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, July 29, 2009

Entry Twenty Seven: My Blue Heaven

A camera drone followed the young lieutenant as she made her way through her personal hangar in the Tuomuta spaceport. Her face was pale with dark smudges beneath her eyes, evidence that she had barely slept the last few days. She trailed her hands through her messy red hair, attempting to pull it up into a bun. The artifical lights flickered overhead, humming softly, the only other sound besides her boots clunking against the metal grating below her. She frowned at the open space. Before it had been filled with a line of punishers, fully fitted with tech two modules, all ready for battle. Now she had two punishers left, along with a small shuttle and a scattering of cargo containers filled with crystals and few other pieces of modules for ships she did not have.

She sighed to herself as she propped up on one of the containers, looking at the empty space. Granted she had a retribution and malediction stored away in a different hangar, but she was reluctant to fly them just yet. She'd barely mastered flying the punisher and wasn't about to try her hand at something different and more expensive. Not yet, not til she was comfortable and had honed the instincts as some of the other, better pilots.

Looking around, she realized it wouldn't take much to move her stuff to Myyhera. A couple of flights and she'd be all set. Then all she'd have to do was make a trip up to Amarr to buy in bulk and have it contracted out to Vlad Konstantinov to be taken down to the warfront at once. That'd be a big help, at least.

She propped a boot up onto the opposite cargo container and sighed wearily. A thousand things were running through her mind at once. Getting her stuff moved. Worry over Zenton and his sec status. Worry over all of the people she hadn't seen in weeks now, Michael, Jhaelee, and Darius specifically. Losing Halmah. Patrols. What had happened the previous night after patrols with Mitara at the My Blue Heaven.

Without even realizing it, she started to rant outloud, needing to vent.

"That son-of-a-bitch Raephael can rot. Last night I stopped by My Blue Heaven for a nightcap. The place was pretty quiet, just Garst and Saint was there. We all ended up in a booth together, talking and drinking. He was fine at first. After a while he went off to talk to some slutty waitress, she must have shot him down because when he came back to the table he was sour and started taking his piss poor attitude out on me. I let one smartassed comment slide but then he went off. I've never been talked to like that in my life, how dare he, an ensign, verbally attack me, his superior."

"I threw my drink in his face and promptly left the bar."

"I don't know who I'm more angry with at the moment. Garst really didn't say anything to him. I expected him to punch him or something but no. Clearly, when push comes to shove he is going to side with Raephael over me. That was obvious. I just don't understand how Garst can claim to love me and yet he will sit there and let his best friend insult me like that."

"They can both go to hell."

"I'm not going back there either. I just don't see the point. So that makes two places I refuse to go now. I'm boycotting the Paradise Found since Captain Laerise made it so that Zenton was barred. But no worries, it's a big galaxy, theres tons more places to piss away my money at."

"Right now I'm just really exhausted and stressed and I don't need this. It makes me not want to be around them, off duty and on. I mean. What the fuck." She kicked at the container for emphasis. "I have went out of my way to be nice to Saint. One night he came into Saint Alms when I was there and we ended up talking, he confessed to me how he almost killed himself just because he had a bad day out on the warfront. I told him to shake it off, that everyone loses ships and everyone gets podded from time to time. Shit happens. It's how you deal with it that matters. You can sit there and whine about it and drink yourself into oblivion or you can learn from your mistakes and get back out there."

"Now I wish I would have told him to grow a new pair and stop snivelling like a two day recruit who just wet his pants."

"Mamas boy.""Really just who does he think he is! I can't let it go, not anytime soon. And I dare him or Garst to say one word to me, I'll tell them both to fuck off."

Shalee slid off of the container and started to pace the length of the hangar. "Just not in public. I refuse to let either of them put one more thing on my Praetorian record."

She could only imagine the file the directorates had on her, it probably took up half of Gaven's office.

Realizing that her ranting was only making her more annoyed, she ended the connection and forced herself to start moving her stuff out to Myyhera.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Entry Twenty Six: Reverie

"Brothers and sisters in this time of war, with the heathen hounds of the Minmatar and the corrupt deviants of the Gallente Federation knocking at the door this is the time...dedicate yourself."- The virtue of sacrifice sermon, Archbishop

Sitting in a back booth at My Blue Heaven, she activated the recording device, deciding to take advantage of the empty bar.

"A week or two ago I met Saint here by chance and as respectfully as he could, he told me to stay away from Garst. I asked him why out of curosity and he told me I was bad luck, that any man I get close to I end up hurting, or something bad happens in general. At first I was angry with him, I mean what right does he have to tell me what to do? I understand he and Garst go way back, but still. He had no right. He apologized a few days later and I let it go. I don't want any bad blood between myself and other Praetorians, especially when it is over something that was meant out of good intentions."

"Thinking about it today, maybe he is right. Maybe I do bring some kind of bad luck. My first days in PIE I befriended Koronakesh and he ended up leaving to become a pirate. Granted, I wasn't involved with him romantically but we were good friends, we trusted each other, however briefly. I still wonder if he would have stayed had I not ratted him out. Maybe he would have realized his mistakes before anyone found out. I don't know, but regardless, I'm sure some among the brass still associate the two of us together. And then Zenton, he left because of piracy. I don't feel I had anything to do with that either but again, it doesn't matter what happens usually, only the outward appearances. Before the two of them, I was growing really close to Dante Chance. Things were said and promises were made and well, it was a long time ago but the fact remains that he is gone. He is still a member of PIE but hasn't been around in so long he may as well not be."

