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, June 24, 2015

Through The Hourglass I Saw You - (rated adult!)

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
Constellation: N-APJ8
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?"

"Uh huh..."

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?"

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Accusations and Allies

Xavier slouched against the atrium wall with his arms folded loosely across his broad chest. He'd been up most of the night and he was beginning to feel it. Exhaustion settled in, making his eyes water. Yawning, he covered his mouth, then rubbed at his face. He'd been camped out in the corridor, waiting for Shalee Lianne. A call to arms had just pinged over their comms.

He checked the time, then looked to Shalee's door, anticipating it opening any second. With a weary sigh, he paced closer, moving out of the way as two Cybershield pilots made their way to the flight deck. Their voices faded as they stepped onto the lift. As the doors closed to the lift, Shalee's door opened. She stepped out wearing a loose fitting black jumper over her pod suite with the Tri logo in bright red across the chest.

'She looks as tired as tired as I feel', he thought as he approached her, swiftly cornering her before she had time to react. His hands slid on either side of her head and braced against the wall behind her. "Going somewhere?"

Shalee gasped, her lips parting slightly, eyes widening with a mixture of curiosity and alarm. "Yes..." She stared at him as she lifted her chin, her expression instantly changing into one of haughty imperialism. A Holder's daughter, and now a Holder herself. Yes, he knew who she was. He had researched her for hours after Alexi had left. "Move it. I don't want to be late for fleet," she said as she lifted her hands and shoved them against his chest.

"Not so fast." He studied her face, noting the dark shadows beneath her eyes. Obviously she hadn't had much sleep lately, and was probably surviving on stims and caffeine. The war with Nulli was taking it's toll. "You have some explaining to do."

Shalee looked at him oddly, as if she couldn't quite figure him out. "About?"

"Last night."

Her brow arched as her mouth slanted into a frown. "I'm afraid you'll have to be a little more specific."

"Stop playing coy." He leaned in and whispered against her ear, "I'm on to you."

She shoved at his chest again as her eyes lit with panic. "Get off of me."

He kept his arms rigid while leaning in closer, so close that their bodies were touching. "Not until you tell me how you did it."

Her stormy blue eyes flashed with anger. "Did what?" she asked through gritted teeth. "I don't know what you're talking about, but, this little fright game you're playing? It is tiresome. So I suggest you run back to Garst and tell him I'm not fucking afraid of him or his over sized goons. Now get the hell out of my way!"

Xavier cocked his head, surprised at her sudden rant, "What are you even talking about?"

"What are you talking about?" she countered hotly, her face flushing.

He puffed out his cheeks, annoyed with her. "Look. You've been spying on me, and I want to know why."

Her expression remained passive, though something in her eyes let him know she was lying even before she opened her mouth, "I'm not spying on you."

"Yes. You are. But why? Who am I to you?"

She shook her head slightly, "You're no one to me and I don't have time for this conversation. I do not want to be late for fleet! So get the hell out of my way before I...." her voice trailed off, as if she were uncertain to what she'd do.

He smirked, "You're not going anywhere until you answer my question. Why are you spying on me? And how did you get access to my personal captain's quarters?"

A look of confusion swept across her face, "I don't have access to your quarters."

"Then how the hell do you explain your daughter coming into my room last night while I had company..."


"Yes. Your daughter. She had to be yours. She looks just like you with those slanted, Ni Kunni eyes. I saw her, Shalee."

A trail of crimson dripped from her nose as her eyes rolled back in her head. She slumped down the wall as she lost consciousness. He stretched his hand down her back, grabbing a hold of her.

"Goddammit," he uttered beneath his breath as he hoisted her up and carried her into his quarters.


Consciousness came slowly, as if she were fighting her way through a dark tunnel. Her senses came into focus one by one. With her eyes still closed, she lay there for a long moment, listening to the sound of some years-old Gallente song playing over a holonet. Somewhere, further away, a male's deep voice sang along with the song. The cloying scent of booze, expensive perfume, and sex permeated the air.

Sex? Her stomach lurched. Did she just have sex? No. That wasn't right. Wetting her lips, she could still taste the metallic tang of blood. Rolling her hands along the silk sheets, she pushed against the mattress and sat up while blinking open her eyes.

Her blue gaze darted from side to side as she skimmed it across the unfamiliar captain's quarter. In the dim light, she could make out a well stocked mini bar across the room. The closet door was open, exposing a row of expensive suits. She slid to the edge of the bed and reached for one of the empty bottles nearby, reading the label. She whistled at the price, certainly more than she'd ever spend on a bottle of champagne. Hell, it almost cost as much as what she'd pay for a cruiser.

She rubbed her hands along her face, massaging her thumbs against her temples, trying to rub away the headache that pounded since she had awoken.

"Where the hell am I?" she whispered to herself.

The singing stopped.

"Hello?" she called out in a worried tone.

Steam wafted into the room as the bathroom door slid open. The hazy silhouette of a tall, well built man stepped through the mist. A towel hung loosely around his hips, the only thing he wore except for the dog-tags that dangled together against his perfectly defined chest. Rivulets of water cascaded down his neck as he raked a hand through his short, wet hair. "You're awake."

She quickly averted her gaze as her cheeks flushed. "And you're naked." She could feel heat creeping up her neck.

"Not completely, but I can be if you'd like." He smirked as he tugged at his towel.

"Are all Gallente men this obnoxious?" And hot? Not that she'd give him the satisfaction of saying that out loud.

Xavier chuckled. "Probably." He poured two drinks at the mini bar. "You like whiskey, yeah?" He brought the two glasses over to where she sat and handed her one.

She took the whiskey while trying not to look at him.

He chuckled, seemingly amused by her discomfort.

"So. Why am I here? Please don't say we hooked up...." A look of panic flashed across her embarrassed face.

He cocked a dark brow, "You don't remember?"

