Thursday, 27 August 2009

Medical Report - Angelina Ballentyne

"Medical audio log..... encrypt beta three engage."
Dr Leander sat down at her desk and massaged her neck while she spoke.
"Subject, Angelina Ballentyne. Admitted earlier this evening with second degree burn on neck, knife wounds on upper and lower torso, both legs, both arms. Penetrating wound to abdomen no vital damage. Considerable blood loss. Left ear severed, two fingers on left hand severed."
She lit a cigarette and slipped it into a carved ivory holder and inhaled deeply.
"Prognosis is good. Ear and fingers reattached and responding well. Burn wound to neck will heal but will be scared for life unless surgery is performed. All knife wounds recieved have been cleaned and stitched. She will be scared for life with those. Blood and fluids are being replaced."
Looking over her shoulder she saw Angelina in the hospital bed, several people around her, Carmilla by her bed. Eliza and JD had been in as well as others of the Black Rabbits.
"My only concern are the levels of Frentix and Blue Pill I found in what remained of her blood stream. I belive it may be indicative of a problem that hasn't been reported or even noticed. However, what concerns me more are the benign drugs I found in her blood, with a chemical tag that indicates a latent binary poison has put into her system....."
She paused and looked over at Angelina.
"Recommend random blood tests for TGA members under auspices of annual checkups. Entry end. Constance Leander, MD"
She stubbed out her cigarette and walked over to where Angelina lay asleep. My god, she thought, I'd hate to see what happened to the other guy.

Constance Leander, M.D.

Gunfight in Down Below pt 2

Guristas and Serpentis fired their weapons at each other. Bar patrons scattered, hid, fled or joined in. Screams, oaths, cries, the sound of splintering wood, shattering glass and the thud of bodies falling to the floor were constant.

The Serpentis Agent fell back, half a dozen glowing holes peppered the body armour under his flight suit but his right eye was a blackened hole which bored through his head, his weapon firing erratically as his dead finger depressed the firing stuf. Angelina threw herself behind a table, blood streaming from a bullet wound in her neck, automatically ejecting the spent energy cells and grabbing for new ones. Eliza, heedless of the incoming fire stood stock still, two pistols in her hands firing with calculated shots.

The Serpentis and Guristas crew clashed, knives replacing guns. Vicious slashes, stabs and cuts quickly tore the two groups apart til the last Serpentis was left backing away, bloody wounds covering his body. None could touch him, already four had died at his hands and knife.

He raised his dagger in salute and threw it into the wooden floor.
"Fie, I challenge you. Angelina of the Ballentyne, blood sister to Carmilla. In the name of the Serpentis, of the Teku Bloodline I challenge you. Do you accept in the name of the Guristas?"
His barrel chest was heaving, sweat and blood covered him, his tattoo's seemed to writhe out of the way of the blood for the most part, all glistening with multi-chromed inks. One of the crew raised his weapon.
"Why should we?"
Eliza reached out and laid a hand on his arm without looking and pushed it down. She looked over at Angelina, blood still pouring down her neck.
"Do you want to do this?"
Angelina stood up and staggered over, taking a plasma repeater from the floor and checking it's load. She looked at the Serpentis.
"Teku.... I have heard of you. You are the ones who took my Sister. I have no love for you only hate and loathing. What are the terms of the challenge?"
The Teku looked at her.
"I win I walk out of here alive. You win the Teku relinquish any claim on Carmilla D'Morenta."
Angelina pointed the plasma pistol at the floor and depressed the firing switch until the whole clip had fired.

When the noise cleared she looked straight into his eyes, without fear.
"No. You win, you walk out of here alive and under my protection. I win, the Teku Bloodline, and the Serpentis as a whole relinquish any claim on the Ballentyne bloodline."
She jammed the red hot end of the weapon against her neck. The stench of searing flesh filled the room, covering the other smells. The Teku looked on and nodded.
"So be it. The challenge has been accepted. Let none interfere unless they want to face the wrath of the Serpentis...."
There were jeers but they were silenced as a heavily robed man approached and pushed his way through. Four guards walked with him, recognisable anywhere. Federic "Gilgamesh" Chopin pulled back his hood and stood beside Angelina and Elize. There were a few whispered gasps and mutterings.
"And let none interfere unless they want to answer to the Guristas."
Angelina looked around and nodded, she gestured and the area around the dagger cleared.
"On behalf of the Ballentyne bloodline I accept the challenge."

