This is the diary & short stories of Shalee Lianne Cerra, in the fictitious universe, New Eden, in the game of Eve Online. Come be a part of her world...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Lies We Tell Each Other

Solar System: Huola
Constellation: Sasen
Region: The Bleak Lands
Location: Cerra Manor

Evening sunlight flooded into her suite at Cerra Manor as she lounged on an over-sized, canopy bed, talking with her husband. She arrived the previous night, though he hadn't made it to Houla yet from his null-sec deployment. While waiting, she spent the evening on the terrace chatting with Lord Reginald Sakakibara and Lord Kailethre Ismaile. There was something soothing about being among polite society, where men treated her with the respect due to her Holder status.

Reginald had requested to stay at the Manor for a few days due to some stress at his Holding in Sasikeo and some problems with his wife, Lady Katerina Tzestu Sakakibara. Though she was sorry to hear of his troubles, she was more than happy to host him for a few days. She adored him and had often missed his company.

And then there was Lord Kaile. He seemed out of sorts and so she invited him to stay as well, and planned a weekend out of it.

Her Holding resided on Huola, planet seven, Cerra District-named for her ancestors. The manor house sat on a cliff near the ocean with several guest cottages on the property. The manor was open to the public, with a well stocked bar outside on the terrace. The place had become a favorite among many Imperial capsuleers, and various others who sought their company.

Shalee rolled her head to the side and feasted her gaze upon pewter sea beyond the opened balcony doors. White scalloped waves rolled towards the shore. Tiger stretched out beside her and placed a kiss against her neck. A smile curled her lips before she realized the familiar, warm feelings for him were probably nothing more than a lie. Their history was long, dark, and troubled. Though they had only been married a few months, they had been together for years. He loved her obsessively but there was some part of him that she would never be able to trust. Especially now, while she suspected he was part of the Aposi, a secret Sani Sabik sect responsible for the murder of her daughter.

It was a delicate line she was walking; pretending to be the dutiful, adoring wife, while she waited for him to slip up and show his hand. She wanted to believe he was innocent but it was too hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. He had lied to her so frequently in the past that she couldn't believe in him now, despite desperately wanting to.

Her thoughts drifted to Garst as she watched the rolling waves. The recording frightened her, more so than she would admit. When she applied to No Mercy, she had counted on him having forgotten her, but she had no idea that he would hold onto his utter hatred of her, even after all of these years. He loved me once, she thought sullenly. How can he think I'm spying on him?

"So, tell me, how are things progressing in Tri?" Tiger asked, interrupting her reverie.

"About the same," a pensive smile curled her lips. "I am taking it day by day."

"I'm sorry to hear that," he said. "I was hoping you'd have found something by now."

"I have some leads but nothing substantial at this point."

"Raphael still hardly speaking to you?" he asked.

"When he is around, yes. But I rarely see him. However, I have caught the attention of my old handler. He seems worried...he practically called me a traitor."

His brow creased into a frown. "Traitor? To whom?"

"The Empire, of course."

"How do you feel about that sentiment?" Tiger asked as he grazed his hand along her side.

"It feels horrible. But, I can understand why he would think that. I had to tell him the truth...I trust him," she said.

Tiger frowned, "Still, he has no right to talk to you that way. No one has done more for the Empire than you."

"It doesn't matter. I left the Empire. In their eyes it is pretty much means betrayal."

He sighed and changed the subject. "We should get some alcohol in for tomorrows boat trip."

"Sounds good. What do you suggest?" she asked, her thoughts drifting to the weekend with Lord Reginald and Lord Kaile.

"Some wine, perhaps? Maybe some Champagne?"

"Champagne, mmm, that sounds perfect."

"I'll sort it out tomorrow afternoon, before we set off."

"Strawberries too. It will go nice with the champagne."

"Strawberries? An excellent choice," he smiled. "Anything else you'd like?"

"Can't think of anything, no."

"You know, I can't even remember the last time I saw you wear a bikini..."

"Because you prefer me nude, usually," she smirked.

"You can't blame me for that...  and tomorrow I'll be wanting the same again. Yet, if Kaile shows up, a bikini will have to suffice."

She laughed, "Yes, of course. I have no plans on seducing Lord Kaile, if that is what you are wondering."

"I'm pleased to hear it."

She stuck her tongue out at him.

Tiger smiled and raised her hand to his lips. "I'm only teasing."

She brushed her fingers along his cheek. "I know, love."