Shalee shook her head no. "I remember getting pinged for an op. I remember..." her brows scrunched together. "Was I podded? But that wouldn't explain why I'm in here."

He took a sip of his whiskey while never taking his eyes off of her. "You fell. In the corridor. I was headed for the op when I saw you go down. I picked you up and brought you in here. I called a medic to look you over. He said you should be okay, to let you rest. I didn't bother moving you because I didn't know how to get into your room. And. I figured you didn't want to end up in medbay- there's no telling how long they would want to keep you for observation." He smiled charmingly.

She nodded slowly, oblivious to his lies. "Then I should thank you for coming to my rescue? And I probably should let you get back to what you were doing..." She stood, wobbling a bit. Her face flushed with embarrassment as Xavier jumped up and reached for her hand to steady her.

"Sorry. Still a bit light headed," she apologized.

"You don't have to go yet. We could get something to eat? I would suggest the chow hall but that place is shit."

She nodded, realizing it was pointless to try and catch up with fleet at this point. "Yeah, okay. Where would we go?"

"Hmm. We could stay here. Sit down. I'll cook for you," he offered with a roguish smile. "Some say I'm pretty good."

"Sure...if you put some clothes on." She grinned.

He chuckled, "Surprising. You're the first woman to try to get me into my clothes. Usually it is the other way around."

As Xavier sauntered off to the small kitchenette, she settled onto his bed to check her messages. She slid her thumb across the access pad, and frowned at the pile of unanswered correspondence.

From: Kahar Dex
To: Shalee Lianne, 
Lady Lianne, Would it be interesting to you join the ranks of Faithful Amarr in Providence?
Cardinal Dex

Her brow quirked at the message. Cardinal Dex, from CVA, was asking for her help? Did he not realize she was kill-on-sight to CVA and had been for years? Curious, but the next one even more so.

From: Sahriah BloodStone
To: Shalee Lianne, 
Lady Lianne, At your pleasure, I would very much like to continue our conversation.
My deepest respect,
Sahriah Bloodstone

She sent a quick response to Sahriah, letting her know she'd be back in Huola over the weekend and that they should meet at the terrace. Exhaling, she raked her fingers through her hair as she played through several different outcomes in her mind. The last she'd seen the girl, she purposely lied, claiming to be both Sani Sabik and Garst's lover, hoping that it would send her running off to tell Tiger. She needed to know just how close Sahriah and Tiger were becoming. He claimed he hadn't seen her but she knew better. She knew they had met recently. She just didn't know what they were up to. An affair perhaps? Or maybe he was grooming her in the Sani Sabik religion once more? So many unanswered questions rolled through her mind, each leading her off on a different tangent.

From: Shalee Lianne
To: Shalee Lianne
Trust Xavier, but don't trust Vlad. He wants to kill Tiger and he is bribing Lord Reginald's district governor.

The next mail had shocked her more than the previous two. So Vlad Cetes was up to no good? That should hardly surprise her. The 'robot' had no emotion, and no loyalty to no one but his own self interests. But he'd never worked against her that she knew of. Why would he want to murder her husband? And what did controlling Reginald's affairs have to do with anything. The sickening feeling that Vlad could be manipulating her this whole time made her cringe. As greedy and impractical as he was, she couldn't imagine him murdering a five year old child...could he?

She quickly killed her the holofeed as Xavier returned with two plates. "Dinner's ready. Hope you like Caldari Casserole."  He smiled as he motioned her over to the living area.

She slid down onto the sofa after taking the plate from him. "Xavier...when were you going to tell me you met Red?"

He blinked, startled. " know?"

Shalee nodded. "Yeah. She left me a message and said I could trust you. Why?"

"She was here last night, playing around on your holonet. She saw some things that were hardly proper...anyhow. I thought she was your daughter. I confronted you earlier about it. I guess accusing you about your daughter was too much. You passed out and I brought you in here. She popped up and explained everything. Who she is, etc."

Shalee nodded, "I see."

"Look. I want to help you."

"How can you?"

An arrogant smirk stretched across his mouth, "I can get you those files you need and access into the upper echelon's security feed."

Monday, May 18, 2015

I Spy With My Holographic Eye

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

The hologram tilted her head as a look of surprise washed across her delicate, childlike face. Blue eyes widened as she spied on Xavier Marcell, who flew under the call-sign, BigThump, for the No Mercy corporation. Red had accessed his holographic display minutes prior, assuming that the man would be asleep. She had planned on peeking around his captain's quarters to see if she could gather intel on Shalee's corp mate, not that she had expected to find much, but, she was bored, and BigThump was at the top of Shalee's list.

The child apparition had little difficulty in spying on the lower members of the corporation thanks to a backdoor access security code given to her by Vlad Cetes. Like Viscerus, Vlad was more than competent when it came to acquiring data. The pair had made a deal. Whatever she found out she would have to share with him- which she didn't mind, she didn't expect to find much from peeking around in member's rooms. But, she had little else to do at the moment. And if she were lucky, someone might be lazy and leave a vital clue lying about, like perhaps a ceremonial Sani Sabik dagger or the blood raider robes. Probably not, but it was worth having a look. And anyhow, she was too inquisitive not to have a peek.

She made a little gaspy sound as she realized Xavier was not only awake, but he wasn't alone. Red absorbed the details with a swift glance. She saw him across the room in his bed with a Caldari woman whom she did not recognize. Black silk sheets rumpled, half laying across the floor beside the bed. Several opened bottles of alcohol littered the table nearby. Xav, nude accept for his dog-tags, fisted a hand into the long blonde curls of the Civire, the other slid to the naked girl's hip. His fingers curled into her flesh and he uttered a moan as he slid into her from behind.

The room filled with their lusty sounds: moans, groans, and animalistic grunting as Xavier shoved himself deeper and deeper into the Civire.

