Saturday, 29 May 2010

How the Mighty....

The sky was white, boardering to grey at the edges of the horizon. A desolate wasteland of stone and sand dissapeared off into the distance, hazy with heat from an unknown source. In the sky, no sun. No moon, no clouds, only the dull whiteness. Only the tree. It reached up into the sky with twisted branches devoid of leaves, dark, forbidding and seemingly so utterly dead. From the branches crows sat and watched, large with piercing black eyes, occasionally ruffling their feathers. A few daring even to leap into the air and fly around, soaring on thermals and flying over their domain.

Angelina stood and watched the tree and the crows. It was the only thing here in this place, wherever it was. Looking down she saw she was wearing a thin prison shift, heavy manacles around her wrists, a heavy steel band around her neck. It was wrong, so wrong. These were not hers, these were crude and heavy, grimy and old. Looking down again she saw a pile of papers that were not there before, blowing in the wind she could not feel, the pages fluttering away, lost on the wind. Reaching down she picked one up and read it.... it was of her, her past, her time in the Guristas. Grabbing another, it was more of the same, her past, her victories, her conquests... scrabbling for the others at her feet she managed to loose all of them, hot bitter tears streamed down her face, her past blowing away. All she had done... gone.... all she was... no more....

She looked at the crows and noticed each of them had a face, super-imposed on it's own face. Faces she recognised. Faces she knew to be old friends. Faces of people she trusted....

One by one they looked at her, cawed loudly and flew away until only two remained. She recognised them immediately... Esna.... and Ithiria.... They sat on the highest branches while she stood on the ground amongst the scattered remnants of her past, fading away into nothingness. All that was left, the dead tree, it's branches reaching skyward seeming to mock her, reaching up to height she might no longer be allowed where the two crows sat, looking at her. Waiting for her.

She screamed, a long drawn out scream of the lost and the damned, a scream that was itself weighed down with the sins of the past, the crimes of the present and the damnation of the future. One of the crows cawed loudly and flew into the air while the other seemed to laugh, a dark evil laugh that echoed around the desolate landscape until all she could hear was her scream and the laughter......

Angelina woke from the dream to find herself strapped to a table in a medical bay. All around her blank faced doctors reached down to her with blade tipped fingers and began to slice into her flesh. Her scream of pain was loud, and the silent mocking laughter of the masks made all the more terrifying by the heavy scent of coppery blood in teh air and on her lips....

....Angelina woke from the nightmare to find herself chained in a line of slaves. Filthy, malnourished, each with the zombie vacant stare of vitoc abuse. Whips lashed out from the darkness, striking her. Turning to look where they came from only hooded cowls could be seen, no faces, only darkness, only the flashing of the whips and the sound of the lash as she was struck again and again. Turning to the slave behind her looked into a face, the vacant stare of her own face, the slave behind was also her face, and beyond....

.....Angelina woke.....

Curled up in her bunk, she rocked back and forth, the fears of the night still fresh in her mind, the images had been getting more and more vivid. More real. As she realised this was reality... and the voices were no longer there, she stopped screaming. Tears streaming down her face she had the look of a hunted and beaten animal and pulled within herself. Soon he would come, and she had to be strong. He couldn't see her like this. He could never see her like this. No one could.

How the mighty had fallen.....

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

You know you are addicted to EVE when....

....Your internet connection dies when you get home from work, is still off in the morning and the withdrawl symptoms include seeing who is in your phone book who still plays EVE so they can change your skills, screaming at the computer and beeeer!!!

Back soon.. hopefully.....

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Memories of the Father

Carmilla D'Morenta sat at the table on the balcony of Kim's Estate overlooking a pristine forest nestled between the five mile wide canyon walls. Kim Leander's Estate, perched on the side of these walls was for all intents and purposes, quite well hidden. Only a few knew of it's location, and fewer still knew who lived there. Kim walked over in her austere grey uniform and placed the breakfast tray infront of them. Carmilla looked up from her datatablet and took the cup of coffee she offered.
"Mmm thanks Kim."
"Can't start the day without one myself.... Have you made your choice?"
Carmilla sighed and looked into her friends eyes, then looked away again.
"Would that it were so easy to make."
"It is... follow your heart...."
She looks whistfully out over the canyon. It was an easy thing to say, and indeed it was an easy thing to do. Choose. Carmilla had been.... greedy? Arrogant? Spoilt? Definately hurtful. William, Ithiria and Mizhara. All had proclaimed their love, and she had said it back... just not always when they could hear it. And now people were whispering in Williams ear, as they had whispered in hers weeks ago. Not worth it... can do better. Well they were right. A decision had to be made. Had been made. She knew it what it would be... so did everyone else, probably before she did.