Together, Teku and Ballentyne leapt for the Serpentis Dagger. Two pirates fighting as their kind had done for millenia, a knife fight to the death. Two pirates, one bred for violence, abhorance and pain, the other fighting for her Sister. Federic knew, as Eliza knew, as every Gurista knew.... Teku didn't stand a chance.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Gunfight in Down Below pt 1

The elevator descended into the lower levels of the space station around Ishomilken V. For a considerable amount of time this has become a Guristas station in all but name. And the lower levels were not for the faint hearted. But as they say, needs must when the devil drives, and today the devil wore snakeskin.

Angelina checked again the clip in her weapon and the blade on her forearm. Her comunit was giving her trouble, but then she had never been this deep into 'down below' before.

The elevators opened out onto a broad avenue, people thronged the passageways and entrances to shops and facilities. Techs mingled with pilots, who rubbed shoulders with bio-vat creations that were called soldiers. The mingled smells of thousands, the aroma of cooked food, the stench of rubbish, and the inability for the ventilation to move a tenth of the stale air made the sensation somewhat different than usual. She stepped out, her boots clicking over the metal bulkhead and into 'down below'. All around eyes looked at her. Some openly, others from shadows. Yet more didn't bother. If there was something to see they would see it eventually. Whispered voices already proclaimed her arrival, silent pulses on com-units warned people of her presence.

But as she walked on deeper, looking for a particular building it was obvious that she was here for a reason. A group of kidnappers accessed an information portal to find out the price on the head of the pirate who walked through and upon seeing the price and who it was decided not to bother, there were easier targets. An assassin for hire who was checking lists of potential marks saw her walk past just as her image came up. He checked her background and flicked to another mark. Before too long those people in the know knew who she was, and a few knew why she was here. And those who had allegiance to the Guristas let it be known that any loyalist who touched her would answer to a higher power. Those who did not were warned and those who were worthy were told of the plot to abduct her sister. Most of the backed off. Most.

She stopped outside a particular bar and waited for a few moments then walked in. The information she was given specified a table, a rough description and a time. As she walked in a man at the table she was looking at looked back. He smiled, as behind him he had ten men. Hard, brutal men with shimmering neo-lectic tattoos that moved across their bodies. Serpentis. All of them armed. Angelina stood there alone. Until a familiar hand touched her shoulder.
"Got your back Ange," said Eliza, and nine men and women spread out behind her. Lithe, dangerous looking, all with Black Rabbit tattoos, the best from both their crews, all armed to the teeth.

Angelina turned to the Serpentis agent.
"You know why I am here. This ends now."
"There is only one way this can end. Badly. Neither of us can backdown. Neither of us really wants to."
"That much is true."
"There will be others who come, regardless of who dies today."
She swept her long duster back revealing the butt of her pistol.
"You could call off the contract on her and return to Serpentis Prime."
He laughed, "I would be in disgrace, my life would be worth spit."
"Spit is more than it will be worth if you dont."
"And you will beg me to die a thousand times once I get you back to the pens."

For a few moments there was silence then both sides reacted at the same time. Weapons flew into hands and the air was filled with bullets, screams, oaths as Guristas fought Serpentis.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Shadow Serpentis

Doctor Leander returned to her medical bay and cleaned and sterilized all her equipment before slumping into her chair. She access her medical files, amending Eliza's quickly before returning to her reports. Deep in work she didn't hear the door to the medical bay open and close, or the soft padding of feet towards her. The first she realised was when a powerful hand clasped across her mouth and a hypo-spray was jammed into her neck before blackness overcame her.