She sighed, blowing a silky strand of red hair from her face. "And now I've heard rumors that Garst is leaving. I don't know if it is true or not, I've not spoken to him about it so I don't know. But if it is, I just wonder if it has anything to do with me? I hope not but now that the brass has linked the two of us together, no doubt they will be ready to pin his departure on me somehow. Maybe not all of them, surely by now I've proven my loyalty to PIE but then again, I don't really know."

"I just hope he doesn't leave and if he does, I hope it is on good terms."

"I'm a little worried what will happen if he does leave and then runs across Zenton in space."

The words he shouted at her one night during a drunken shouting match played through her mind.
"Fine. Go back to your pirate. Next time he threatens me? Im going to stuff him out a god damn airlock, and then have CONCORD cancel his clone contracts. His pirating ass can rot, he wants it both ways? Life aint that easy."

"I know Garst wont do anything foolish as a Praetorian, theres too much on the line, too much to lose and I know he wouldn't risk it. But if he leaves, whats to stop him?"

She threaded her fingers through her hair, feeling frustrated. "I wish the two of them could just get along like before. I never meant to complicate things like this. And to make matters worse, Zenton's security status dropped this morning. I don't know whats happened, of course I want to jump to the obvious conclusion and say he is pirating again but I wont. I'll give him a chance to explain, maybe I can catch him off duty tonight."

"And maybe I can catch up with Garst too, find out whats going on with him, if it is true or not."

The recording was silent for a few moments as she took a long drink. The sound of the bottle clinking against the table could be heard before she started talking again "So I had a dream...twice now. I'm at my apartment and Zenton is there...and Garst is there...and we are all...together." She blushed as she took another drink. "No doubt the idea got stuck in my head because of Mitara and her polygamy comments. Anyhow. Not like that could be a solution to everything. As Garst would say 'life ain't that easy'."

Monday, July 27, 2009

Entry Twenty Five: Losing Halmah

Occupancy: Amarr Empire
Sovereignty: Amarr Empire
Constellation: Vaarma
Region: The BleakLands
Security Level: 0.4

The punisher broke through the atmosphere of Sosala and made an emergency landing a few moments later.

Flames licked along the hull, sending plumes of dark grey smoke curling up into the stormy sky.

She exited the ship and started walking, leaving the small crew behind to deal with the situation, knowing that a few cycles of the armor rep would repair what had been damaged after they got the fire under control.

It wasn't that she really had to land, they would have been alright in space, she could have jumped between a few safe spots and gotten everything under control well enough to get back into the fight.

The war was the problem. She needed a break from it.

Since the state of emergency had been issued, she'd been in the pod more often than not, using mild stims to keep her going.

And now she was on the brink of exhaustion and burn out. She needed a moment away from it all, a few minutes to herself to simply walk and breath air that wasn't processed through a filter, to listen to the sounds of nature and not have the constant chattering of the militia and corporation comm-channels buzzing against her ear.

She inhaled slowly, savoring the heady scent of the field around her, thigh high grass, a scattering of trees, a pond nearby.It almost reminded her of Inis, and that made her think of Zenton. She'd barely had any time with him lately. Granted she seen him in the fight but no more than a few words had been exchanged over the comms.

But that was the way of war. Everything else simply had to take a backburner to the fight, it was part of being a militia capsuleer.

Of course she missed him, was almost tempted to message him and see if he were anywhere near the Sosala but she wouldn't distract him. He could be in combat, probably was. Everyone was.

Even her CEO, someone she had barely seen the first few months of joining the Praetoria, had done extensive patrols with her over the last few days. Every man counted, every pilot that could fly, was flying, no questions asked.

As sunlight faded beyond the horizon, she could make out a pathway that lead into the small village, lined with flame lit torches and small oil filled braziers.She followed it until she was on a cobblestoned street. A scattering of buildings lined each side and at the end, an old chapel made of rock. She made her way to it and stepped inside.

Sitting down on a pew in the back, she activated her handheld comm unit to record."I'm on Sosala, some random backwater planet in the Bleaklands. This place has never mattered to me before, never given it much thought but all of a sudden everything changes. Halmah falls to the Mimnmatars and suddenly every god damned planet and system in this Empire means everything."

"Halmah. They stole it right out from beneath our noses. We didn't even know it was about to fall until the last half hour of it's sovereignty. Veshta Yoshida reported it vunerable and then bam, desperate calls were made over the comm channels in a last ditch effort to save it. Our militia did it's best. Every pilot from all over poured into Halmah but it was an impossible effort, the odds were stacked against us."

"Those of us with scanners equipped were sent into nearby systems, hoping we could force some plexes to open in Halmah. As we were counting down the clocks elsewhere, Halmah fell. Just like that, it fell and our militia fleet couldn't even put up a fight in response. The enemy had three times our numbers in bigger ships. Over the comms, orders were to retreat."