Tiger held her hand softly against his cheek. "I've missed you," he whispered. "All I've had is a painting of you to keep me company for the last week or so."

She kissed him lightly upon his lips, "Well you have me now. All to yourself."

"Perhaps you should talk to Katerina...  if I'm to speak with Reginald tomorrow?" he said.

The thought of contacting Katerina frightened her. Kat had been her friend for years, the two had flown together in her old corp- but Kat moved on to the Legion. If Garst should find out she had such a friend in PL, he would assume she was feeding them intel. Or worse- that she was secretly a part of the Legion as well. "I will do that," she lied. "I need to catch up with her anyhow. I hope they can work it out." I hope she stays far away, the thought lingered in the back of her mind.

He smiled. "I never thought those two would hit the rocks so soon. I mean, they're good together," Tiger said.

"I know. I think it is just all the stress they are under, you know?"

"Of course. It's only natural, considering the circumstances."

"Mmmhmm." She curled up closer to him and laid her hand against his chest. "I'll send her a mail tomorrow."

Tiger relaxed, stretching his legs out, and carefully maneuvered her so that she was laying on top of him, "Excellent. You'll have to let me know what she says. I'm sure this is just a blip for them."

She wiggled on top of him, getting comfortable. She folded her arms across his chest and leaned her chin against her arms, staring at him. "And you'll have to tell me what he says."

He looked down his body, into her blue eyes as she rested on his chest. "I'm sure he'll tell you himself when he joins us on the boat. But if he doesn't, of course I will. I do hope Kaile won't be too mopey."

"I'm sure Lord Kaile will be mopey, but, only because he is going through a hard time. I'm hoping to introduce him to someone and get his mind off of things."

"Oh? Whom?" he asked.

Shalee's eyes lit with intrigue. "A girl I've met recently. She is pretty, sweet, and available, so..."

"A girl? What girl?" he inquired.

"Her name is Sahriah. She used to be in Militia years and years ago. She dropped by the manor the other day in search of Garst...which is odd, but perhaps she remembered that he and I flew together back then, and I'm in his corporation now. So. She must assume we are closer than what we are."

He sat up, supporting himself on his elbows. "Sahriah?"

She rolled off of him as he sat up. "Yeah?" She laid on her back, with her arm hooked behind her head, using it as a pillow. "Long before you ever joined Militia."

"Sahriah? Does she have a surname?"

Something in the way he said her name gave her pause. A hint of worry washed across her delicate face. "She does. Blood....stone? Something blood, I think. I don't remember."

"Bloodstone," he said softly, confirming the name for her. "Sahriah Bloodstone."

"Yes..." She stared at him with confusion, "That sounds right."

"That's a name I've not heard in a long time," he said in a quieter voice.

"You know her?" she asked.

He nodded his head. "I do, yes ...more, I did know her."

"How? Please don't say she's an ex lover...." Her stomach lurched. Anger pulsed, and her bright blue eyes fixated on him with a blistering stare. As much as he claimed to love her, their relationship was fraught with his infidelities.

He shook his head. "Fortunately, no. She was a pilot from an opposing corporation that I attacked. Had them thoroughly demoralized within a matter of weeks. They were losing members... I offered a cease fire, in exchange for a ransom."

"Ah. So she was an enemy?"

"Initially. After they paid the ransom, I offered to train them, and a few of their officers joined UPAY to learn from me. She was their FC."

"She was in your corp? Oh....I hadn't checked her corp history. How curious."

He nodded. "That was roughly eight years ago, when I served Revan. After several months, I even took Sahriah as my own Prathet. But she ran away, and I never heard her name again until just now."

She frowned deeply. "Sahriah was Sani Sabik?!" She sat up on the bed, then slid to the edge. "She was one of yours..." She shook her head in disbelief.

Tiger sat up and moved over towards her, sliding his arm around her, "Darling, you know I came with a past when you first met me."

She nodded her head slowly, "Yes. Of course." She forced her smile. "It was just a I wasn't expecting."

He smiled meekly and kissed her shoulder tenderly. "It was years before you and I met. She wasn't Sani very long...  Well, not that I recall. But she may have remained such since leaving me."

"I understand." She stared ahead as she dropped her hands to lap. "You said 'they' joined your corp. Who are the others?"

"There was a man very dear to her, a guy called Gemini...," he said, tapping his lip. "Tordanis. Then there were two others; Shantalis....  and Azani something."