Red watched with wide, blue eyes, enraptured by Xavier's prowess. His muscles flexed with each thrust, his sinewy body magnificent beneath the neon blue lights that flickered overhead. The blonde girl splayed her fingers against the headboard, bracing herself while pushing back, meeting his thrusts with wild vigor. Her overly large breast swayed as Xav impaled her over and over.

The hologram cupped her hand and covered her mouth. She knew she shouldn't watch, but she couldn't quite pull her gaze away.

Xavier's hand slid from the Civire's hip and cupped the blonde's bottom, his fingers sinking into her pale flesh. The woman cried out as Xavier leaned over to graze his lips along the woman's back. Sweat glistened and dripped from Xav's forehead. He lapped his tongue along her backbone, then straightened up behind her. As he tugged her hair, the woman stretched her neck and groaned.

The hologram gasped as Xavier slapped his large palm against the Civire's ass cheek, no doubt leaving a red mark. "Is this what you want?" he asked in a raspy voice as the woman whimpered. "More?" He spanked her again, harder. "Is this how you like it?"

Red gasped again, the sound loud enough to break through the sexual frenzy across the room. Xavier turned his head to look at Red with utter shock. Red made a little 'o' of surprise with her mouth as she was caught spying, then suddenly disappeared from the room.

Seconds later, a hologram drone whirled to active as she accessed Viscerus Bent's Naglfar, assuming that is where she'd find the man. She found him in his office, his head buried in data files, as per usual.

"Ahem," she cleared her throat to get his attention.

He side-glanced her, "Hello poppet."

"Why do you always call me that?"

"It's cute. You're cute." He shrugged.

She giggled, "Oh. So guess what!" she said as she settled down onto the floor near him and conjured two holographic dolls to play with.

"What's that?"

"I just came from Xavier's room..." Her eyes widened, her face lit with mischief.

"Xavier?" he asked.

"BigThump, from corp. That is his real name. Xavier Marcell," she said it with a fake Gallentean accent.

"Ah okay. What were you doing in his room?"

"Oh. Just spying," she said casually.

"Spying...huh. How did you get in?"

She sighed, "Vlad gave me the security codes. But I can only get into certain rooms. Not Garsts."

Viscerus's face darkened, "In exchange for what?"

"I have to share intel with him," her tiny shoulders shrugged. "It doesn't matter."

"You should stay away from that man," Vis warned.

"Who, Xavier?"

"No, Vlad. He doesn't do anything for free or from the goodness of his heart. Hell, at this point, I doubt he even has a heart left."

She snickered. "I just have to tell him what I find. That's it."

He gave her a skeptical look. "Well. What did you find out about Xavier?"

Her blue eyes widened, "He likes to do it like the slaver hounds do." She cupped her hand over her mouth as she snickered.

Viscerus coughed and patted his chest, "What did you say?"

The holographic girl giggled mischievously. "I watched him do it with some girl I've never seen. Maybe she is one of the paid girls from the station lounge? But she wasn't Gallente. So I dunno. But! I don't think he is Aposi, or Sani Sabik even. So that is good news, right? With his banking connections, perhaps she can use him to get into the other files. Maybe he will help her."

Viscerus rubbed his hand along his face, his expression one of disbelief. "Why do you think he isn't Aposi?"

"Because he didn't have any Sani tattoos," She rolled her eyes as if that should be obvious. "And he didn't cut her," she said matter-of-factly. "Sani like to use blood when they do it."

"I..." he stuttered as his face flushed with embarrassment. "You shouldn't be spying, and you especially shouldn't be spying on people when they are having sex."

The girl shrugged, "Why ever not?" She danced her two holographic dolls together. "People have sex. And anyhow it is better to see them naked so I can see if they have the tattoos."

"Because you are a little girl, and little girls shouldn't watch those kinds of things."

"But I'm not a little girl. Not really." Her startling blue eyes slanted up, meeting his.

He considered her for a moment, "You take the form of a little girl. Why?"

She returned her gaze to her dolls. Her expression softened as she answered him in a whispery voice, "Because it was the last time I was truly happy."

"When you were five?"

She nodded. "My mother was alive. I didn't know that my father and brothers were Sani Sabik. I didn't know what went on in our house. Everything was perfect."

Viscerus raked his fingers through his hair, then adjusted his glasses. "That makes sense. I guess I never questioned why you appear as the child. You've been doing it for so long, it's almost Red is a separate entity from Shalee."

The child nodded. "That is almost true. She can never remember the things I find out. But, I've been leaving her notes. I really think I can help with the investigation."

"You have to be careful. This isn't a game."

"I know." She rolled her eyes. "I know important it is."

He nodded, "Sorry. Of course you know."

She looked up at him, "I just want the Aposi found and dealt with so we can leave this place. I hate it here."

Viscerus frowned, "I'm sorry you hate it here. I can't imagine it is easy for you, especially dealing with Tyrell." He raked his fingers through his hair again as he sighed with frustration. "Can you change your avatar?"

Her tiny brow quirked. "To what?"


"But why? No one has ever asked me that before."

"Because I feel like I'm talking to Shalee, not a child."

Red nodded, "Yeah. Okay." The hazy blue hologram flickered, then disappeared. A second later the image of Shalee appeared in holographic form. She smiled at him, "Better?"

He eyed her curiously, "Yes. Have you always used the child avatar?"

She nodded. "Pretty much," she answered in a voice that mimicked Shalee's, not the child-like apparition she usually used. "People seem to trust me more as her."

"Curious," he said.

"Isn't it, though." She moved over to Vis's sofa and stretched out on it.

"So what is your plan? To invade our corp-mates rooms while you're a hologram?"

She shrugged. "Might as well. It can't hurt."

"Unless you get caught."

"I wont."

He gave her a disbelieving look.

"Fine. I'll be careful."

"I'm worried about you. The Aposi have to know why you are here," he said.

She shook her head, "No, perhaps not."

"Why do you think that?"