"As everyone was pulling out, the militia did manage to get a few enemy stragglers but that did little to booster morale. We lost a system and the collective opinion was that Halmah would just be the first of many."

"Since then we've stepped up patrols trying to secure our systems but we are met with opposition on every front. Not only are we fighting against the Minmatars, but the Praetorians have been declared war on by another corporation, Star Faction. They are everywhere, taking advantage of our war efforts, attacking us when were are vunerable."

"And if that isn't enough to worry about, we have pirates coming out of the woodwork to get in on the fight. The sons-of-bitches are everywhere."

"No place is safe."

"I wish I had more experience, I wish I could make more of a difference. I've lost more ships over the last three days than I have in the last three months. Despite this, my CEO has been very encouraging. I am glad for these opportunities to fly with him, though at the same time I'm often quite embarassed by my lack of skill. I've watched him take down several enemies at once while I often falter and lose a punisher because of it."

She fell silent for a long while, letting her thoughts drift over the many battles she'd seen over the last week or so. "They say Kurnianen is vunerable."

She shook her head "We are determined to keep it, despite their superior numbers, despite everything, we are determined to hold them back. We are determined to prevail no matter what it takes."

Rubbing her hands across her face, her lashes fluttered several times as she fought off sleep. Stretching out across the pew, she clicked the recording off then propped her head up on her arm, using it as a pillow. A few stolen moments of sleep while her ship was being repaired then she'd get back out there to fight a war that she once didn't believe in, a war that now meant everything to her.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Entry Twenty Four: Love & War

'I will not hesitate when the test of Faith finds me, for only the strongest conviction will open the gates of paradise. My Faith in you is absolute; my sword is Yours, My God, and Your will guides me now and for all eternity.' -The Prophet Kuria, 'Paladins Creed'

The camera drone followed Shalee as she turned a corner, stopping to catch her breath. Dropping her hands to her thighs, she inhaled a long breath then slowly exhaled, trying to bring her pulse down. Straighting up, she started to walk the corridor, trailing her hand across her sweaty forehead.She had run the corridors of her malediction for the last hour, making one long continous loop through the empty halls.

The ship was a gift, one she couldn't fly yet but like her retribution, she had already started to spend her off duty time aboard, getting a feel for her.Making the long walk back to her cabin, she decided to take advantage of the time by recording a journal entry.

"As always, so much to catch up with. I swear I can't find a free moment these days."

"Captain Vaarun has declared a state of emergency for the defense of the Amarr Empire. All pilots have been working overtime, trying to push back the Minmatar. Our orders prior were to concentrate on Vard but now we are pulling out and focusing our efforts on maintaining what we do have. It has been an enormous effort not only on the part of the Praetoria but the whole of the Amarrian Militia."

"We have taken a hit lately with the boys from Helljumpers pulling out. Honestly most are happy to see them go. They are good, granted, experienced and very efficient at what they do, but on the flipside they are irresponsible and take needless risk that endanger too many lives. Theres a fine line between being a ballsy good pilot and just plain out foolish."

"It's really bad timing though. As we lost them, the Minmatars gained the RKK and they have been at it hardcore. I am told the battlefield now resembles the days following the start of the war. No where is safe. Even the backwater systems are seeing an unusual amount of action."

"I've been on patrols with so many new pilots lately, both in and outside of PIE. Flying with the Praetorian recruits, it has been daunting to be a 'Lieutenant'. I still feel like an ensign most of the time though honestly I do believe I am gaining more confidence. Surely more so than when I first joined the corporation. It takes time and experience to have the knowledge and skills of the brass. But I'll get there, one way or another."

"PIE has recruited some really good, loyal pilots lately. Among them, Nusak, Ignatius, Markanus, and Rain. Ignatius and I have done quite a few patrols together, we have a good rapport and I really enjoy being his wingman. Markanus is a good one to have along for a fleet as well, he is a master scanner, so much so we've unofficially dubbed him 'mad eyes'."

Her boots clinked against the metallic grated floor as she passed by an empty crew station."I've not had a lot of time to think about all the things that have been going on personally lately. I've purposely avoided it in fact, I just don't need the distraction from the war right now. Thats the last thing a pilot needs in combat, to be distracted by thoughts of relationships. I can almost understand why Raephael refuses to love."

The conversation she had with Garst the following week played through her mind like a scene from a dramatic black and white holo-reel.