There was just one name on her lips. In her heart. In her mind.....

"Kim... tell me about my father again."
The Doctor unbuttoned her tunic and fell into the seat opposite and started to talk, while the free woman opposite her, listened.
"I was already old when I met your father for the first time. This was... ooh.... thirty, thirty five years ago.... back then I looked somewhat different to what I do now...."

The asteroid base was fairly large, larger than was usual for covert Angel Cartel. That being said, on the day when I arrived at 'Gallente Fair' as it was known, it was to be brought into a world I knew existed, but had kept away from. It couldn't be called a hub, as it was in a dead end system in the arse end of space, but it had all the usual trouble makers there. Gurista warlords with their hackers and whores, Serpentis drug barons, Blood Raiders with their prayers and greedy eyes. The Thukkers were there as well, and the ubiquitos Angel Cartels in all their glory. I had seen a Mordus but just fleetingly, all black leather and chrome, strange and exotic. But then here, everything was strange and exotic to me. The smells in the air spoke of a hundred worlds, a thousand different things, just a few I could recognise from my position. Blood, sweat, fear. The rest would come later, but I wouldn't be in a position to enjoy anything.

We had been captured three weeks before, some enterprising pirate wannabe had simply captured a cruise ship which he had bribed the captain to take an alternative course, this jump instead of that one. It ended up in lowsec, the ship was taken and all two thousand passengers were delivered rather brutally into captivity. I say brutally as when we docked at Gallente Fair, only three hundred were alive. The rumour whispered around the small group I was chained to, they had been delivered over to the Blooders. Strange that no one saw them then, in any way shape or form. Hints and rumours, but no definate sightings. I am pretty sure that no one else noticed that those who hinted such things as Blooders were not actually people who were part of the cruise ship. When you are such as I you notice new faces. It worked though. The Pirate however died at Gallente Fair, killed by a striking young man who met him at the docking gate and recieved us.

He was furious. Three hundred from two thousand. He looked over the list of those who survived, almost all the women and children had perished. Not through Blood Raiders, as it turned out, they just didn't bring enough food or water for everyone. When he had had enough of the Pirates attitude he calmly pulled out his pistol and shot him in the head. The Pirates second, just took over, accepted the right amount of money for the three hundred and left it at that. We were all marched to a hangerbay, a cold dark and dingy place, but much to all our surprise, this young man brought us all food and water and medical attention.

I could see then the conflict within him. This was no slaver, no peddler of flesh. This was someone who cared. He went personally to every person who survived and unchained them. Oh there was no way to escape, there were guards on the balconies, but it felt better than being shackled in filth. When he got to me I grasped his hand and looked in his eyes.
"Thank you, my son, I will ever remember your charity, no matter how long I have left to live."
He looked at me and smiled, a smile I see in your face every day, because it was your father, his name was on his coveralls. Munroe Isaac Ballentyne. He held my hand and looked at me for some time, I can't say I saw his eyes soften as I looked seventy back then, but there was a sadness.
"Some things we do are a necessary evil. But at least you shall live out your days in some sort of peace. I hope you can cook...."
He walked away to a guard who looked at me and nodded and took me away, heavy handed and rough though several corridors and levels until we came to an area of the station I recognised as being almost totally Serpentis. He muttered a few words in their lingua franca and a heavily tattooed woman took me to a kitchen where dozens of other women were slaving over stoves and making food. I looked at her, she looked at me and then left. For better or worse, I was still alive.
Munroe came by later that night. I was exhausted, so much food had been cooked, so much had been cleaned, and cooked and cleaned, I could barely stand. But at least we were well cared for, as we had all the food we could eat. Taking me away back to his quarters he opened a side door which went into a spare room, not much larger than a cupboard, but with room to lie down on the bunk cut from the wall.
"You will stay here. One of the others will come and take you back to the kitchen in the morning, and then bring you back here when your shift ends."
He placed a bracelet around my wrist which had a Serpentis sigil enscribed, and the name underneath, property of Munroe Ballentyne.
"It's just a formilty..... it will keep you alive, and if you get into trouble, they know who to contact. Just don't get into trouble."
I looked at him, wondering what drove this man. Why had he plucked me out from the crowd and saved me, if I was being saved at all. He must have known what was going through my mind as he just held my hand.
"You don't deserve what would have happened to you. Plus, you remind me of someone I used to know, I couldnt' save her, but I can at least save you. It won't be the life of freedom you would have had, but it's the best you will get. The alternative.... "
He paled when he thought of it, he actually paled. I knew then what the fate of the others was, and knew then how conflicted he was inside. They actually were destined for the Blood Raiders and their rituals.