Justine Death brought Carmilla into the medical bay and laid her gently on the examining table. Carmilla pulled herself into a ball and started muttering slowly under her breath.
"It wasn't my fault.. they made me do it.. they made me do it... dont let them take me back to the pens...."
Justine stroked her hair for a moment then looked around. Something was not right. The lights in the back of the medbay were off and there was a strange smell, something that fastidious Dr Leander would not tolerate.
"Doctor Leander? Anyone?"
With one hand she pulled out her heavy pistol and with the other she spoke into the comunit on her wrist. She was working out how to get Carmilla out of here when the figure ran out from the shadow.
Her gun raised and fired three shots as the figure slammed into her and knocked her into wall. Dazed she raised her weapon again only to see a large fist slam into the side of her head knocking her back. Instinct took over, every back alley brawl, every fight she'd ever been in against overwhelming odds. The gun dropped and she leapt foward, her boot connecting with the figure, wild punches striking and pushing the figure back until it kicked her and she fell to the floor. Before she could get up a foot was on her chest and a weapon pointed at her head.
"Slave. You fight well, perhaps I should take you back instead. Perhaps I should take you both, put you against each other. "The voice was harsh and brought up primal images that both shocked and terrified her. She tried to move the foot and it pushed down harder, he pistol whipped her.
"Yes.. struggle. Like she did. I like it when they struggle, when the fear is in their eyes. It is like the finest wine. Look at me... Look at me!" He raised his voice. She looked at him. Fury and anger in her eyes, hatred but no fear. He removed his mask and the winding snake tattoo on him marked him as Serpentis! The tattoo was inked with colours that shimmered and moved, like Carmilla's slave tattoos. He moved his foot onto her neck and pushed down. She choked, he laughed. She was failing. Failing herself, failing her friends. Failing Eliza. Anger boiled up and she pushed his foot up and cried out.
Her cry rang out and the Serpentis merely laughed and lowered the pistol between her eyes.
"Perhaps I won't take you. Too much spirit..... perhaps I'll take this... Eliza....." He watched the fear finally filter into her eyes then tightened his finger on the trigger.

The pistol shot was loud and echoed though the medical bay and was followed by eleven more in quick succession. Alarms sounded and guards came running, bursting into the medical bay. Justine pushed the body of the dead Serpentis off her and looked up. Carmilla, with Justines pistol in her hand stood over the body, her finger pulling on the trigger still, whispering all the time.
"They made me do it.... I didn't want to.... you have to believe me.... make the voices go away.... make them stop...."
She took the pistol from her hand and hugged Carmilla to her, nodding to the guards to take the body and search the medical bay. For a while they both just stood there wondering what had happened.
"Eliza," she croaked into her communit, "Come to the medical bay, bring Angelina. There's been an incident."

One Careless Owner

A rumour had been circulated to the Caldari that a high ranking Officer of the Guristas would be in a certain system at a hidden brothel. The window of opportunity was only a few hours, the isk asked for the time and location was minimal. The informant reliable. A small task force was dispatched under the auspices of a standard low sec patrol, only seven ships were sent based around a Caldari State Oshiro. The stage was set. Naturally it was a trap.

The Oshiro burned at high speed towards the gate but already the Captain knew it was a futile race. On scan and visible through the bridge windows over a dozen raiders were attacking, frigates, interceptors, stealth bombers. Already his escort had been destroyed, the six navy caracels destroyed, their wrecks twisting in space, but they had taken twice their number with them. The deck thrummed as the neutron cannons fired again, but the nimble frigates deftly avoided the blasts.
"Captain, we have incoming fire against the aft shields...."
"Negative response from Caldari State we are being jammed...."
"Reloading battery IV...."
"Target Gamma VII breaking off.... warping....."
He listened to the reports as they came in thick and fast. There was little they could do to escape, the frigates would just follow them if they made the gate and scramble them on the other side.
"Local station reporting more hostiles undocking...."
"Battery IV engaging...."
"Drone control reports last drone has been destroyed...."
"Contact local station, I want numbers and types of ships undocking."
The deck thrummed again as the cannons fired and finally he could hear the sound of the siege launchers locking into position. At last he thought as the inferno torpedoes sped off to their targets, impacting in violent halo's of light and fury.
"local station reporting four battleships undocking. Raven, raven, Apocalypse and Dominix."

Several Au away from the battle Angelina listened in to the communication and powered up her engines.
"Inform the fleet we are going in now. Patch me through to the Oshiro."

