Five years ago...
"I cannot forget about you, no matter how hard I've tried. Come away with me, let me love you like you should be."
"I'm not some prize to be claimed, Garst."
"Of course not! It was destiny that brought us together. My love is unconditional, no matter where my work takes me."
"Leave me alone," she pleaded softly. "I need time to think."
"I love you. What is there to think about?"
A few weeks ago...
Solar System: SAH-AD
Region: Etherium Reach
Security Level: -0.2
Station: Sad XIX Dont Fight Triumvirate
Emerald lights flickered along the corridor of the Gallente-styled space station in the SAH-AD star system, the new home to her corporation and alliance. They had moved the two jumps in a matter of hours, with hundreds of ships ferrying back and forth between star-gates. She wasn't sure the reason of the deployment, but it wasn't her place to ask questions. She simply did as she was told and got her things moved as swiftly as possible.
She found her room at the far end of the upper deck, near a series of elevators. As she keyed in the generic pass code, the door slid open. Once inside, she set up a personal pass-code, then made a quick walk about the room, checking to see that her clothing had been sent up. A few unopened crates were stacked up neatly by the closet. She quickly unpacked her few possessions, making sure to hide her sidearm in the safe inside the closet.
Once she finished, she exited her quarters to explore the new station. As she stepped into the corridor, she heard a familiar voice. His voice. Garst Tyrell neared, talking into his neo-comm to one of his subordinates on the flight deck. She gasped as their eyes met. She could feel her pulse quicken as his harsh gaze bore into hers. He scowled, his lips pressing together into a hard, thin line. She expected him to say something but he merely turned and disappeared onto the lift.
Her heart skipped out of rhythm and she felt as if she were going to faint. She shuddered, recalling the audio clip that someone in the upper echelons of No. Mercy secretly sent her; a recording of his orders regarding her after she had joined his corporation. "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."
"I love you, what is there to think about?" How quickly the line between love and hate eroded all those years ago.
She leaned against her CQ's door for a full five minutes, waiting to make certain he wasn't coming back to float her out of an airlock before starting her exploration. Not wanting to run into him again, she decided to explore the Commons- an area on every station where the lowest dregs of society congregated. There was no possible way Tyrell would sully his reputation by slumming it, of that she was certain.
She located the usual operations: Gambling dens, whore houses, fighting pits, and black market goods. Capsuleers were drawn to the rush, in or out of pod.
Pulsing music reverberated into the corridor. The ceilings burst with a kaleidoscope of color as ads for each establishment flashed in time with the music. A couple of Gallente men dressed in shiny black pants- and nothing else, catcalled her as she bypassed the more nefarious, hedonistic hubs. Chuckling, she kept moving until she found the bazaar. The bazaar was full of 'local' goods from nearby planets and usually more tame than the Commons.
As she paused to admire an amethyst necklace from a Caldari vendor, she noticed a pair of dark eyes intently focused on her. A chill snaked down her spine as she wondered if it were one of Garst's agents following her. Pretending to be oblivious to him, she returned her attention to the jewelry, biding her time until a large crowd came passing by the booth. She slipped away, pushing herself in between a pair of Jin-Mei capusleers. Without checking to see if he followed, she quickly ducked into a dimly lit corridor and walked through the shadows to the next vendor. A blood red sign pulsed above the archway, though she couldn't read the ancient Intaki. A spicy scent permeated the air, something exotic and alluring. Stepping through the archway, she glanced around the room. On one side the vendor sold charms, candles, ritual books and spell items. The other side lead to another area of the shop, though she couldn't tell what was beyond the curtained doorway.
Keeping one eye on the entrance, she pretended to take an interest in the items for sell. "You have an interesting display," she remarked casually to the dark Brutor who hovered behind the counter. He was the darkest Brutor she'd ever seen, his skin inky black except for a few swirling tribal tattoos in white along his biceps.
He chuckled, and gave her a toothy grin in return, "Fancy anything, M'Lady?"