"Yes Garst?"
"You've been on my mind a lot lately."
"A lot. And all that business in P.F... Well it just means I've been thinking more."
"All what business exactly. We were just having fun. Thinking more about what?""About you..and us."
"Whatever you're going to say....I don't think you should. I love Zenton, you must know that."
"Then you already know what im going to say."
"I don't know....maybe."
"Why not?"
"Im not following."
"Why Zenton? Why not me? My whole life I've been shoveling shit, then suddenly you walk into it. And everything changes."
"Because he pursued me first, you did not. He made me fall in love with him."
"Made you love him. I'm not even sure what means."
"Why are you telling me this now? Why now?"
"I wanted to be sure. Maybe I didnt know it was a race. Maybe I've never felt this way before..."
"So... You know me Shalee... things like this don't come out easy for me to say. I'll talk ships or the scriptures all day, but...feelings..well..."
"I know, and Garst know that I have feelings for you too. But I love Zenton."
"I just dont understand why! He betrays you! He forsakes all our ideals, spurns you and runs off to "pirate", but in the end just leaves PIE. Leaves us. Leaves you. What is he, too good for us now?! I help you find your purpose again. You come to me in your time of need and I try to help you find again your love of God...but I'm still a second class citizen to your heart."
"Can you explain love? I dont know why. I just do. No Garst it's not like that. I do love you, I do. You're a dear friend to me, I could ask for no better."
"You just dont get it do you? I don't think its any secret I feel that you're more than a friend to me... you've made me feel like no one else before and I've been trying to fight it but I just can't any longer. That night in the bar? That was driving me crazy, I could barely control myself. I had to leave before I did anything really inappropriate.."
"Lust isn't love."
"Can't it be a part?"
"A part. Yes."
"I see. So you lust for Zenton?"
"I really shouldn't talk about that sort of thing with you...I just don't know what to say."
"...That makes two of us. Ive said how I truly feel... for you.""Not really, you haven't. But, I don't think you should."
"Why, you need a good laugh?"
"You really can't guess? You know how awkward this is for me and you want me to say it anyway?"
"No. No I don't want you to say it."
"Shalee please dont mock me, this is hard enough as is"
"I am not mocking you!"
"You think I can't tell the difference between genuine feelings and mere lust?!"
"I'm not saying that at all, Garst. It would be disloyal for me to hear it, okay? I wont betray him, I wont speak of feelings, of lust, of anything. We are friends. We have to be just friends."
"Disloyal to someone who "makes" you love him."
"It's not like that. I didn't mean it that way."
"Im lonely. I don't even know why im telling you this, I guess I just needed to finally admit it to someone." "Of course. You're just lonely. It has nothing to do specifically with me."
"Sure it does. Anytime I'm around you I feel so much better. You brighten my day... I cant wait to see you. But I'm not going to beg. You know how I feel. You must know how embarassed I feel now."
"Please don't be embarassed. Know that I love you dearly as a friend. If it weren't for Zenton, I probably would be with you. I know I would be with you."
"I'm sorry...I had no right to try and steal you..or something. I'm so weak. I despise weakness. I guess I should just look in the mirror next time."
"You should probably lighten up on the alcohol."
"And you shouldn't be telling me these things."
"I just thought... was, well hoping.."
"No. I'ts easier not to know, it's easier to pretend like nothing has been said, that none of it is true."
"You would want to live a lie?"
"We fight to bring God's truth to the galaxy, how can lies be better?"
"My whole life is a lie. It's easy to pretend, Garst."
"For you...maybe. My life has always been black and white, bad guys and good guys."
"I'm not hearing this."
"Why? You're acting like you don't even know who I am."
"Because it is disloyal. Because I'm not that kind of person. I am not a cheater. I'm not."
"Ch-Cheat? No...I didn't want to...steal you away...I dunno."
"So then we....just be like we always have."
" always."

"Since I talked with Garst at the bar, we've come to an easy truce of sorts. We fly together but we haven't really spent anytime off of the battlefield alone. Though come to think of it I've not really done anything but patrols, I've not seen anyone lately except Zenton for a few moments here and there."

"I think I've come to realize why we younger Praetorians rarely see any of the brass off duty. It must come from years on the job. Just in the few short months I've been with PIE I've been learning how to shut off all emotions when flying. A pilot's whole instinct is focused on the objective and survival, everything else is tuned out and turned off. No thoughts of love or people or anything can surface, you can only concentrate on the objective. Everything else must be smothered out else reflexes will suffer and death will occur. I think maybe that somewhere along the way the longer we are in a pod, the more of our real selves we lose. It's just can't turn it back it on, can't reconnect with those very human parts of ourselves coming out of the pod. I think maybe somewhere along the way people just give up, stop trying. It's easier for them. I just hope I never become like that, I hope that I can always maintain a balance."

"The point of that whole tangent was to mention Mitara. Since that night in the Basilica I've flown with her several times. It's a bit strange how out of the pod I still hate her, but while suited up I trust her with my life. I respect her as a commander. Personally I still think shes a bitch, but I'm glad that we can work together. Maybe thats a part of the problem, come to think of it. Maybe she sees something in me that she has lost somewhere along the way. Love, compassion, friendship. All of those things seem lost to her now."

"But I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."

As she neared the door of the captain's cabin, she paused to stretch "I heard a rumor the other day about Dame Death, apparently she has left CVA and is back to her old pirating ways. I really hate that for her...but I've been thinking about it all and I think understand why. It's just her nature and she fought against it to be in CVA, but it wasn't really where she belonged, it wasn't who she is at the core. Likewise with Zenton. It is his nature to be good and honest and Amarrian. He went against his nature for piracy but now he is back where he belongs, back in the Amarrian militia fighting the war."

"And back with me."

"Terminate Log."