"Because they don't know that I know who is responsible. And they don't know my history with Garst. We were corp-mates before. We were close...most people assume we were lovers. Perhaps they think I am here for him now."

Viscerus nodded, agreeing. "That is possible. And from an outsider's point of view, I guess it makes sense. Tyrell did name a station after you."

She nodded, "I was surprised to see that. I wonder why he did it?"

"Maybe...maybe he is still in love with you."

She frowned, "If only that were so. It would make everything so much easier..."

Friday, May 1, 2015

In The Shadows

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

Unease slithered down her spine. She could feel them watching her, though as she glanced over her shoulder, she noticed that the corridor was empty. Her blue gaze lifted, and she casually took note of the surveillance cameras placed sporadically along the ceiling. No doubt that's how they were keeping tabs. Stretching her hands above her head, she leaned from side to side, then doubled over, stretching her hands to the floor. Discreetly she noted the time, then mentally started the countdown. She had a matter of seconds to make it to the servant's passage. She started her run again, making good time around the upper deck where No. Mercy lived.

Just as she neared the door, the lights flickered within the station. The corridor went dark and she started to count under her breath, knowing she had precisely one minute to change into a servant's uniform and step back out into the corridor.

Her pulse quickened as she slid the uniform on over her clothes, then calmly stepped back outside into the dark corridor. Sweat trickled down the back of her neck as the lights suddenly flashed back on.

So far, so good, she told herself, then mentally thanked Viscerus for his nefarious hacking abilities. It bought her enough time to disappear from the watchful eye of Garst's surveillance.

Shalee stepped into the lift that would take her to the pent house in the C-V6DQ station. Her body practically hummed with nervousness, every fiber of her being felt stretched, taut. She inhaled deeply as she tapped in the servant's passcode that would gain her access to Garst Tyrell's personal space. Again, she thankd Viscerus for hacking the servant's data and acquiring the access code that would allow her to enter any room in Tyrell's suite.

She chose the time carefully after studying him for weeks, getting familiar with his habits. They had an op planned within half an hour, and before every other op, he had been near the hangars with the rest of his command.

Her breath caught as the lift ascended. She watched the neon blue numbers flash, and then finally settle upon -PENTHOUSE-. The doors slid open with a chime. She stepped out into the foyer, then made her way to the door that would lead into the suite itself. She repeated the process of entering the servant's code, then made her way into the living room. With her back against the wall, she waited, and listened, just in case. Hearing nothing, she continued on.

Having memorized the floor plan, she quickly darted down the corridor towards his personal office, assuming that is where he would keep his files. Relaxing somewhat, she keyed in the password, then checked her neo-comm, making certain that the op hadn't been called off. As the door slid open, she froze. He was there, at his desk. Thankfully, it faced away from the door, so his back was to her. She had a split second to make a move. No doubt he knew someone was there, but perhaps, just perhaps, he would assume she was a servant.

Garst Tyrell sat at his desk, staring into his computer monitor. He watched as map after map slid across the screen. Choosing one, he began to manipulate and study it. He picked up his drink and sipped it, then sat it back down without ever taking his eyes off the map. An alarm broke the silence, alerting him that he had no more than twenty minutes until he was due on the flight deck.

He stood and straightened his jacket, then picked up his glass as he turned around. He froze when he saw her silhouette in the dim light, standing in the darkness beyond the doorway to his office.  "You just made the last mistake of your life," he growled.

She could feel the blood draining from her face. Think, dammit. "Is that how you greet an old friend?" she said in the most casual voice she could muster.

He reached for his sidearm in a lightning quick movement but his hand relaxed on the leather holster as he recognized her voice. Then, slowly and measuredly, he moved his hand back onto the grip of the weapon. He placed his drink onto the desk without ever taking his eyes off of her, then folded his arms.

Shalee boldly stepped into the room, forcing one foot in front of the other. She dropped her gaze to his sidearm. The memory of him forcing a gun into her mouth flashed in the back of her mind. She forced those thoughts away as she tried to keep her fear pushed down.

"My friends don't sneak up me like a thief in the night," he said.

"How else am I to get your attention?"

"Who are you to deserve my attention?" He was conscious of the seconds ticking away, preparations still needing to be made occupying his thoughts, the thousands of crew and capsuleers that were even now awaiting his presence in fleet.

She clasped her fingers together loosely in front of her. "We were friends once."

He resigned himself to her inconvenience. They could wait on him. It's not like they had a choice. "That was lives ago. Why do you hang onto the past so desperately? I thought by now you'd have learned some perspective."

She could tell he was impatient, though guarded. At least he hadn't thrown her out the airlock yet. "You think that is what I am doing?" She nodded, "Yeah okay. I should go. We have an op soon."

"Not so fast. You sneak into my room, make me late for my own damn op, and then just say "forget it"?"

She made no motion to leave. Instead, she stood there, gazing at him, hoping that her fear wasn't bleeding through. "You want to forget the"

"Stop being so dramatic; just spit it out woman. What is it that's so important you couldn't mail or convo me like the rest of the corp?"

She bit her bottom lip to keep from being a total smart-ass. Inhaling a deep breath, she exhaled, then smiled in what she hoped was in an alluring way. "I wanted to have a drink with you. To catch up on old times. But, you're not interested. So I'll leave."

He stared at her for a long while before finally taking a second glass from a nearby shelf, carefully pouring a measure of whiskey, and holding out to her. "So drink."

Apprehensively moved closer to him and took the offered drink from his hand. "Thank you." Whiskey. Of course. She took a careful drink from the glass, trying not to wince as the amber liquid burned her throat.

He gulped down what was left in his own glass then placed it back on the desk. "You've been avoiding me. You think I didn't notice, but I notice everything. Nor am I stupid enough to believe that you broke into my home was because you wanted.. to what was it..? 'catch up on old times?' What a cliche, stupid line Shalee. You never were good at lying."