Back then, Munroe was a young man, barely twenty but he was a powerhouse. Built like an ox, and with a mouth on him that would cause a gutter whore to blush. That he was connected was apparaent, but to who I never found out for years. He could and would argue down armed men from a state of blood fury to something he could work with. There was not one particular faction he wouldn't work with, except the Blood Raiders. He let his friend sort those out, a queer young man by the name of Gallicia, yes I see you know that name. But back then, he was always in Munroe's shadow, a whisperer and a facilitator behind the scenes.

Naturally there were those who laughed when they found out that Munroe, rather than taking the most beautiful of the slaves he had, as was his right I found out, had taken me. It often didn't take more than a look, or in extreme cases a swift punch to quieten them down, and for those who bore me ill will, I cooked for them. I can't say I was proud of what I did, but after a fashion it was survival... and the poisons were delayed so no one knew it was me. Except for Munroe. Somehow.
"Kim, you can't keep poisoning those who treat you ill. I've told you before, tell me and I'll sort them out."
So I did, I stopped poisoning them and told your father instead, and he sorted it all out. I think your father was fonder of me than any of his slaves. And yes, he had slaves, at that time he had plenty, but he kept them elsewhere, with Gallicia as it turns out. And that would be his downfall. One day, after we'd been at Gallente Fair for about seven long years we were summoned back to Serpentis Prime.

Gallicia had planned well, using all the cunning and guile of a predator. Using Munroes slaves he had gleaned his secrets and used them against him. The uproar that day threatened to spill over into violence when Munroes supporters found out that Gallicia intended to charge him with treason, deception, and theft. He was dragged from his bed in the early hours, beaten and taken before a tribunal. Evidence was displayed, including me, statements read for hour after hour. All that time Gallicia looked on, while Munroe, in chains stood proud. Oh you should have seen him. Even with all he'd gone through, standing there naked as they hadn't allowed him to dress, he was defiant, proud, and wore his chains with more pride than any man has a right to. When the the last of the evidence had been read he still just stood there. But there wasn't a person on that jury, or in that court who hadn't watched this young man stand there and not be cowed. Even Gallicia looked uncertain.

He spoke then, as was his right, and gave the most eloquent speech I have ever heard anyone say, and when it had all sunk in, he simply laughed. He laughed!
"I have given the Serpentis loyalty for all my life. I learned all I knew from my father, as he did from his. And one day I will pass on what I know to my son. You throw this evidence at me? Yes, I have lied, cheated, stolen, murdered and worse. My soul is damned to the everlasting fires of creation. But, no matter what happenes today, if you believe my brother Gallicia in his wild claims, I will still be proud to be Serpentis!"
And then he started to sing. There are few songs that everyone knows, but the corporate song of the Serpentis every child sings as soon as they know how. And his voice was powerful, it rang out through the tribunal and one by one, then by two and eventually everyone was singing. The windows rattled and grown men cried, such was the passion of that day. He was set free, but the damage had been done. Gallicia was seen to have the edge, someone who would use his closest friend to get ahead. And they appreciated that and gave him the position Munroe had. But there was no.... animosity.