Friday, July 10, 2009

Entry Twenty Three: Animosity

"Do not let the liars and decievers of inflated Ego make you feel otherwise lest you fall into the same pit of trash they are already wallowing in." Sin of Ego, ArchBishop

Active Log.

"People are seldom who we think they are. If I have learned nothing else in my short time in the Praetoria, that is one thing I am certain of."

"Last night I met up with Zenton at the Basilica. I just...I just wanted to be with him. After those horrible nightmares I needed to spend time with him. I needed to just sit and talk with him, to have his arms around me and have him tell me everything was going to be okay."

"It was a quiet night, there weren't many people around and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We took a walk through the gardens and ended up in a private little alcove. He kissed me...and then we heard footsteps. Captain Newelle had spotted us. I stepped out to greet her when she looked at me maliciously, saying she expected to see Lieutenant Tyrell behind me instead of Zenton."

"She then went on to say that polygamy was an outdated practice and that I should show more discretion with my lovers, that if I was going to be with two men I should have the decency not to flaunt it in public."

"I know she is my superior but in the heat of the moment I lost it. How dare she insinuate something so torrid between Garst and I? And in front of Zenton! She was trying to cause problems for me, there is simply no other explination for it. But to what avail? I don't understand why she would be so hateful, she has always been kind to me for the most part. Even if we've disagreed over something she has never stooped as low as she did last night."

"She made sure to tell Zenton that I was at Paradise with Garst though she managed to twist it into something lascivious. She kept going on and on about me sitting in another man's lap with my mouth on his, and it did not happen like that. Granted, I did sit in his lap, but it was not in a sexual way. And we never kissed. My mouth was never on any part of him. But the way she was going on, she made it sound as if Garst and I went at it right there in front of the whole god damned bar."

"I hate her. Any warm feelings I ever had for her were destroyed last night. Any chance of forgiveness I might have given her was lost when she mockingly apologized after Zenton demanded that she do so."

"She wouldn't even believe me when I tried to explain. I had to call Garst there to verify what had happened. It was so humiliating the way she questioned him in front of Zenton, asking those stupid questions like 'was Lieutenant Lianne's mouth touching any part of your body?'"

"She had no right, none what so ever, to bring that up there. If she was so worried she should have brought Garst and I into her office. There are certain protocols she should have followed. There was no reason to humiliate me like that. I think she is goading me into quitting PIE. If she pushes me enough, she knows I'll leave, and I think thats what certain members of the brass want. It makes sense, they don't want me influencing their golden boy Garst. He just got a promotion and has an impeccable record, no doubt they don't want me anywhere near him."

"I wonder if they blame me for Zenton leaving? Perhaps they think I somehow caused it and they don't want to see the same thing happen with Garst. Who knows."

"What I do know is that Mitara can go to hell. I am done with her, I will never speak to her again unless forced to do so on the job. She is a miserable soul and want nothing else to do with her."

"I am fortunate to have Zenton. He believed me. He even stood up for me. After everyone left I just broke down and told him everything, told him about Garst. And he wasn't even angry. I expected him to be, I thought he'd be ready to kill Garst but he was so very calm and understanding. I love him so very much and I refuse to let anything else come in between what we have. Not Mitara, not Laerise, nor any other god damned member of the Praetoria."

Terminate Log.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Entry Twenty Two: Dreams & Nightmares

A cacophony of sound assaulted her as she stepped into the club; the low murmur of Amarrians scattered about the tables and booths, the soft ambient cathedral music playing in the background, the occasional clinking of glass against the bar.

She darted her gaze back and forth as if searching for someone, looking through the fog of smoke that hung just above the tables.

The silhouette of a lone figure sitting near the back caught her attention. She watched him for a moment as he lowered a cigarette and flicked the ashes into an ashtray.

Before she could move towards him, hands slid around her waist from behind. She felt someones mouth against her neck, tongue trailing a wet path to her ear. He whispered, "Don't turn around."

He pulled her into a dark alcove, staying behind her. His fingers slid through her amber hair, curling in the silky strands and tugging slightly to bare her neck again. His lips grazed across warm skin. His other hand defly unclasped her cloak, pulling away the heavy fabric, leaving her in a thin white dress.

Some part of her wanted to pull away. She whispered, "Let me go."

Her protests were answered with his hand against her thigh, pulling the silky fabric of her dress up against her hip.


In a fluid movement, his fingers slid beneath the band of her delicate undergarment and yanked, ripping it as he spun her around, pulling her down into his lap.

Facing him, she opened her mouth to protest, knowing she shouldn't be there with him. He didn't give her a chance.

His tongue was in her mouth as his hands grabbed her by the hips.

A whimper caught in the back of her throat as she felt him pressed intimately between her thighs. Vaguely she was aware that others in the bar could see them if they happened to look in their direction but she didn't care.

Drowning in anticipation, every nerve tingling with desire, she closed her eyes. His hands were everywhere, tugging at her hair, grasping at her dress tugging it down her shoulder, skimming across her back. His mouth covered hers, moved to her chin and kissed along her jawline.