"Hmmm," she tapped her fingertip to her mouth as she looked over the goods. "I don't think so. Just browsing, really." She decided most of the items would be contraband in the Empire, anyhow.
He tipped his head towards a brightly curtained door, "Then perhaps M'Lady would like her fortune told?"
A skeptical brow shot up, though she smiled politely. "I don't really believe in such things. I am afraid it would be wasted on me."
He chuckled, "That is what they all say, until they actually meet Madam Croiset."
Fine. I'll play along, she thought as she asked, "Who is she?"
He nodded towards the curtained door, "Why don't you go and find out for twenty ISK."
Shalee hesitated for a moment, then nodded with a sweet smile. It would bide her some time, and perhaps the agent would give up looking for her. "Yeah, okay. Why not?"
After paying for the session, she stepped through the curtain and felt like she was passing into another world. The entire room was black, void of any color except for a fire brazier in the center of a small table. Flames danced eerily, casting shadows into the dark corners. The spicy scent was was heavier in this room, almost overbearing. Madam Croiset sat at the end of a small table and wiggled her fingers, motioning Shalee over. "Come in, have a seat." Her accent was thick, though very charming.
Shalee smiled and crossed the room, "Thank you. It's very dark in here..." She took a moment to study the psychic. Inky black hair framed a pale white face. Shalee couldn't make out her age, though she had a timeless air about her. She could be anywhere from thirty to one hundred and thirty.
"The dark gives me focus. Now, give me your hand, child."
Shalee took a seat opposite of the medium and laid her hand out onto the table, palm up. "I suppose this is the part you tell me that I have a long life ahead of me and that I'll marry a tall, rich, and handsome man." She blushed sheepishly, "Sorry. I don't mean to offend."
Madam Croiset smiled indulgently, "You forgot dark and mysterious."
She chuckled, "But of course."
Madam Croiset adjusted her golden monocle and leaned over Shalee's palm, studying it. She stroked her long, pale finger along the inside of Shalee's hand and traced a single line. "Interesting pattern, but not unique to a capsuleer." She lifted her sparkling green gaze and looked at her intently, "What really intrigues me is the haunting."
"Pardon?" Shalee's brow shot up, "What do you mean?"
"I see spirits all around you."
Shalee resisted the urge to roll her eyes. "Ah...I see. Who's?"
Madam Croiset darted her eyes around, looking over Shalee's shoulder. "Lives you've taken."
Shalee imagined a legion full of ghosts swarming her. Really, what capsuleer hadn't been responsible for thousands of deaths in the time of war? She usually didn't think about such things; it was far too depressing. It was easier to put it out of her mind and chalk up her kills to the necessity of war. For years she had fought for the Amarr Empire, and now for Garst Tyrell. Either way, duty was duty. In combat, it was kill or be killed. "There isn't a station big enough to house the spirits of my dead, I should think." She stood, tiring of the charade. "Thank you for an amusing time."
"Wait. There are three."
Shalee tilted her head with her arms folded loosely in front of her. "Fine. Who are they?"
Croiset shook her head, "I'm not sure. But one has a message for you..."
She sighed with annoyance, "Yes. Of course one has a message for me. A dire one, no doubt. And if I should pay you a few more ISK you'd be more than happy to tell me, is that the gist of it?"
"Please stay." Her eyes narrowed. "It's about your daughter...," she whispered compassionately. "
"We lost her."
Xavier huffed out a breath as his fingers tightened around his comm-link. "How the fuck did that happen? You had one goddamned job. To follow her."
"She gave us the slip near the Commons."
"What was she doing there?"
"I don't know. Shopping?"
Xav muttered under his breath, "You don't know? You don't fucking know? What, precisely, do you think you're getting paid for?"
"She made Maulder, we think. Once she spotted him, she uh...just slipped away," Jameson replied weakly.
His tone was incredulous. "Just slipped away." Hot anger flashed in his blue-black eyes. "Pray you don't find out what Tyrell does to incompetent employees." he warned, just before killing the communication.