"I waited for you to make the first move." She finished her drink and sat it on his desk beside his empty glass. "And since you didn't, here I am."

He chuckled. "First move? Are we dating? I should thank you. You've been staying out of my way up until this moment magnificently, and it was appreciated. Shame you had to go and spoil that winning streak."

"I offered to leave."

"Yes, yet here you are. Very convenient, so now you have my undivided attention. You should have never came in in the first place! So spit it out! What is it you really want cause I'm already out of time and out of patience for games."

She bit her bottom lip, thinking. "Yes. Well, we have an op, so I'll just go." She smiled as naturally as possible, then turned around to head for the door, "Thanks for the drink."

He rushed behind her and pinned her against the wall with his body, arm across her throat. "You don't get to leave until I say so."

She tensed as she was shoved against the wall, "You could have just asked me to stay."

He looked her into the eyes for a few full heartbeats before stepping back, releasing her. He moved in front of the door, blocking her escape without having to physically hold her there. "Lets just get this over with."

She exhaled a breath she hadn't realized she was holding. Her blue eyes widened as surprise washed across her face. She hadn't expected him to let her go so easily. "Get what over with?"

"The charade. This is the part where I ask you .. again.. why you are in my quarters at 0216 at night, stalking me over my shoulder as I work. This is the part where you will try to dodge the question until you can think up some flimsy lie or distraction to appease me. So then you will lie to me."

Shalee winced, knowing her lies weren't going to work. He knew her far too well, even if he didn't realize it. "I want access to your files."

Garst looked startled for the briefest of moments, then immediately regained his composure."

"Employee files. Both corporation and alliance," she continued.


She felt a new wave of fear coursing through her, expecting to be shoved out of the airlock in the next few minutes. "Yeah, I figured that is what you'd say. Hence me breaking in."

He growled as he grabbed her roughly, shoving her in front of him and throwing her onto the ground outside the door into the public hallway. He spoke into his communicator, "I need four armed guards on my room now. Make it happen... Yes now." He glared at her, "If you ever break into my quarters again or touch my corporate files, you won't be coming back in any new clone bodies when I'm through with you. I've got a fleet to run. Get out of my sight."

She scrambled to her feet. "Point taken." She exhaled a shaky breath, and backed away as quickly as possible.

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."

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Tyrant's Focus

(guest post by Garst Tyrell)

The tyrant exited the pristine medical bay with a confident stride, quickly but precisely closing the distance to the lift that would transport him to the upper levels. As he entered the lift a lone Amarrian bowed and held forth the master's command console. The scene played out as it always must: He dismissed the mortal as he seized the proferred device, his mind already focusing not on battles lost but greater wars yet to be won. The ritual complete the Amarrian silently stepped from the lift and bowed once more unnoticed as the doors snapped shut. The lift began its silent ascent from Hades. He would be back.

The display faded back into life to project a Triumvirate alliance logo as his hands waved impatiently over the screen, haptic sensors responding to his newest body's unique bio-electrical field. Form is subservient to function in all things, but he indulged in that most common of immortal fetishes: all replacement flesh for his future deaths must precisely match that of the original. He had lost the original so many lives ago so as to render any lingering significance irrelevant. Rather this was a calculated choice, the permanence of his noble form a constant reminder to those around him of his otherness, a pilgrim on the path to an apotheosis that they will never walk.

Preliminary reports for the skirmish in GE- had already been replaced with a final battle damage assessment during the tyrant's rebirth. He scrolled through the force disposition, destroyed ships highlighted in crimson red to honor/shame the fallen. He frowned as he stopped on the loss of his own Curse force recon vessel, crimson pulsing dully behind the text bearing its name: Dictator. As expected the engineers on nearby vessels recorded the Dictator had been overwhelmed, shields instantly collapsing under the strain from a massed volley of 1400mm macrocannon slugs. He involuntarily closed his eyes and felt the intense heat as his ship incinerated all inside and turned to nothing. His frown turned into a snarl as he suppressed the pain being forced on himself by a brain still convinced it was dead and finished reading the reports.

They had never had a chance. Many immortals refer to the system of GE- as the 'Thunderdome', an archaic reference to a meeting ground for fleet skirmishes of all size where commanders and pilots clash to test their tactics with bloody result. The tyrant his led his fleet into the system chasing easy prey, but his greed had got the better of him and he had over committed his ship to run down a pirate cruiser bleeding atmosphere from a number of breaches in its hull. But this prey had summoned friends to avenge its loss, interdiction probes trapping the Dictator as the enemy battleship fleet casually snuffed it out with the press of a button.

The lift decelerated to a stop and the doors slid slowly open to reveal a personal hanger. Garst strode forward to a waiting orbital shuttle, open hatch a loving embracing to return him to his rightful destiny written in the stars. As history has shown, that destiny proved to be very bloody indeed.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gods And Monsters

Solar System: Uemon
Region: The Forge
Constellation: Mivora
Security Level: 0.2
Location: Perkone Factory Caldari State

Lights flickered then dimmed in the Perkone Factory Caldari State station's corridors, marking the midnight hour. The holographic walls lit as nearly one hundred photos with names beneath flashed onto the screens, an honorary tribute to those who had died within the last twenty four hours. Her blue gaze skimmed across the montage as she stopped to catch her breath. She'd been running the upper deck where most of her corp-mates kept small apartments.

None of the faces looked familiar, but she hadn't really expected to recognize any of them. They were strangers, mostly crew members of her corporation and alliance. Mortals. Brave men and women who signed up to fly with the capsuleers, knowing that they weren't likely to make it to old age. Or the next week, for that matter. It was always a risk, but their families were well compensated.

Capsuleers rarely gave their crew a second thought. Their own lives were practically immortal. Death was a temporary thing, less than a second while consciousness was transferred from a dying pod to a new clone. Though some higher ranking crew members were privy to escape pods, many were not. If the ship were to go down, so would they.