She inwardly cringed as she heard the name Gemini. "Gemini Tordanis?" The name was very familiar. Gemini was in Tri with her. Not just in the same alliance, but the same corp. That couldn't be a coincidence. "I see." She smiled again, then changed the subject. "We should do lunch on the boat, don't you think? Make a whole day of it?"

He began rubbing her shoulder as she changed the subject, massaging her muscles with his thumb. "Of course. Anything you like, darling. You only need name it."

She relaxed slightly beneath his touch. It was easier playing the part of adoring wife and Amarrian hostess than to think about Tiger and Sahriah and their bloodied history. "I want our guest to have a good time."

"So do I..." he said, trailing off. "Wait, you didn't invite Sahriah, did you?"

"No. I only invited the other two late last night. I've not seen Sahriah since then.

He smiled and lowered his hand from her shoulder. "Very well, darling", he said in a soft, gentle tone. "What do you reckon we could do to increase their enjoyment?"

"I don't know much about Lord Kaile, so I don't know, really."

"Hmmmm. I've only met him a couple of times. What about Reginald?" he asked.

"You know Reginald as well as I do."

He thought for a moment, "Maybe some fishing. That's quite relaxing. I'll talk to him tomorrow."

"That will be fun," she said automatically.

He moved back onto the bed, and rolled onto his side, watching her from his side of the bed. "For now, however, I want to see your sunbathing attire for tomorrow..."

She laughed suddenly. Of course that would be on his mind. "I'm curious. Why didn't you sleep with her?" she asked as she headed over into her walk-in closet.

"Sahriah?" he asked after her. "I don't remember much from back then. I probably suggested it a couple of times, but nothing ever came of it"

She took her time, changing into a tiny, pale yellow bikini inside of her walk-in. "Why didnt you make her?" She checked her reflection in the mirror before stepping out into the bedroom.

He cast his eyes down her body, sweeping lower and examining every curve of her figure. "I could have, but decided not to. Perhaps I didn't want to make her succumb to my desires."

She dropped her hands to her lithe hips, showing off her willowy body, "That is odd. I mean. Why did you hold back during those times?"

He looked back up her body, to meet her gaze. "Would it have done me any favors now, had I made her give herself to me?"

She shrugged lightly, "Very well. I'll drop it."

"Thank you", he said, offering her a seductive smile. "Surely you can't be upset over something that happened three years before we met?"

"No, but I find it suspicious that she all-of-a-sudden shows up where we live, and fails to mention that she knows you." And that she was a goddamned Sani Sabik.

...and the person who murdered my daughter was Sani Sabik, the thought hung in the back of her mind.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Lull Before The Storm

Solar System: C-V6DQ
Region: Etherium Reach
Constellation: H7Q-DG
Security Level: 0.9Location: Don't Quit Now GEMICO Space Station

Her neo comm chimed the moment she stepped into her captain's quarters. As the door slid shut, she slid her thumb across her comm to activate the new message. The subject line was -You'll want to hear this,- and sent by a single initial, 'K'.

Intrigued, she tapped the play icon on her neo comm. It was an encrypted audio file. She waited a moment as the encryption was sorted, then quirked a brow as she heard Garst Tyrell's voice as it began to play. Crisp, perfect sound quality but the recording started mid conversation.

"-here? Now? After all this time. Something isn't right. This isn't the first time we've faced a situation like this. But, it has the potential to be the most dangerous if not handled correctly. We're at a critical juncture and we can't afford the smallest slip-up. TRI is in the spotlight. We. Have. To. Be. Perfect." Garst's voice finished, distinct and commanding. 

A young voice, melodic and soothing replied: "You really think she could be one? Come on now, she's a nobody. You think that about every one..."

Garst: "Then explain the timing. You know exactly what our plans are. We are less than 48 hours from the a full scale attack. Are you willing to bet your Wyvern on it?"

Unknown Voice One: "You're being dramatic. What's the worst that she could really do-"

Garst: "Get us all killed? Or worse, embarrass us. I told you we're in the spotlig-"

Unknown Voice One: "So what, should I throw her out an airlock just like you did to-"

Garst: "Interrupt me again. Try it. You are going to follow her. You are going to have your agents follow her. You are going to intercept her communications. You are going to feed her false intel and see if turns up on the net. You are going to break into her room and riffle through her god damn underwear, turn the place inside out but make sure she doesn't see you. The same damn thing you do over and over, you do it well, and you do it right. No mistakes."

