mostly unimportant to the fate of the Empire. She was to make an assessment about him, whether he was worth converting."
"And she chose to kill him instead?" she asked.
He nodded, "He, along with all of his clones would have been infected with some sort of poison that would drive him insane. Granted, he wasn't a high priority. But you know her, she has a grudge against the Sani Sabik."
"So she was going to end him...but before she could, her brother's hijacked her clones and brought her back with years of missing memories. She didn't know the truth. She thought she really loved Tiger. She started seeing him for real instead of as an assignment..."
He nodded again, "Bingo."
"But her brothers didn't know Ethan had a clone of her, they didn't know Ethan could give her back all of the missing memories...except those two months."
"And those are the two months she knew me. The two months where she met Tiger and started a fake relationship so she could get close enough to get access to his clones."
Her little brows furrowed, "And then she started a real one with him...because she didn't know any better."
"Yes. And now she is in too deep with him, the Agency pretty much cut her off, though we check in on her from time to time."
"Why is Tiger still alive? Why don't you kill him?"
He explained, "No point in killing a capsuleer, he will just resurrect out in null sec somewhere or other. You have to get the clones too, and that is what she was going to do."
"And now she is going to marry him," she said gloomily.
"Yeah, something like that."
She tried to kick a crushed Quafe can across the floor, only to have her foot move through it. "She's not going to trust you once she finds out that you were going to help her kill Tiger."
"That's why I'm not telling her. You'll keep my secret, right?"
She pouted, "You know I can't tell her anything. I know everything she does but she doesn't know the things I do."
He smirked, "I know."
"How are you going to find Faliin?" she asked.
"I'm not. He's going to find her."
"Docking permission requested," the automated voice announced. "Docking request accepted,"