The Captain stormed over to the shield control to check the figures were correct and made a few adjustments.
"Captain, direct communication for you, origin unknown."
"Batteries I and III reloading..."
"Shield strength at...."
"Probably just these raiders trying to maintain terms... patch them through...." He listened as the connection was made and fired a broadside before they could even start talking.
"This is Captain Hashiro of the Caldari State Oshiro. I demand...."
A voice cut through, female, powerful, slightly mocking.
"You are in a position to demand nothing. If you want to save your ship you will align to the co-ordinates I give you and be ready to warp on my command."
He looked at the comm screen and saw some co-ordinates flash up on the screen, they looked to be directed at a plantary orbit, possibly a moon.
"As you are aware four battleships are on their way now to destroy your command. Do what I say and you will be able to make it home in one piece. Captain. Align now, we are coming in about ten seconds, you had better be ready. Ballentyne out."
He wasted three seconds on his decision...
"Helm, steer course one four niner, ascension four four. Stand by for emergency warp. Weaponry mark your targets, keep scan open for......"
Six ships warped almost directly on top of the battleship, all of them caldari, all of them powerful led by the unmistakable shape of a Caldari Navy Raven and moved into attack formation. The frigates attacking scattered as their ships were barraged by missiles, ecm and close range blasters. Half of them were destroyed in the first few seconds, the rest tried, and failed to flee. Then the battleships arrived.
"Captain, warp... NOW!!"
The six ships aligned with the battleship and the small fleet entered warp just as the four started to lock them and open weapon ports.

He looked at the scans of the new ships and frowned. They were all caldari ships, but that meant nothing. But they had saved his ship and destroyed the enemy that were attacking him and he was now on his way to safety. From here it would be just a matter of realigning and warping to a safe gate and..... The Oshiro and it's fleet flashed out of warp and the crew gasped. Before them was the giant shimmering shield of a POS, the energy signiatures from the weaponry that dotted exterior were all active.
"We're being targetted, multiple batteries and the ships who rescued us."
"Incoming fire!"
"Systems are being jammed. Multiple ECM and sensor dampners covering us. At least seven different warp disruption fields....."

"Captain Hashiro. You have one minute to lower your shields and disarm your weapon systems or I will turn your ship into a gutted hulk. On behalf of the Guristas Associates I claim your vessel. However, I did not lie before. I will see your crew returned safely to Caldari Space. Your choice Captain. An ignominous death here now or you loose your ship and return to fight another day."
"This is Captain Hashiro," the voice over the comms sounded tired, "If you guarentee my crew return to Caldari Space then I will surrender. Damn your black heart. Give me your name so I know who to hunt down when I return."
"Angelina Ballentyne. Stand by to be boarded."

The shields on the Oshiro lowered and the raven extended a docking tube. Captain Hashiro waited on the other side as the pirates made their way to the entrance. With a flash from red to green the airlock cycled open and he looked for the first time upon Angelina Ballentyne. Dressed from top to toe in a tight bodyfitting flight suit and wearing a long duster with knee high boots, her hair was short, her eyes cold. A heavy pistol sat on her hip.
"Captain Hashiro, a prize crew of my hand picked men will fly this ship to our station there your men will be transfered to an industrial and we will deliver you back to Caldari space. Do you have a planet of preference?"
"You guarentee my mens safety?"
She smiled. "Absolutely. You have my word."

Standing on the bridge of the Oshiro she looked over at her bridge crew familiarising themselves with the controls. It didn't take long before the ship aligned and entered warp. She sat down in the command chair and watch though the window.
"Conner, when we dock take the officers to the brig and load the crew onto Carmilla's prowler. If they resist shoot them til they obey."

Two Days Later - Ishomilken

Angelina and Carmilla looked through the cramped bridge window onto the planet below. It was the night side, the glow of several cities could be seen. They were in a synchronous orbit over the island a hundred miles directly below them. Already they had seen scores of shuttles ferrying TGA members to the beach party that had been planned. Angelina looked over at her sister and keyed the comm unit.
"Eliza, this is Angelina. Is the Captain there?"
"He's here, and angry. The other officers are under guard."
"Good, good. Put him on..... Captain Hashiro, how are you?"
"You lying two faced good for nothing bitch! You lied to me!"
She laughed, evilly."More fool you! I'm a Guristas, a pirate to the core and after tonight you'll realise why you will never win. Look to the skies Captain. We're putting this display on just for you."

On the planet Eliza looked at the Captain and gestured to a seat which was prepared for him. When he didn't sit Justine pistol whipped him and pushed him into it and held her gun to his chest, sitting on his legs.
"Just watch the skies, Captain..... though I dare say you won't appreciate it too much."
Eliza looked up and started watching.