Unknown Voice One: "If you are really serious about this, I'll make it happen. Just like in Taisy."

Garst: "Yeah, like Taisy. If she turns out to be another god damned Legion spy, I'll make sure we get take care of her in a way that there won't be more volunteering to come infiltrate us next anytime soon."

Unknown Voice one: "You really think she's Legion? Black, Death, or Pandemic?"

Garst: "At this point I don't care. That's your job to find out. Make it happen."

Unknown Voice One: "You got it."

The recording kept running to the sound of footsteps growing more distant. Abruptly the file ended.

She gave a wary glance around her captain's quarter, half expecting one of Garst's thugs to be there waiting for her. Her heart thudded wildly with fear. She placed her palm against her chest, trying to calm her nerves. Had he already sent someone to her quarters? Had her things already been searched or was it yet to happen? And who was K? Who inside of Garst's inner circle wanted to help her? And why?

Startling blue eyes slanted across the room, searching every nook and cranny where someone could possibly hide. Thankfully, the area was small. She wasn't important enough to command one of the upper echelon's suites, or the penthouse. Just a tiny little space with a bed, sofa, closet, and a viewing screen.

With trepidation, she made her way to the closet and pulled it open, half expecting someone to jump out at her. She exhaled a soft breath as she found it empty except for a few pieces of clothes and some boots. She barely kept anything in C-V6 anyhow. Kneeling down, she keyed in the security code that would unlock a small floor safe. She pulled out the sidearm and checked it to make certain it was loaded and ready to be used. Just in case. She placed it back into the safe, then closed it before standing and closing the closet door.

Feeling a little more relaxed, she made her way over to the sofa and settled down. She waited a moment, making certain that no one was going to come bursting through the doors, then she pulled out her personal files and began to add information to them. Everything was encrypted, thanks to Viscerus Bent, her long time friend and hacking guru. He was brilliant, and she was thankful to have his help.

She worked for several hours, adding bits of information to pilots name, things she'd overheard on comms, no matter how random or trivial. Eventually it would come together and all of the little pieces would add up to something greater-and only then would she be able to unravel the mystery of the illusive Sani Sabik sect, Aposi, inside of Tri.

Raking her fingers through her hair, she settled back with a sigh after putting her files away. Even if Garst's people were to find them and copy them, they'd never be able to decipher them. At least that much was safe.

Her neocomm chimed with an incoming mail from her husband, Tigerfish Torpedo. With a yawn, she read it quickly and decided to head home to Huola tomorrow. Things would be infinitely better away from the tense situation in null, even if she could only spare a few hours away.

Dearest Shalee,
It's been a week since I last saw you, and even then we only met for a few hours between patrols. Needless to say I'm missing you very much, despite being as proud as I am of your recent dedication to Tri. I trust life in Tri is going well and that they're looking after you out there? Heaven knows how much I wish I could be there myself to help safeguard you - not that you need it of course.
Darling, could we perhaps spend some time together this weekend? My painting of you provides me good company when you're away, but it's no substitute for actually spending time with you. I don't mind whether you'd like to go out or stay in, I just want to see you. 
I'll be returning to the Manor tomorrow some time, as I think our war is coming to an end. The hostiles have just pulled back, their morale truly shattered. I think that in itself deserves celebration. Well, I'll let you mull it over.
With all my love,

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Can't Tell Me No

Solar System: C-V6DQ
Region: Etherium Reach
Constellation: H7Q-DG
Security Level: 0.9
Location: Don't Quit Now GEMICO Space Station

She grazed her hand lightly along the railing as she walked along the upper deck after a long day of ops. She'd docked her gila earlier, thanking God that she survived the night in one piece and suffered no losses. After disengaging from her pod, she showered then changed into black cargo pants, boots, and a long sleeved black shirt with the Triumverate logo across the front. It still felt alien to her, this winged creature that symbolized her new alliance. She studied it in the floor length mirror, bathed in the blue neon light that outlined the mirror.

She'd been in the alliance for a month and a half, yet still felt very much an outsider. She barely spoke to her corp mates, and only in passing to a couple inside the alliance. But that was the point, really. To stay in the shadows; to be as inconspicuous as possible. To watch and observe.