Capsuleers would never suffer such a fate. They were Gods.

And sometimes monsters...

Her brow furrowed as she took a moment to look at each individual face. When she flew for the Empire, crew members were rarely recognized. Many were slaves- though never on her ships. They were disposable, treated as another part of the ship, as if they were a thing and not a living, breathing person.

But here, they were recognized. Their sacrifice noted. Honored, even. She found it strangely comforting.

She rubbed the small of her back as she started walking towards her apartment, cooling down from her run. The corridor was quiet and empty. Most N.M pilots were asleep at this hour, and she had yet to sync with their circadian rhythm. As she turned the corner, she nearly collided with Mystical Might, a pilot she had known for nearly the length of her capsuleer career. Sometimes friend, sometimes enemy, his loyalties changed on the flip of an ISK coin. She drew up her hand and balled up her fist out of instinct- he had podded her last he'd seen her in space.

"Whoa," he yelped while grabbing at her hand as it came storming towards his face. "What the hell is that for?"

"For podding me, you leech!"

"Oh." He smirked, "That. It isn't my fault you warped to a gate in a pod. You should know better."

She pulled her hand back while glaring at him, "And you should know better than to kill so-called friends."

He folded his arms and leaned against the wall, "Hey now. You weren't the only one. Several of you warped in at once. Luckily I scooped up your corpse."

"Creep," she rolled her eyes. "I didn't think you were into that."

He held up his hands defensively, "I'm not. I was contacted by someone offering 150 mil for it."

"You're joking."


"Who?" she asked.

"Hasan al-Askari Mujahideen. Whoever that is," he replied in a lazy, carefree voice.

"Fucking hell, Myst. That guy is crazy. He's been mailing for some time now begging for a corpse to do God only knows what with." She felt sick to her stomach. "I can't believe you sold me."

"Hey! It was 150 million ISK," he said, as if that made it any better.

"Whatever." She shook her head. "What are you even doing here anyhow? You don't live in Uemon."

"I do now."

"You joined Tri?"

"Yup. Today."

She slung her head back and sighed deeply.

"So," he asked, "Does this mean we can be friends again?" He extended his arms, offering a hug, "C'mon. I've matured, I swear."

She eyed him for a moment then stepped closer as if she were going to hug him. Instead, she sucker punched him in the gut. "You should know better than to leave yourself vulnerable," she smirked as she took a few steps away, out of arms reach. "And yes. Now we can be friends."

He grunted as he grabbed his stomach, "Fine. I deserved that. We good?"

"Yeah, we're good." She started towards her apartment while speaking over her shoulder, "And don't sell any more of my corpses, damn you."

"Lucky for you I don't awox," he called out.

She rounded a corner and paused to admire the atrium that separated one row of apartments from another. Foliage hung from hovering planters in the center of the atrium, trees grew up from the bottom. She moved to the glass divider and leaned against it, peeking over to count the levels. Each floor would house a division of Triumvirate. She knew that the floor below No Mercy's belonged to VOLTA, but she was unfamiliar with the rest of arrangement.

A shadow fell across the atrium and corridors as a chimera floated above the dome overhead, blocking out the natural light from the nearby sun. She glanced up to admire the massive warship as it drifted across the station. Once it was out of view, she dropped her gaze and gasped when she spotted Garst across the atrium. Their eyes met and she stared at him for a long moment as something he said to her years ago whispered in the back of her mind.

"...all things must come to an end so greater things can begin. Change breeds strength, and you will be stronger for it."

Recognition flashed across his face. Of course he remembered her. She was foolish to believe he would have forgotten her, no matter how much she had hoped to slip in underneath his radar. His brow-line creased.

An explosion overhead lit the atrium in a myriad of colors. She glanced up to watch the wreckage raining across the dome, a thousand shards of metal cascading through the air. It was beautiful, though something deep inside of her knew she shouldn't appreciate the beauty of such brutal carnage.

She dropped her gaze, searching for him, but he was gone. An old memory echoed, "I would have moved the stars in the sky to get to you..." 

She chewed her bottom lip nervously as a chill of unease slithered down her spine. "Well. Here I am. Let's get this over with, shall we Garst?" she whispered to herself as she stepped into her quarters.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Into The Fold

Solar System: Uemon
Region: The Forge
Constellation: Mivora
Security Level: 0.2
Location: Perkone Factory Caldari State

She woke up in a cold sweat, her heart racing as blood pumped furiously through her veins. She realized it was just a dream as she blinked her eyes open. The horrific images began to fade, but the emotions lingered. Cold, oppressive fear slithered down her spine and she felt as if she were smothering. She gasped and tried to force her breathing to steady, telling herself that it was nothing more than a nightmare.

Sliding her hand through her blonde strands, she sat up and pulled her knees to her chest. The black silk sheet did little to warm her chilled skin. Teeth chattering, she turned her gaze to her captain's quarters. The room was unfamiliar and for a moment she had forgotten where she was. The realization came quickly as the corporation's logo flashed along one of the screens on the far side of the wall. She was in Uemon, in a cheap rented apartment on the space station that her new corp currently based out of.

Trimuverate. No Mercy. Garst Tyrell.

Fragmented memories rushed through her mind at once, filling her thoughts with flickering scenes from many years ago. The memories played like a bad melodramatic holo-reel, distorted shards of their past twisting and turning, as if being viewed through a kaleidoscope.

Once, he had been her superior in PIE, but also her friend. A mentor, who bought her her first slicer and taught her to fly a harbinger. Her hero, when he captured the star system Kamela.

And then he changed. Everything changed. She became afraid of him as he turned his back on her beloved Empire. His lust for blood out-shadowed her naivety and her idealistic imperial dreams. She played by the book, followed the rules and upheld the law.

He made his own rules, own laws, and forced those he fought to submit to his terms. He was a glorious and ruthless leader. A true conqueror of men, of space, of fame.

"You can't just take what you want." she had said to him once.