It was also after that day that he realised I was more than just his servent, for it's what I was in reality. I treated his wounds after his beating and told him to see a doctor to get them sorted. He scoffed and ignored and was taken into the medbay a few days later when the problem got severe and needed to be sorted out. I was dragged to the medbay to explain how I knew what was wrong with him and I told him, I was a Doctor. He'd never asked, in all the years we were together, and I had never put it forward. But it was out now. They tested me and such and found out I knew more than their Doctor did. That day I was taken out of the kitchens, for which some people never forgave him, and into the Medbay. I was in heaven. Finally I had the ability to work again on what I loved. It was however, to be the end for me and Munroe. After a fashion, he gave me my freedom, liquidiated his holdings and gave me all the isk I needed for my research into nano-technology and my side project of an immortality serum.

It was then I realised. Finally, he had taken enough notice of me as a person to find out who I was. And I think it shocked him. You see, you father, even to the day he died had two sides to him. Some say he was indecisive, others that he was weak, but no man I've known since ever showed as much compassion as he did with one hand, despite condemning with the other. But he valued life, and I didn't, only mine... and his.

You see, what no one knew back then was why I was on that cruise ship. Everyone assumed I was simply on a cruise. In reality I was being taken back to court by a bounty hunter in what he assumed was the most out of the way fashion he knew. Was just his bad luck that the ship was taken. But I digress...

Munroe realised that I was a much larger monster than he could ever be. There are few people in the universe who have the distinction of being accused of Genocide. Even fewer who have been accused of genocide on my scale. Of course these days no one remembers the wholesale deaths of an entire star system, it's been hushed up and after a while repopulated. But one thing I will remember to the day I die, if I ever let myself die, is the picture he showed me from the archives he found, from before I escaped from prison. Me, sitting in my cell, quite mad apparently, holding the severed head of my cellmate in my lap and laughing.

Over the years I perfected both the Nanites, which I gave to the Serpentis, and my immortality serum... well sort of. As you can see... I no longer look seventy, infact I could get away with being descriped as mid thirties. But the soul and my mind... have taken a terrible toll. In the years between then and when I left and returned to Empire I looked after your father as best I could. I was there when your brother was born, and I was taken to your plantation when you were due to be born. I never understood why your father was there, but he had an understanding with the Holder. I brought you, Angelina and Victoria into the world, and your Father and Mother loved you all. That your mother was a slave and your father a slaver, never made any difference to me, because I saw the love between them. And I was saddened when I heard of your mothers death and have cursed Gallica ever since.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again Carmilla. You are your fathers daughter. You have his passion, his conflicted nature and you are his successor, even though you are not the eldest. And I know that you killed him when you escaped Gallicia, but I know for a fact, he was proud of you ever day of his life, just as he was for Victor, Angelina and Victoria. And I am glad you worked things out with Victor. Gallicia twisted his mind, but I think between us, and Ithiria, we have untwisted it.

Carmilla sat back in her chair, her face streaked with tears and Kim walked around and held her, comforting her. Aaah Carmilla, she thought, some things I cannot tell you, I will not tell you. Better you believe your mother was a slave who loved your father so. In truth she did, and there was much she did for him. Munroe was a good man, a good father..... and a good husband to me. Carmilla, my daughter, you will never know who I really am, nor will your sisters, nor your brother. For I promised your father, and I keep my promises. But that doesn't stop me loving you.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010



It is true to say in space no one can hear you scream. But when you are locked in your own mind, when your mind rebels because something so horrific has happened that you just block it out.... then no one can hear you scream because you are screaming inside your own mind....


Here in my own mind I am finding a clarity that is disturbing. I know there are people above me... I can hear them... I can feel them.... I just cannot respond to them...


I know who will be there.... Kim, old Kim.... no one knows the truth about her, and probably for a good reason. Monster... if only they knew the truth as I did.... She swore me to secrecy when I found out, and that memory is in here with me now, sitting in a corner holding a severed head, laughing....


Ithiria will be there.... even though I have hurt her so, her love for me is eternal..... there is nothing she wouldn't do for me which makes my crimes against her so much more terrible.... I am free.... again.... but here I am prisoner and no one can save me.... Forgive me..... forgive.... She is here in my mind, a silver beacon in the distance, singing a song I cannot hear.... I wish I could.... maybe then I'd understand.....


William.... my dear sweet prince.... so confused about what I did.... so hard about what had to be done.... I hurt him the most.... it is true to say I hurt the ones I love... always have done.... I am not a bad person.... but then I have to ask... am I? To hurt him so much.... when I was helping him so much....