In the prowler Angelina and several crew pulled the first batch of five captive caldari sailors towards the rear cargo hatch and pushed them in. They screamed, begged, pleaded as the hatch closed and cycled. All of them looked at the other door except one, who glared at Angelina with hate in his eyes. She blew him a kiss as she blew the exterior hatch open and they were sucked out.

On the planet below Eliza looked up and saw the five shooting stars as they arced through the atmosphere, burning up. A few moments later another five.... then another.....

As the Captain howled in fury the display continued for quite some time.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

In the Name of the Father

Angelina stood at the window looking into the TBR hanger, holding a glass of fiery liquor by her side. She watched as a scarred and battered transport pulled into the bay, the garish Gistii camoflague patterns shimmering slightly under the shields pulse. With a grace almost unbecoming of a minmatar transport the vessel docked and powered down as cargo drones began to unload. Canisters of ammunition stamped with the Caldari Navy, crates of modules, sinister looking weaponry on racks, and technicians holding crates of blueprints. She watched as the crew left the ship and began an exterior inspection while the pilot, in an obvious hurry made her way to the elevators.

A waiter came over and Angelina turned to him as she placed a photograp in a frame on the table, an old photo of a pilot in the old style Guristas flight suit standing with his arms around three children, young girls. Two with dark hair, one blonde.
"Bring three bottles of Gistii wine and a three glasses. And make sure it's chilled and a good vintage."
The waiter nodded and vanished. She looked on as an Apocalypse docked on one of the upper bays. At last, she thought, we're all here. The doors to Section 8 opened as Carmilla D'morenta walked in, her boots clicking on the floor and her coat tails flapping. She hugged her close then looked at her smiling.
"Carmilla, I'm glad you came."
"Wouldn't miss it for the world. Is Vic coming?"
"She just docked."
"The three of us together again. How is she?"
"Just the same....."

The three sisters sat around the table looking out over the TBR docking bay. The bottles of wine were empty and the spirits were high. Angelina looked over her sisters, how things had changed from the old days. How things had changed from when they had escaped. This was an old ritual, but one that they kept going each year. One that hadn't changed in all those years that they had made their way out of captivity. She was aware that there were other people in the bar, that others would hear. But that was the price they all paid, that other would know and hear and maybe understand. She drained her glass and stood up.

"I tell now our story. The story of three Ballentynes bound together by blood and hate. Carmilla, once a slave of the Amarr only to be kidnapped by the Serpentis. Victoria, a slave of the Amarr and a Minmatar Patriot til her recapture. And myself, Angelina. Escaped slavery of the Amarr only to be bound by the Caldari. All three of us rescued one after the other by the hand of our father. All three of us bound by blood and hate against the Amarr."
The waiter came in and placed a large goblet on the table and filled it with wine before departing. Angelina pulled a knife from her belt and cut her hand, squeezing it so blood dripped into the goblet.
"Long did I toil on the Amarr agri-colony. In the fields, in the warehouses, where drugged and abused beyond endurance. Force to live like an animal while the Amarr lived off of our blood and sweat. I watched one day as an entire village was killed for allowing a slave to escape. Watched the smile on the faces of those who died as they were free from their bondage. Then did I know that I would escape and bring peace to my people. To Minmatar I was born, but Caldari I know is in my blood. Aboard a freighter bound for Caldari I stowed away, bribing a docker and a cargo hauler with my body and shame I made my way to Caldari space. It would be years before I would know what happened.

In Caldari space I found a slavery more abhorant than the Amarr whips. The code of the Megacorporation and the slavery without chains, work for a pittance and obey. All the neon of the inner worlds could not hide the decay, the poverty. Oh mans inhumanity to man. For years I toiled, no more free than in Amarr space, but free enough to plot and scheme. In a back alley lab I had my blood removed and my dependency on drugs taken, only to be blackmailed into a life of debauchery by executives. I swore that I would return and pay my debt to them in blood, and I did. Then one day, while I worked in an armaments factory a man came to me and told me of my father. That he had been killed helping my sister to escape from the Serpentis. He told me that conditions had been made in his will, and now they were to be honoured he said, but not revealed until the time was right. He gave me a ship, and a credit jack and took me beyond the Caldari State and left me in Gallentey space, where the people are free and ask few questions. He told me to wait and I would be contacted. And so I waited until Victoria contacted me. In the name of the Father, I offer this blessing."