Xavier settled down behind his desk and raked his fingers through his hair with a frustrated sigh. He pulled the security feeds up from around the Commons, each camera drone casting a small display against the opposite side of the room. Hundreds of scenes played out before him in real time. He watched each simultaneously, his implants allowing him to absorb data lightning fast, and with exact precision. Every detail unveiled before him throughout the Commons, though he dismissed most of it as unimportant.
"Where are you..." he muttered to himself as he waited for Shalee to pass by one of the live feeds.
An image from one of the seedier bars caught his attention.
[Deck 42, Security Drone 3947] The beautiful Esharan draped an arm across the shoulder of a pale blonde Amarrian woman and pulled her in for a drunken kiss. Their tongues danced against one another's, lapping eagerly, bodies close.
He quickly diverted his attention to another feed, forcing himself not be aware of what was happening between the two women.
Easier said than done.
The images flowed into his consciousness and played at the front of his mind.
[Deck 42, Security Drone 3947] Esharan broke the kiss, her lips wet and a little bit swollen. She grazed them across the blonde's throat hungrily, her tongue lapping at the other's pale skin.
Cursing himself, he enhanced the feed and activated audio.
[Deck 42, Security Drone 3947] "You're quite tasty," Esharan whispered seductively against the Amarrian's ear. She nibbled her earlobe, then darted her tongue out to trace the line of her jaw. "I bet you're even tastier here," she stated as she boldly slid her hand beneath the girl's skirt.
The Amarrian gasped as she held her head back, a look of pleasure beaming from her half-lidded eyes. "You don't even know my name."
"Is that important to you?," Esharan asked with a sultry tone as her hand moved rhythmically under the tiny black skirt.
"Lauren. My name is Lauren," the girl said, just before clamping her teeth down onto her lower lip, stifling a moan.
"Want to go into the back and have a little fun, Lauren?" Esh asked as she pulled her hand up from between the girl's thighs and licked at her fingers.
Lauren nodded with a wild, eager smile, "Yes, please."
A trickle of sweat beaded on Xavier's forehead as the two women disappeared into another room. He forced his attention elsewhere, until he caught sight of them again in the long, dimly lit corridor behind the bar. They stepped into a private room- or so they thought, and started to shed one another's clothing.
With a guilty feeling settling into the pit of his stomach, he queued the audio in their room and enhanced it. He wanted to hear every little moan uttered, every little gasp given.
[Deck 42, Security Drone 3954] Esharan climbed onto the bed after Lauren stretched out across the mattress. Her pale skin flushed with desire, her arousal blatant and glistening between her parted legs.
Esh teased her fingers along Lauren's thighs as she kissed the girl's bent knee. "I didn't think Amarrian girls were allowed to play with other girls like this," she said in between small, butterfly kisses along Lauren's inner thigh.
"W-we aren't supposed to...." Lauren's fingers curled into the red sheet, her knuckles white. Her taut stomach undulated, quivering as Esharan neared her pink, soft center.
"Your secret is safe with me," Esh said, revelling in the musky scent of the Amarrian, her mouth hovering, increasing the other's anticipation. "Is this your first time with a girl?"
As Esh lowered her mouth to claim the girl's forbidden innocence, Xavier forced himself to focus on another drone. He searched the crowds strolling through the Commons as he listened to Lauren's throaty moans.
"God-damn," he swore, as he glanced back to the couple, watching as positions were changed.
[Deck 42, Security Drone 3954] Esharan maneuvered herself over Lauren's lithe little body, her weight supported by her long, sinewy limbs pressing into the mattress. Moans were muffled as each sought the other's pleasurable spot. Hands roamed along Esh's back and buttocks, fingers frantically clasping at the girl as she learned to give as much as she took.
Pleasure exploded for one, then both. Their cries of ecstasy sent a shiver down Xavier's spine. The torment of listening to them became almost unbearable. "Again, please," he heard Lauren demand, seconds before he killed both audio and video.
"Ok Xav. Focus," he told himself out loud. "Where would she go, and who would she contact next?"