(....Thump Thump)

Mizhara.... ever my teacher.... is it wrong to want to experience what she has to offer.... so many times I have thought what would have happened if she had stopped me.... where would I be now? Certainly not screaming Angelina's name in my skull while Kim cradles a head laughing.... we are so close as to be sisters.... Mizhara.... and I destroyed her.... watching her pull that trigger is the single most painful thought in here... and I see it ever day... I will see it every day for the rest of my life....

(Thump Thump Thump.... Thump....)

Mizhara.... Mizhara.... Mizhara.... some times I think I can hear her voice, even over my screams.... she is always in my mind.... over there, standing behind Kim, her hand holding two occular implants like worry balls.... her eye sockets bleeding as she look on with her cold stare.... sometimes she even has the gaping wound from the gun.... other times she is here dressed all in white.... singing to me with no voice.....

(Thump Thump... Thump Thump Thump.... Thu.... Thu....)

Everything is going white now....

(Thu... Thu..........)



Doctor Leannder leapt astride Carmilla, two paddles in her hand. A nurse ripped her hospital gown off and Kim shocked her, feeling the backlash against herself. The heart monitor showing a green line.....
She shocked her again, her legs going numb. The heart monitor the same.... She jabbed a syringe from a nurse into the tube leading into her arm and pressed down the plunger... counted to ten.
"Full power....."
"But Doctor...."
"Do it!"
She shocked her again, a scream on her lips as she felt it more powerful.... the heart monitor beeped, the green line showing the heart beating.

(....ump.... thump)

What was that.....


For a moment.... there was nothing.... and the hideous darkness behind the light...


Death..... so close but you will not get me....


They will stop you.... Ithiria... Mizhara... William..... they will fight for my life....






Doctor Leannder turned to Mizhara, William and the holograph of Ithiria.
"She is okay, but she will be here for a few days more. She was lucky this time... "

Sunday, 16 May 2010

...And a Hard Place

The blood washed off easily enough. Hot water and soap worked wonders. It would be more difficult to get the blood out of her clothes, but fire cleans everything else.

What she had just done.... needed to be done. The strength that had been shown her, the resolve, the defiance. All that had been washed away in a brief flurry of words. She now felt... alone. Soon her Master would return and find what she had done. She would be punished if he worked out what she had done. Or if she talked.

Carmilla, my sister, I told our mother I would always look after you. I told her no matter what I would not see you come to harm. How I cursed the universe when I was one day too late to save you from Gallicia and you spent the next six years in hell. How I cursed when I found the true cost to saving you from Kaelali after your abortive raid on her holdings. But all that I would do again.

I cursed and screamed to your face when you told me you were becoming a slave on your own free will, selling yourself. Making all I had done to keep you away from the Amarr worthless. I cursed and screamed to your face and you screamed back and your words stirred my soul as I saw you happy, for the first time in a long long time. I saw you proud... I saw you belonged. And that made my predicament all the more bearable... because if you could do it... I could do it.

But I was wrong, the cost was high, the humiliation unbearable.... until Ithiria. She showed me the way, as she showed you. Better than Esna could ever do. And I placed Ithiria on a pedestal, my reason to carry on in bondage.

And you turned your back on her.

Hurt her....

And those around her.....

I did what I did for you my Sister. Because I love you. And it needed to be done.

Perhaps.... you will forgive me one day....

Perhaps... one day... I will forgive myself....

I love you Carmilla....

Between a rock....

Terminal acces code Carmilla D'Morenta ********, log dictation.... begin.

What have I done.....

I stood up infront of Ithiria, before her and Kaelali, Dossie and Korinne and.....

I told her the truth... that I did not want to be her submissive....

....told her what I thought of slavery....

... of holders....

... of her...

So much has brought me to this point. William for doubting my love and demanding I make a choice. Mizhara for showing me the way and explaining it like you would to a child that freedom was to be prefered to slavery. Kaelali for making me realise it was my choice.. my happiness.....

I saw the hurt on her face as I told her what I said... told her I saw things clear now.... saw the blood on her hand from the brooch she had clutched... felt her hand as she slapped my face. If her subs hadn't been in the way, threatened my life if I touched her... who knows where my anger could have taken me.