She sat down and wrapped a kerchief over her wound while Victoria stood up and cut her hand, holding it over the wine.
"Woe upon woe did I feel as a favoured slave of the Amarr. Daily did I wish I was dead for the bestial adorations of those who called themselves Master. The lucky ones died on that planet and I was one of them for when my sister Angelina left us I knew not what to do for they took Carmilla from me to another planet. Alone, surrounded by slaves who just wanted to work and live I found myself unable to work and punished to the point where I did the unthinkable... for a slave. I struck back. And kept striking. Before the troops were brought in I had killed twenty of the Masters and fifteen slaves. Men, women, children. I cursed them all for weaklings and told them to fight against the false god worshippers. Many did not, only the Sebiestor, my sisters in heritage and blood fought with me and we died well. All were to be executed, and indeed we were standing on that day I will always remember on the podium when the ships came.

A ragtag pirate strike force, bold men and women of our blood and others bound to the Angels and Guristas who swept out of the sky like avenging hawks, chasing away the Amarr. They said they were taking us back to our homeland. I still remember as we were waiting on the landing platforms when the ship landed, a gargantuan ship, a mammoth. How it landed I'll never know for I remember thinking the pilot must be mad to try it. And when I saw the pilot I knew then that I would fly this ship as I saw in his eyes the eyes of myself and my sisters, as I looked upon our father. We were all taken back to our lands, back to Heimatar where many of us had never seen and saw our first night under a friendly sky. There I waited til one day I heard that he had died, rescuing my sister from the Serpentis. One of his men came to me, one who I remember had rescued me and he told me I had been taken care of, that all three of us had been placed under protection. He gave me a ship and money and a mission in life. And he told me where Angelina was, how she had been in Caldari space all these years and had only just been freed. In the name of the Father, I offer this blessing."

Victoria sat down and Carmilla took up the blade and drew it over her palm, letting the blood drip into the wine.
"Much have I suffered, when I was taken away from all I knew and my family. First when Angelina escaped, then when I was taken to a planet away from Victoria. Dare I say it work on the agricultural land was nothing but joy compared to the mines and refineries. Day turned to week, to month to year. I laboured away, starved and beaten, abused and denied death. Forced to watch those who tried to escape killed and maimed while always I was let live, no matter how bad I behaved. Then one day the ships came and I thought hope upon hope that the Minmatar had come to save us as some said they would. How wrong we were. The Serpentis came instead.

The Slave pits of the Serpentis are where I learned the true meaning of fear. Where a slave would be killed out of hand for spilling a drink, or thrown out of an airlock alive for failing to please. But I surived because I had hate. I watched as the women in our cell were reduced from proud women to subservient wrecks. No beatings cowed me, and only when they started to kill the other slaves did they force me to obey. If I broke a rule someone died, if I failed at a task someone died. But the Serpentis were nothing if not inventive. If I spilled a drink someone was drowned and bets were taken on how long it took. If I dared to stand up to them they were whipped to death or fed to their vile pets, often alive. The only thing that kept me alive is that I could dance. I always loved to dance, and the Dance of the Serpentis is a loathsome dance. Four poisonous snakes are placed in a square and the dancer must keep dancing to stop the snakes attacking. I lost count of the number of people I saw die like that, writhing in agony as the venom tore them apart.

Then one day a trader came to Serpentis Prime and watched me dance and made a deal with them. If I could dance and outdance four others he would buy me, they agreed. There was something in his eyes I recognised, that stirred my blood and I danced while my four closest friends here died. I do not remember much else, only being carried by this trader to his ship, a mammoth class ship that took me away from the lawless space. But sensing only a path to more slavery I fought the captain when he came into my cabin and struck him a mortal blow. Only then did I realise as he lay dying in my arms that the man who had rescued me was my father. He looked on with pride as he died, saying that he had bred strong daughters who would do mighty deeds. His crew looked on and though I had killed their captain and my father they did not take it hard, for they were pirates and such was their way. They risked a lot to put me in a safe port and gave me a ship and money and the location of my sisters Angelina and Victoria, who he had saved as he saved me. I turned around and fled and changed my name, in shame and horror at what I had done and only when Angelina tracked me down did I find happiness once again."
She squeezed her hand tight, the tears running down her face.
"In the name of the father I offer this blessing."
One by one they picked up the goblet and drank, one by one they pledged their devotion, their unity, their love and above all their lives to their new cause, as their father had done so many years ago.
"In the name of the Father," Carmilla cheered.
"I offer this blessing," Victoria shouted.
"A family in the service of the Guristas!" said Angelina.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Memories - part 1

The box was old, carved from wood and hand made. A simple lock opened to reveal it's contents. A lifetime of memories flooded out. Pictures, notes, maps, a small fragment of hemorphite on a chain, and letters. She picked one up, seemingly at random, but guided by a sense of need. A hand written letter....