From the lower deck she could hear CuffDawg coming in off of his patrol. She leaned against the glass wall that wrapped around the atrium and peeked over the side. She could see the top of his head on the level below. He was easy to recognize, though not by his Caldarian cheekbones or his Civire attire, but by his colorful expressions. If she had an ISK for every time he had said cunt while on patrols, she'd easily be able to replace the machariels she had lost recently. Her proper, uptight Amarrian upbringing deemed she find the man crude and uncouth. However, she couldn't help but be utterly charmed by him. His feats were impressive. He flew without fear. And from what she could gather, he was a pivotal force within the alliance. She simply adored him.

As he disappeared onto a lift with another alliance director, she continued her stroll along the empty corridor. Sunlight poured into the viewport, basking the area in a warm, buttery glow. She paused to admire the spectacular view of space beyond the station. Stars glittered against the inky darkness. Several of her alliance mates were drifting nearby, waiting to head out on the morning patrol. She watched as the fleet hit warp drive, then disappeared from her view.

"Spectacular, isn't it?"

She turned her head as surprise washed across her face. "Kathetel? What are you doing here?"

The Imperial Agent folded his arms. "Checking up on you."

"I haven't been a part of the agency in years. I'm not your concern anymore, so you don't need to check up on me. I'm fine," she said in a rebellious tone.

"I'm worried about you."


"Because you are here," he spread his hands, referring to the station. "You don't belong here."

"I don't belong anywhere anymore," she said softly. "But that is hardly any of your business."

"You don't belong with Tyrell's bunch, that's for certain. He is a traitor to the Empire. And now, so are you when you choose to fly under his command."

"He doesn't even care about Amarr, you know. It's not like he is camped up in Kamilla terrorizing the locals."

His dark brow quirked. "Are you really defending him? Why? You used to hate him."

"I don't care about him either way, okay?"

He eyed her suspiciously, "Why don't I believe you?"

"I don't care what you believe. I don't have to report to you any longer, remember?"

He sighed, "Stop being so defensive. I'm here as your friend, not as your handler."

"Then as my friend, I ask that you stay out of it. Just leave, okay?"

Kathetel turned his gaze to the view port, standing silent for a long moment before saying, "You used to trust me."

Her blue eyes clouded as she stared at his strong profile. Memories fluttered through her mind. He was right. She had trusted him once upon a time. "What do you want me to say?"

"The truth. Tell me why you are here. Because from where I am standing, none of this makes any sense."

She gave a slow nod of her head. She owed him that much, she reasoned. He had saved her ass countless times in the past. Keeping her tears at bay, she quickly explained everything in a soft, emotionless voice.

He cocked his head to the side as he listened, and as she finished, he merely shook his head. "So what public reason do you give for being here? You were fiercely loyal to the Amarr Militia, and suddenly, you're slumming it in Etherium Reach with a bunch of 'Space Vikings'..." he did air-quotes.

She gave a shrug of her shoulders. "I tell anyone who asks that I am helping an old friend with a campaign. That he asked me personally."

"And people are buying that?"

"Why wouldn't they? They don't know what transpired between Garst and I."

He frowned. "And Garst? How is he treating you now?"

She looked away, staring off into space. "He pretends I'm not here."

Kathetel looked suspicious, "You've not spoken to him at all out of pod?"

She shook her head. "Perhaps he has forgotten me." She nodded, as if trying to convince herself. It had been a long time after all. A memory from five years ago played through her mind...

Garst slammed her against the wall as he whispered, "I've been looking all over for you girl; do you know how much trouble you've put me through? If you promise not to scream I'll let you speak. Nod yes if you agree."

Instinctively, she bit his hand as he slammed her against the wall, for the moment having no idea who it was until she heard his voice. She widened her eyes as she nodded.

"Remember, no screaming." His eyes were cold but uncertain. He took his hand from her mouth and frowned at the blood.

She trembled, "How did you find me?"

"That's for me to know and you to pray I don't have to do again. You've really led me on a chase."

"I...I told you I wouldn't be there."

"When are you going to learn you can't tell me no." He grabbed her chin with his bloodied hand and clamped her mouth shut. "The time for talking is over, now you are going to listen."

She gave a quick nod of her head, eyes bright with terror.

He wiped his bloody hand across her mouth, leaving her lips bloodied and his hand clean again for the second. "I really do care about you, you know... but I'm starting to think that you don't know after all all this chasing, all this back and forth. It's ridiculous and I'm tired of it." He ran his hand down the side of her waist gently, brushing her hips before bringing his hand back up to her gently touch her cheek. "You've had your fun, the games over. You're coming with me."