On the way out the door, with Kaelali pleading, Ithiria reminded me she had given me everything I had wanted. I told her Mizhara gave me more. Oh how that must have hurt.

What have I done.... perhaps freedom has too high a cost. But once you have tasted freedom, you cannot bare to live otherwise.....

Log pause.....

Carmilla stopped recording and turned to the door. Someone knocked again. She took out her pistol and went to the door, opening it. She smiled.
"I hadn't expected to see you here.... come in...."
She closed the door after her guest had entered and turned to face them, a smile on her face. She didn't expect the punch when it landed. Nor those that came afterwards. Eventually, her guest left.

Emerald Broach

Carmilla sat at her workstation, examining her necklace with an jewellers eyepiece. It was a most beautiful necklace, white gold with a large emerald. Her initials on the back. Like Ithiria's other..... submissives.

She was still unsure what had happened, how she had walked in free and walked out submissive. Vague memories of being surrounded by.... Guristas... and Her. Yet they were all her submissives. A bleep on her terminal indicated everything was ready, and she nodded, taking a pair of needle pincers and very gently removing the emerald from it's setting.

To be surrounded by so many... Korinne, Dossie, Laiki... and Kaelali. It made it so easy to take the necklace. To once again become submissive. How many people would be hurt this time? William, almost certainly. Mizhara, most likely has already heard through her networks. Damn... damn... DAMN!

Carmilla walked over to the small foundary in the factory and over to the smelter. It was waiting for her. Looking at the necklace, the white gold band with her initials on the back, she smiled in sadness at what she had to do. And placed it in the crucible. Watched while the exquisite piece slowly melted.

She left the remaining tasks with the gold to one of her technicians and returned to Emerald. It was a good sized one, pretty much perfect. Selecting a portable magnifiying lense and a micro cutting tool she got to work on the emerald.

It was several hours later when she'd finished both pieces. The Emerald had been recut into Disciples sigil, and the gold had been worked into an ornate broach with intricate designs of leafwork. And on each leaf, carved to with exquisite care, the name Ithiria. It was a much happier Carmilla who wore the broach on the left hand side of her jacket when she went to see Ithiria about the days business.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Back to Basics part 1

Angelina sat in the darkness at the back of the hanger, watching all those who walked in and through. A plethora of ships had landed, disgorged cargo or passengers, refueled and departed, but not the one she wanted. One of her crew departed and came back with several large boxes filled with food and they ate and drank in silence. Eventually a pristine Iteron mark V bearing the markings of the Quaffe company maneauvered its way in and stopped not far from where they sat. The heavy whine of repulsorlifts started as the docking clamps raised and the Iteron lowered onto them. With a furious hiss of outgassing the cargo ramps lowered along the length of the tugger.

Ang watched as Victor Ballentyne, clad in a well cut white suit walked out of the ship and over to her corner. He stood well back and made sure that his hands were nowhere near his weapons.
"Victor. Did you bring it?"
Victor smiled and removed his glasses, polishing the rose tinted glass on his tie.
"Give my boys a few minutes to unload it and I'll show you what we got. You do know it's pod driven, the whole thing. You okay with that?"
"It'll be back to basics.... but yes.... it's time I got back into the fight."

Victor and Angelina, followed by select members of each crew walked to the next docking slot where the cargo had already been unloaded. A battered, but visually stunning Arazu in Serpentis colours supported by repulsorlifts hung in the air.
"It's beautiful....."
"I know.. and pimped just the way you wanted. We have Gurista scram and 'rupt, the weapon systems have been modified, faction ammo as requested. The drones are those you chose, brand new, built and programmed by Carmilla. She sends her love by the way."
"Very nice. I can see it's rigged as well, and there is a lot of chrome there too."
"The last pilot was a fancy fucker. But he loved that ship."
Angelina took an observation platform with Victor and looked over the exterior of the ship. It was obvious, despite the battered appeareance, the ship was solid.
"When you going to take her out?"
"As soon as I get back in the pod....."
"Be careful though, the backup Ai is still in place.. you may have to hack it...."