My Dearest Angelina,

I am so glad to see you safely out of Caldari Space. I am hoping that this will get to you at the transfer station in Hek, it will save some travelling around. I know I told you not to go back, but I know now that I was wrong, I hope you can forgive me.

I have taken a position in a good corporation where I have been recieved very well. I can see I will be here for some time as there is much I can learn. For the most part I have put the hatred behind me as you managed to do, but I do so by throwing myself into mining and industry. My fear is that your way may lead to something darker and I hope I can be there to pull you back if you ever step over the edge.

The corp is called Pale Riders Incorporated and is in the Hotrardik system. It's a good system, the mining is excellent. Yeah, there are some fools around but the people here are good and know what they are doing.

I have spoken with the CEO and he has agreed to take you on, so as soon as you get your ship sorted out and repaired come on down. I will be waiting.

Your loving Sister,


With a sigh Angelina replaces the letter, a faded piece of paper worn with much folding and unfolding. Running a red nailed finger over the date stamp on the back.... over three years had passed since escaping Caldari space. So much had changed, old friends gone, new friends arrived. Pulling a dog eared picture out of the envelope she looked fondly on the group of pilots all wearing shipsuits with Pale Rider logos. Slatternia, Chewee, Victoria Ballentyne, Angelina Ballentyne and Raoul Sonsear. There were other faces there, but these five shone out the most. As the tears fell on the picture and were wipped away they seemed to shine even more. Turning it over was a faded inscription. "Friends Always".

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Gurista Log #327-Ish

Once again I stand on the command deck of my ship and await the sirens song of the void, the clarion call of the Guristas, the call to battle. As I look over the command readouts I see the systems powering up one by one, each weapon system showing a full load of ammunition, the missiles waiting in their bays to track down the enemy.

I take my seat and issue my orders to the crew. Docking clamps are removed, sirens sound both aboard ship and in the docking bay. With what may a final farewell I look and I see Carmilla standing in the great bay window of Section 8, other members of TGA there watching. I sit back in the command throne and plug my neural network into the ship. In an instant my body changes from flesh and blood and sinew to the energy field caressed steel plating of a battlecruiser. I am no longer Angelina.... she is now a central component of a far greater being, a delicate wafer of flesh surrounded by other wafers of flesh in a pocket of air surrounded by plasteel and layer after layer of enery shielding....

I am now the drake known as 'Woman Scorned'. A delicate chill settles over me as I leave the dock, a thousand impulses fill my crystal synapses as sensors send out tendrils, searching, exploring, reporting. As I come out from behind the fifth planet the sun warms my hull. A sub-synapse feeds reports on ship status, another on the traffic in the system, another on the decoded frequencies of messages from friend and foe alike. With an undulating cry I throw myself foward, the au's flickering by as I approach unheard of speeds.....

With a flash I appear, decelerating from the darkness of space into the asteroid field. Thrusters fire to avoid a veldspar roid the size of a carrier... and to position me towards my prey. There! Forty klicks away.... two ships fight.... a Guristas and a Caldari.. cruiser class.. Moa. Momentary hesitation is thrown away as I kick my engines forward... my warp disruptor powering up... missile launchers uncovered.... targetting.... jammed... a slight jarring as a full broadside of navy missiles screams across the silent wastes of space..... a part of me opens and five drone also linked to me flame across the sky and begin a dance around the prey.... shields gone... armour gone... hull spared....

"We are the Guristas.... 5 million for your ship..... there will be no negotiation....."

Time passes, second in infinate slowness before the reply comes..... isk deposited. I reel myself back to the ship and release him from his doom. Before he can fully understand I am off, heading back into space.

As I sit in a distant place, orbitting a lost asteroid... I remember the times before. Back when I would have been the one in the moa. Back before the Guristas.... back before my Fall From Grace......