"Recent history says otherwise, and frankly, I'm beginning to like it." 

His arrogance infuriated her. His ruthlessness terrified her. When he left their old corporation, he took some of Amarr's best pilots with him, nearly crippling her militia. She had never forgiven him.

She slid out of bed, wrapped up in her sheet and settled down onto the sofa to mindlessly watch the news reports roll across the screen. Incursions. Sovereignty changes. Concord. Though she tried to focus, her thoughts drifted, haunted by years old memories. One of their last conversations played through her mind.

"The ONLY good thing that came out of that bastard organization was that it showed me how NOT to run a corporation... and you. You really were a lucky find. It's a shame you threw away what I would have given you. Everything. I would have given you everything."

She shook her head. "I don't believe you. You left, Garst. You walked away from PIE, the Empire, me. You didn't even tell me you were going."

"The Empire and PIE have no place for men of ambition anymore. The frontier, that my dear, is where great men will make their mark and carve the next empire. Where the weak perish and only the strong survive. Yes Shalee, that is what I crave. Not the slow death of a complacent empire but the chance to make my mark or die trying on the edge."

"So go," she said dismissively. "No one is standing in your way. Go conquer it all for all I care."

"So that's it? Goodbye and good luck? Don't let the door hit you on the way out?" he said.

"What else do you want me to say? You are leaving regardless," she argued.

"Then convince me to stay," he said.

"You wont. There's nothing I can say to make you stay. I can't compete with your quest for glory, for your need to conquer."


"Maybe? You know I'm right. I never could compete."

He was silent.

She stared at the holographic screen, challenging him. "Fine. Stay. I want you to stay." 

"Why? So you can have something for you and your friends to hate. A puppet to point to and say 'Don't end up like that, oh ye faithful?' I don't want to stay. I want you to come with me."

"Come with you? Abandon the Empire? For what? To what avail?"

"Because I want you to come. Because I want to open your eyes and show you wonders you've only dreamed of, temptations you've denied for so long. There are no rules on the frontier. Only survival and victory."

"And this is what you desire?"

"I desire you. I always have."

It had been over five years since since he had uttered those words to her. Five years of her serving faithfully, dutifully, in the Amarr Militia, rising to the rank of Divine Commodore. She lead her own corporation, and then alliance, which became a dominant force in the Bleak Lands and surrounding systems.

He never looked back.

Five years, and she gave it all up in an instant to search for a illusive Sani Sabi sect that had infiltrated Triumvirate as they had her own corporation. At least that is where the intel was leading her.

Impulsively, she applied to his corporation, and without a word, was accepted.

Just like that. He hadn't contacted her or cared that she was there. No doubt, if he even remembered her at all, she'd be just another gun to him. Another soldier to fight his war. Raphael had told her, "I don't think he's given you a second thought, honestly."

And that was probably for the best...

[ 12 hours earlier ]

Shalee blinked open her eyes as the liquid drained from her pod. The murky, amber fluid flushed into the metal grating as the pod opened. The automatic clone-jack wires unplugged and coiled into the pod itself. As the mouthpiece fell from her mouth, she looked at Raphael who was standing there, arms folded, staring at her. She took a step forward onto the metal grating, dripping water. "I knew we would run into each other but I didn't know it would be so soon."

Raphael frowned at her, his voice a mixture of anger and confusion. "What are you doing here?"

She threaded her fingers through her soaked hair and squeezed the excess water out. "Joining your corporation. That's what."

"Why are you here?"

Shalee stared at him for a moment, "Why are you here?" she asked as she laid her hands on her hips loosely.

"Answer my goddamn question! You have no business here. Go back to Huola."

She lifted her chin, her blue eyes blazing with a sudden rush of anger. She knew she was going to have to face him and explain, but she didn't know it would be so soon. "But I do. And it is *my* business."

"Why can't you just fuckin' leave me alone? You made your goddamn choice, go fucking live with it. Let me be!"

Her thin brows furrowed, "And so did you." She kept her hands on her hips, chin raised imperiously, meeting his glare with one of her own, "So move it. You're in my way."

He threw his hands into the air. "What the hell does that mean?"

"It means you're blocking my way and I want to go take a shower. That is what it means. Now move. You have no right to be in my personal hangar." She shoved at him with one hand.

Raphael grabbed her by the wrist, "We don't need you here, go back to Tiger."

She jerked her arm, trying to pull away from him, "And yet I was accepted into your corporation, so someone needs me." She frowned at him, "Why don't you go back to Sara."

Raphael twisted his face in incomprehension. "Who the hell is Sara?"

"Jerk," she stared at him, hot anger flashing in her eyes, "So you've already broken off your engagement?"

"What the hell are you talking about!?"

"The woman you came here to marry?"

He looked at her, mute, unable to make any sense of her.

"Sara Morgaine? Red headed Khanid...." she explained.

"I don't know what you're talking about and I think you're just trying to weasel your way past me with this bullshit."

"Whatever," she said sarcastically, convinced he was lying. "Can you let me pass?"

"Why are you here?" he asked again.

"It's none of your business. Contrary to your belief, New Eden doesn't revolve around you. Nor do I. Now please, let me pass."

He practically threw her wrist back to her. "Do what you're here for and then get out and never bother me again."

She scoffed, "How am I bothering you! You're here in my chambers."

"You've come all the way out here to the other side of the cluster, and just happen to join the same corp I've been in for half a year!"

She rubbed at her wrist, "No. I'm here for a reason. I'm looking for someone inside of Triumvirate."

"What, need a second suitor again?" he said derisively.

She rolled her eyes, "You're an ass."

"Yeah, you're so much better."

"I wont be in your way. You'll hardly know I'm here."

"I can only hope."

She frowned deeply. "This is the first time we have talked in months and all you want to do is yell at me. Typical."