The technicians in the pod facility stripped and washed Angelina, carefully unplugging and cleaning her pod-interface ports. Standing naked, arms and legs spread she felts the disinfectant spray cover her while the techs went about their work. Occasionally she'd feel the ports accept the test jacks and the familiar dissociation with parts of her consciousness. One of the techs flashed a signal to her brain and she nodded imperceptibly and felt the curved section of the floor move up slightly. The test jacks were removed and from the hidden darkness of the ceiling a cluster of jacks descended and began to interface with her. Arms, legs, several large ones for the back. Tubes placed themselves strategically for sustaining the body. Parts of her mind faded and blacked as the smaller neural jacks interfaced with her cranial ports. As the last one interfaced there was just darkness. Around her large quarters of pod came together, merging and sealing with a hiss of air. Automatic systems connected tubes with the pod and began filling up with liquid.

Cocooned inside the pod, Angelina awoke to the alien sensation of being a pod. It always unnerved her, and sent commands quickly to install the pod into her new ship. Now, time had no foundation, there was no up or down, there was only the pod. She waited aeons for the pod to interface with the Arazu.

When the pod interfaced with the Arazu Angelina's senses came alive. A full sensor sphere with the Arazu dead centre appeared in Angealina/Arazu's sensorium. Sensor tendrils reached out caressing everything in the vicinity, wherever A/A looked distances were calculated, threats assessed, a list of targets and objects, each highlighted with it's own icon and code appeared hanging in the air. Windows opened, each one with it's own handshake signal, weapons systems, diagnostics, drone bay, navigational systems, repair systems, command and control. While the handshake initiated each window was red, then as they were accepted and control handed over to the pod they changed to green.

AI Interface - Good Afternoon Commander Raskhoth.....
Sysop-IDent Display
Command IDent - Arazu - Serpentis - Horn of Rashkoth....
Command IDent - Override Alpha One - IDent change....
Command IDent - Arazu - Disciples of Night - Guristas Abolisher
Command Confirm - Execute

Diagnostic Control - timestamp activated - node45 to node89 access denied
Command Diag Reboot
- Serpentis Protocol Override Alpha One intrustion detected
- Protocol denied.... denied... denied...

Uplift - Command Code - Guris1.394994
-Serpentis Protocol Override Gamma One intrusion detected
Command - Protocol Guris1.394994 - Insert
-Protocol accepted - download parameters set

Uplift - Navigation Code - Guris4.8829A
-Serpentis Protocol Overide Theta Four - Countermeasure
-Protocol Evasive.... Pod Ejection Initiat.....

Pod Eject Override - Theta Four - Guris4.8829B
Command IDent - Overwrite Serpentis Protocol Bank
Command IDent - System Bios Flash PRIORITY

AI Interface - Please Insert Name....

Deep within the Arazu, softly coocooned within her Pod Angelina smiled.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


I faced down Mizhara. I shot her. But I didn't kill her. That would take me too far down that road.. and that road leads to a bad place. Especially for me. We talked, if you can call it talking when I'm screaming and waving a gun, and she is sitting there bleeding.

I pulled a gun on Angelina as well, not sure why I did that. Then again, it didn't go as we had planned. And I just realised I left her in there with Angelina. At least Ang doesn't have much anger anymore.... she seems to be more passive than I am, and my rage and fury has grown.

Regardless... I am now free. My Mistress has given me up, so I am free. Alone... and I'm not sure what to do.

Angelina will be with me.. and I suppose what I'll do is fight. The Corporation and Alliance are facing a grave threat, so I will go and join it. Make a name for myself.... probably die, but that's part of life out here.

With Mizhara and Ithiria bothing proclaiming their love for me... I find it is better not to love either one. I have seen what hate has done... what I did to Miz.. and what Miz did to Ithiria. I am not a hateful person.

I have looked inside myself. I know who I am. Carmilla D'Morenta of the Sebiestor Tribe. and I wear my tattoo's with pride. My skin is marked with the six snakes of the Serpentis and the Dragon of the Disciples.

I am now what I shall be forever....

Warrior. Patriot.....


Sunday, 9 May 2010

The End?

There will always be a part of me that will ask... could I have done more? Could I have saved her? I tried.... but in order to actually save her, I would have lost Ithiria. It is difficult to look at someone you have come to respect and watch them end their own life.