She sucked in her breath sharply as he thrust into her. A myriad of emotions fought for dominance; lust, desire, shame, and guilt. But there was no turning back. She gave into the moment, desire winning out. She held onto his shoulders, her fingers curling into the fabric of his cloak as her knees dug into the bench on either side of him. She whispered his name against his lips before sliding her tongue into his mouth, kissing him urgently.

He yanked her hair back and bared her throat, licking his way down from her chin to her collarbone. She moaned softly, forgetting where they were. He covered her mouth with his hand, her tongue licked against his fingers.

The pace quickened, fast and furiously, until that moment where both had lost themselves...

And the dream shifted suddenly.

Moonlight lit the Basilica where Shalee was kneeling in front of the statue of Jamyl. The empty corridors echoed with the heavy footsteps of Zenton. She turned and looked over her shoulder, her smile fading at the dire expression he wore.

"Have you said your prayers tonight, Shalee?"


"If you can think of any sin you haven't confessed..then pray for forgiveness right away." He stepped behind her and hesitated, his fingers gently stroked through her hair.

"Zenton? What do you mean by that?"

"Hurry up and confess." He pulled away from her suddenly and stalked over to the waterfountain. "Be quick about it, I'll wait over here. I don't want to kill you before you you've readied your soul." He shook his head "No, I wont send your soul to hell when I kill you."

"Killing...?" Her breath caught as she looked at him with a mixture of confusion and fear "You're going to kill me?"

"Yes, I am."

"Then heaven have mercy on me...." Standing, she turned to face him. "You're scaring me with that look in your eyes. I don't know why I should be afraid since I haven't done anything wrong....but you're frightning me."

"Think of your sins."

"My only sin was loving you too much." She moved towards him, reaching for his hands, trying to make sense of what he was saying. Desperately she curled her fingers around his, her chin tilted up, staring in his eyes, silently pleading with him to explain.

"And that is why you have to die." He jerked his hand from hers and wrapped his fingers around her throat.

Panic flashed in her eyes. "You're wrong to kill me for loving you! Why? You're trembling with emotion...Zenton? Don't do this." She struggled, reaching up to pull at his wrists.

"Hush...stay still," he whispered, his gaze betraying his madness. He loosened his hold as he stared at her.

She went still. "Alright...but what's this all about? I don't understand..."

"You slept with Garst."

"No! I swear by my life and soul! Bring him here and ask him!"

"My sweet darling, don't lie. You're on your deathbed."

"Am I? But I'm not dead yet." She dug her fingernails into his wrist as she tried to fight him off, realizing that this wasn't a joke, that he truely believed she'd betrayed him and was going to murder her for it.

"Yes, you are. Confess your sins Shalee, tell me the truth. But even if you swear you're innocent, you wont change my mind, you wont remove these thoughts that are tormenting me. You're going to die." He pulled them down to the low wall that wrapped around the fountain, tightening his grasp.

"I've never done anything wrong to you in all my life. I've never been with Garst, I love him as a friend, as I do any other Praetorian...but not the way I love you."

He jerked her closer to him. "You're a liar." He whispered against her ear "You're turning my heart to stone, and calling what I'll do murder, when I am sacrificing you."

She could see the conflict flash across his face as he loosened his grasp ever so slightly. "It never happened! Tell him to come here, he'll tell you the truth!"

"He's already done so,' he said mockingly.

"What?" She shook her head with disbelief, knowing that Garst would not lie about such a thing.

"He said that he had sex with you."

"What? He said he had sex with me? No."


"No! He wouldn't say that."

"Mmm, no. He wont say anything anymore." He laughed a low, menancing sound. "Koronakesh has arranged that."

"What? He is dead?" Koronakesh? Oh Gods, no. Why would he lie? To what avail? Tears dripped down her cheeks. Garst, murdered. It made no sense. Why? Why would Kor manipulate Zenton? What had Garst ever done to deserve such a fate? What had she done?

"And every clone in every station, I will kill them all in revenge."

"Oh gods, he's been betrayed and I am ruined," she sobbed, her face streaked with tears.

"What, you whore! Are you crying for him right in front of me?" Zenton's face flushed with rage. He dug his fingers into the hollow of her throat.

"Let me go!"

"Down, whore." He shoved her into the fountain, holding her head beneath the water. Frantically she fought, her hands struggling to push him away.

She gasped for breath as he pulled her up. Water streaked down her face. "Stop! Please oh god stop, Zenton," she cried desperately, pleading with him.

"No, if you struggle with me.."


"It's too late." He pushed her beneath the water again and held her down, long after she had stopped struggling. Calmly he stood and straightened his robe as he looked down at her lithe form, hanging limply over the side of the fountain, her red hair floating atop the water, fanning about her pale face, blank eyes staring at nothing.

Shalee jolted up in bed, flailing her hands at her throat as if to push away her attacker. Gasping for breath, she realized that she'd been dreaming.

Oh gods. It was a nightmare, nothing more than her overactive imagination. It hadn't happened, it wasn't real. She was safe and alive. Garst was alive. Nothing had happened. Oh gods.

She cringed at the memory of Zenton's murderous gaze. "It wasn't real," she whispered to herself.

She looked around the captain's cabin of her retribution where she had fallen asleep during down time, thankful that she was alone.