"You marry Tiger while I'm away. Marry him! The man who cheated on you! Who lied to you about it! Got someone else pregnant! Then you run up here and act like we're going to be the best of friends?"

She dropped her gaze as she huffed out a breath. Emotions overwhelmed her at once. "First off. I heard you were seeing someone else and that it was serious. Secondly.. I was a wreck and needed someone and you weren't there."

"Heard from who? Because I can guarantee you it was a lie. And a wreck over what? And why didn't you contact me? You know I'd have come, but what, because I wasn't living at the Terrace you felt I was "not there?"

She tilted her head, her blue eyes lingering upon his face. A part of her wanted to tell him everything right in that moment, but he was so angry and hurtful, she couldn't bring herself to say the words. "It doesn't matter."

Raphael looked at her plainly, his face a mask of anger and disappointment. "Well I don't know how you ever expect me to understand anything when you never tell me anything at all."

She blinked as tears started to pool in her eyes. They glistened beneath the light of the hangar as they dripped down her cheeks. "There's so much you don't know...and wouldn't understand."

"So you don't even try to tell me. I understand. Why waste your time, right?"

She shivered as the artificially cool air blew against her pod-suit. "You'll only hate me more. Don't you think it is hard enough facing you now? Knowing you hate me?"

"I don't know what you expected me to do after what you've done to me. Was I supposed to be happy that you "finally found someone?" Tell me why you're expecting any sympathy at all."

"I'm not expecting anything from you," she said softly.

He stood there saying nothing, while looking at her, his face stern.

"Can I at least take a shower first?" she pleaded.

"I already said you could go," he said slightly dismissively.

She nodded and brushed past him, heading into her captain's quarters and made her way into the bathroom for a long, hot shower. A while later she exited her shower, having changed into some baggy cargo pants and a tee with a Concord star across the front.

Raphael had moved himself to the couch and she joined him on the opposite side. "Do you want a drink?" she asked as she threaded her fingers through her damp hair.

He shook his head. "No," he said shortly.

"Alright. You want an explanation." She bunched her hand up in her wet hair. "A long time ago, after us the first time. Right at the beginning of Eran. I met up with Zenton, I was upset. He calmed me down and one thing happened after another...and I ended up pregnant."

He raised his brows in disbelief and said with a hint of sarcasm, "One thing lead to another."

"We weren't even a couple- he was a pirate, then. And that is when things weren't safe for me, not that they ever are." She frowned at his sarcasm. "You know. Never mind this. You can leave. I don't owe you anything."

"I'm not talking about you 'betraying' me with this, mistake? Just how you simply smooth over it so blase' like."

She frowned, "We weren't together at the time." She pulled her feet up onto the sofa and rested her chin against her knees as she drew her legs to her chest.

"I know that. I just said that I'm not holding it against you. But pregnant?"

She nodded, "I wasn't with anyone. So I wasn't protected. It just happened. But I never told him. I never told anyone because those times were so dangerous. I didn't want a child to be used against us. And so I clone jumped out and had her adopted out in secret. I tried to forget about her, all these years, I tried to pretend she didn't exist. But she was always there, in the back of my mind. And Red picked up on it and Red found her." She glanced away, staring at the big screen across the room, though she paid no attention to what was flashing across it in bright red letters. "The Aposi, a Sani Sabik sect, was watching, in the background. And they found her. My daughter. And they killed her."

"They were watching what?"

She chewed her bottom lip. 'They were watching me. Red. I didn't know. They waited, and waited all this time, to really hurt me."

"So they found her through Red? The little wraith that I wanted to get rid of because I was afraid of information leaking out? And why would this 'Aposi' want to hurt you?"

She shook her head softly. "Who knows? A part of me thinks it was to settle an old score between them and my Father. But he is dead, so. I don't know. That is the point. I am blind in all of this. But I do know that they are everywhere. In the shadows. Hiding. But I will find them. And I will kill them."

"What does that have to do with you being here?"

"I'm following a lead, that someone in Tri is Aposi."

"Why didn't you ask Tiger? He's a blooder, I'm sure he's got connections."

"He was never a blooder. And not all Sani Sabik are connected."

"He was Revan's right hand man. You're going to tell me he wasn't a blooder?"

"Yes. That is exactly what I am going to tell you. They aren't the same thing."

He frowned and crossed his arms. "Fine. So you're here looking for blooders."

"Ones who killed my daughter," she said.

"You think that the ones who killed your daughter are in TRI."

She shook her head, "I don't know. But maybe. That is why I am here, to find out." She exhaled a soft breath. "I just hope it isn't Garst." Her eyes flicked to his, searching his face as she asked, "He can't be...can he?"

"I don't think he's given you a second thought, honestly. Why didn't you send anyone else to come out here and do this?"

"Because I don't trust anyone else to do it. And if I find them, I want to be the one to kill them."

Raphael continued to frown, arms crossed over his chest, "Well how about I look into it and you can go back to Huola where it's safer."

"I told you. I have to be here, cause if I find them, I have to be the one to kill them. With my own hands."

"Well I can call you if I find them."

"Why are you so keen on getting rid of me?"

"Because honestly, I don't want to be around you. "Never get married," you told me. Then the next thing I know I'm hearing from other people that you and Tiger and now husband and wife. It really doesn't make me want to see you, either in person or in space."

"I'm sorry, but I heard that you were seeing someone. From other people. And it just happened. But you can't deny me my justice. You can't, Raphael. They killed my daughter."

"Yeah, I'm sure it "just happened." I'm sure "one thing led to another" and you just ended up married." He stood up, "You know, if you thought I was seeing someone else, you should have confronted me. God knows you've done it enough in the past, it's not like you don't have any practice."

She dropped her head, burying it against her knees. Her hair fell around her face and legs in a silky curtain.

"Best of luck with your hunt," he said as he headed towards the exit. He opened the door, but before leaving he turned back around one more. "Oh, and of course congratulations on your nuptials," he said sarcastically before leaving.