She slid out of the bed and moved over to her desk, turning on a fan, feeling clammy and drenched in sweat. She pulled her hair above her head and let the breeze blow against the back of her neck.

"Activate Log." She could still feel her heart racing as the nightmare lingered in the back of her mind.

"I can't keep pretending like nothing is wrong. I can't ignore the fact that Garst told me he loved me and I can't keep pretending that there isn't an attachment growing between the two of us. At what point does it cross the line? At what point does it go beyond simple friendship on my part. Am I encouraging him?"

She shook her head "No. I don't think I am...I hope I am not. I love Zenton. I love him. And yet, for the last two weeks he has put me through so much hell. I just...," she sighed heavily. "Maybe I have turned to Garst. Maybe I have sought comfort from him because I knew he'd give it."

Because he loves me.

"Zenton can't even begin to understand what he has done. He thinks it's so simple, so explainable. He thinks his actions have had no consequences in regards to us. He thinks he can leave the Praetoria and do the things he has done and not suffer for it? Murder is murder, it's wrong, and I don't know if he has even asked for forgiveness for it."

She laughed with disbelief. "I can't even believe I am saying this. Who am I to preach to anyone."

"He left me in the Basilica that day. He ripped my heart out and theres some small part of me that can't just let that go. He hurt me and I wanted to hurt him back."

So there it was. The horrible, vile truth. She knew that it would hurt Zenton to know that Garst had feelings for her.

Her dark brows drew together as she sighed, wondering what she should do next. Talk to Garst? Explain to him that she couldn't be around him anymore off duty, that it wasn't fair to Zenton? Or maybe she should talk to Michael about it. She nodded to herself. Michael would know what to do.

The one thing she did know was that she couldn't tell Zenton about it. The nightmare flashed through her mind. Zenton would kill them both, no questions asked.

Could he really kill her? No. No Zenton couldn't do such a thing...could he?

She thought of her Father, a man who had loved her too. Love could be expressed in so many ways. Sick, vile, twisted ways. And Zenton was not the man she thought him to be. He had a darker side to him, one that could kill in cold blood. He could turn off his emotions, his reasonings, and kill without remorse, even take pleasure in it.

Fear trickled down her spine.

Was she afraid of him? No..not now. But if he should find out about Garst, then she had no doubts that he'd sooner kill the man and fall into darkness, piracy, and murder with no hope of redemption.

And it'd be all her fault...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Entry Twenty One: Discipline

"I see the chance for an average man to stand forth and bring hope to the hopeless and a life of propserity and God to those without either." The Forgotten, Archbishop

Buttery warm sunlight bled into the room and cast a soft glow about the kneeling ensign. She'd been sitting in the center of the floor since the night before, absorbed in prayer and fasting. Despite her aching muscles, she'd barely moved. By sheer will alone had she remained, exhausted and euphoric at the same time.

"Only through many hardships is a man stripped to his very foundations, and in such a state devoid of distractions, is his soul free to soar, and in this, he is closest to God."

As the morning filled the small chapel, Shalee finally gave herself permission to move. Her night of fasting and prayer completed, she stretched languidly, snaking pale white arms above her head while moving from side to side, whimpering at how stiff she had become. Dropping her hands to her thighs, she started to massage the tense musles.

Her sleepy, half-lidded gaze fell upon the 'discipline', a small whip of knotted cords voluntarily used by some priests and monks to punish their bodies as a spiritual practice.

Warily she slipped the white cloak off her shoulders and let it fall behind her. She shivered as the balmy breeze flushed against her exposed skin.

Her euphoria started to diminish as she picked up the discipline, gingerly trailing her fingertips across it's length.

Michael had counselled her, advising prayer and fasting if she wanted clarity and answers from God. In the same conversation he had mentioned his own practices though never specifically said she should try them.

Of course he never said she shouldn't either...

Her curosity had been piqued. In her past, she had been forced to administer punishment to others under her Father's orders but never to her own flesh. Those who were at the end of the whip never wanted to it seemed strange to her that Michael had willingly did so to himself.

She glanced to the marbled sefrim who towered around the room, half-wondering if such a practice could really please God, if it could really bring about a spirtual closeness to the creator.

Tilting her head to the side, she pulled her long auburn hair across one shoulder, exposing her nude back to the sunlight. She tensed her stomach as she lifted the whip and threw it across her shoulder. Gasping, she winced as she felt the sting simmer along her naked flesh.

She bit into her lip as she did it again, this time harder, trying to focus on a particular scripture. Again she threw the whip across her shoulder, even harder, feeling it rip into her skin.

Gritting her teeth, she did it once more, trying not to scream as the knotted cord slamed against the raw wounds.

Blood trickled between her shoulder blades and snaked a trail down her spine.

She threw the discipline to the marbled floor in front of her, glaring at it, hating it.

Panicked and panting for breath, she tried not to think of the pain radiating through her body, instead she let her thoughts wander over the events of the last week or so.

Speaking aloud, she decided to distract herself with a journal entry. She could always upload the security feed from the chapel to her own collection of recordings later.

"Trying to remember where I left off.....right. Zenton. We had a bad go of things for a while there. I couldn't find him for days, he wasn't answering his comms and wasn't responding to my messages. He had left the Praetoria, his security status dropped extraordinarly low and it just broke my heart to know that I was losing him."

"I probably shouldn't have left to look for him but I couldn't help myself from doing so. When you really love somebody you'll stop at nothing to save them, even if it means losing yourself in the process. I went to every scum bar I knew of knew of just hoping to get word of him."

"Somewhere along the way I got really sick, at first I thought it was the flu until I went to check myself in at the medbay. Apparently I had been drugged."

Her tawny brows drew together at the memory.

"Wherever I was, someone had seen me fucked out of my mind like that and decided to tell my CEO. Gaven called me into his office and questioned me about it. I told him what I had done and he had let me off with a warning, told me to check myself in with a doctor. I feel bad, but it's not like I want to go back now and clarify that it was drugs and not the flu. It's not like I took them knowingly."

"Anyhow, I eventually found Zen, or rather he had found me, at the Basilica. He told me he joined up with an Amarrian Loyalist corp and is working on his sec status. I can live with that, though it's not like I have much choice really. Better he be with Invelious's boys than flying solo, resorting to piracy and murder."

"I spoke at length about the whole situation with Aldrith the other day. He thinks Zenton has a long way to go before earning my trust again, but he says it is not impossible. He used Eliza as a reference, at how she had turned her life around."

"It's kind of ironic now, considering what almost happened last night. We were at the Bas when she came charging in with her weapons, being chased by the security. She was livid and in that moment I was really afraid for what she might do. Aldrith and I eventually got her calmed down, though I feel that this is only the begining of a downward spiral. However, I pray for the opposite. I pray that she finds the strength not to give into temptation."

Shalee paused in her narration as she stretched a hand around her, gently wiping away a streak of blood from her lower back, smearing it across her pale skin.

"I can't help but relate to Eliza on so many levels. She is at war with herself, wanting desperately to be one way when another, more familiar way is constantly there whispering against your ear, tempting and taunting until you give in."

"It's hard to walk the righteous path. Sometimes the allure of the familiar is too hard to resist."

She lifted her hand to her mouth and suckled the blood from her middle finger.

"I want to be a Praetorian more than anything...but sometimes I get so tired of trying to live up to such impossible standards. I don't understand how some pilots ease their way through the ranks while I am getting called into the office every other day."

"I mean, literally, every other day here lately, though this time it wasn't really my fault. Zenton had threatened Garst somewhere over a local comm the other day and Captain Newelle just happened to be there to overhear it. She had sent me a message about it and I tried to ignore it, so she then called me into her office. I lied, of course. I told her I had no idea why Zenton was making stuff up, that Garst never laid a hand on me."

"So hopefully the whole ordeal will go away now. Zenton promised me he would let it go, though right now his promises don't hold much weight."

"I talked to Garst about it also, apparently he was questioned and had to lie as well. Good thing, I wouldn't want something like this to interfer with his career. He just got a promotion for Operation Northen Impact. It was a success, I even took part in the second wave under the support division. It was my maiden voyage with the Retribution and she handled herself well, managed to help take down a few enemy ships without getting blown up in the process."

"There was an informal celebration after the first wave at the Paradise. I showed up, hoping to find Jhaelee. I had gotten a disturbing message about how she was missing. Raphael said I shouldn't worry, that she was probably offline somewhere in her pod, keeping her sensors off the grid so she wouldn't be found by the enemies. He said if we hadn't heard from her in twenty four hours he'd take me out there to look for her."

"I ended up staying for a while, had a few drinks with some of the other pilots. Met a man named Rain Itsu, a possible recruit to the Praetoria. Garst and Raephael didn't seem to care for him all that much, said he was much too flirty with me. Garst almost seemed jealous of him, though I don't know why he would be."

She hesitated for a moment as she let the words he had spoken to her in the Basilica play through her mind "God loves you...hell even I love you."

"He is a good friend to me, very protective. That's all it is, nothing more. He feels responsible for me because he is my superior." But could she really keep telling herself that?

"I just really dont want to jeopardize his career in any way. No doubt I destroyed Zenton's, I will not allow Garst to suffer the same fate. He's already gotten into trouble twice over me, once for the Zenton comm issue and then with Laerise when she saw us at Paradise. We weren't doing anything wrong, just drinking and talking. I just happened to be sitting in his lap when she walked in, I'm sure it looked more scandalous than it actually was."

"It's not like I left with him or anything. Anyhow Condor can testify to that, he was still there when Garst left. We ended up chatting a bit, though I probably shouldn't have. I had entirely too much to drink and was just drunk talking. I can't help it, he reminds me of Dante. I'm pretty sure I told him more than I should have, things that were said so long ago between Dante and I. Not that it matters now."

She fell silent as she twisted around, grabbing her robe. She slid it on, wincing as the fabric brushed against her tender back. Grabbing the discipline, she sucked in her breath, aware of every aching muscle as she stood. She thought of Michael again and shook her head.

"Oh Michael, what am I going to do with you," she whispered as she left the cathedral, closing the door on the way out, leaving behind a few droplets of blood near the alter, the only sign she'd been there at all.