Yes, I have to say I did respect her. Even when she was blinded and broken, her will to fight on never diminished. I thought what I was doing was the right thing, taking her back to the Horned Masquerade, to be with her sisters.

How do you live with yourself when you destroy someone so utterly? That is something I will be asking myself every day until I find the answer.

Mizhara, I'm sorry. This was all my fault. Perhaps you were right when you said I was a slaver. I did to you what Gallicia did to me. And no matter what anyone says... I will never forgive myself for it.

Maybe one day.....


Carmilla didn't sleep that night. Her mind was in torment, her body was exhausted, her thoughts were scattered. Usually when she was like this she would find something to take her mind off it, robbing an estate, sleeping with her partner, or as of late, worshipping her Mistress.

But all that had changed. There were too many choices. William's have been simple. You are with me, or you are with her. And that, god damn his eyes, had caused so much trouble. Why couldn't he understand she wanted both. Both him and Ithiria. She had made it very easy, given her all the choices she wanted. Even though to take some of them meant breaking her vow. That had hurt, hurt her to the core, she mused, breaking her vow. What was her word worth now that she had done that?

The last choice was easy. Mizhara's choice. Accept your sins, accept your treason, pay the price. It is amazing how denial can cloud a mind. Four days ago she was happy, on her knees, collared, and giving her heart, soul and mind to her Mistress, becoming a slave whole heartedly. It was everything she wanted. She was so sure of it. Mizhara proved that wrong, showed her the way.

As she thought back onto those fateful days she looked over at Mizhara. Even though she had been kidnapped, subjected to torture, horror and.... helped... she couldn't look on Miz with any degree of hatred. She had swore blind fury on Ithiria, swore to burn the cluster like she burned her facility. And yet when the pain had grown so much that it was crippling, she had done what she'd always done. Fucked up. Offering Ithiria what she'd thought she wanted had backfired. She had done this to Miz, no one else. Her, Carmilla. How could she tell her now, that in the elevator she had hesistated. Had waited for Miz to come and open the door and pull her our.... had walked slowly across the docking bay because..... useless now. Just as Miz was useless, her prosthetics burned out. Hopefully, Kim could fix it.

She lay huddled in the chair thinking back over the past few days. Her heart had turned to stone when she realised that William had planned this. She had known, but the confirmation from Miz was like running into a wall. As she sat in the chair, bound tightly she had fought as best she could, but the attacks had come from all sides. And eventually she had broken, when she found that Miz was just like her, had the same upbringing, the same horrors and hardships. If not worse. It is difficult to vilify someone who you can identify with. She did wonder for a while if this was part of her plan to break her, but gradually realised it was true. That this was the real Miz coming clean in a place where no one could hear, no one else would ever hear. And that opened the floodgates. Angelina. Victoria. Jonas..... dear sweet Jonas. Her father, Gallicia, the Blooders, the Serpentis. All came out, in an uncontrollable tears stained admission that her life had be brutally hard and even after surviving the worst of humanity... she had failed to realise the most basic tenant of life. Freedom. That which she'd fought so hard for.. and lost.

From where she was, she could hear Miz's breathing. And though she couldn't see it, she pictured quite easily her cold smile. How strange it is, she thought, that this woman who had kidnapped her, had shown more mercy to her than anyone else, save Ithiria. Once the floods had gone, there was only the bare realisation of the facts. A realisation she was powerless to fight against as everything she had said backed up her argument. Carmilla D'Morenta is not a slave... she's a submissive. And it was true. The powers she had, the abilities, the wealth, the position... none of this was a slaves. Never had she seen a slave with such as she had. That was the lynchpin of her entire defence, her Mistress loved her. True, miz had said, I'm not taking that away from you. Never will. I want you to see that you are not a slave. I want you to understand you are not a slave. And I want you to repent.

Aaah, she thought.. her sins. When she had first talked to her she had laughed. She had no sins, she was pure in the service of her Mistress. A few days later she was being whipped, begging for their forgiveness for her sins. She had repented, was still repenting. Her feet still burned when she walked, and she had forced the pain herself when she saw everything falling away from her. Ithiria....

She realised she had said it aloud when Mizhara turned on the bed and looked at her, her blind gaze looking straight through her.
"That's it child, dream of your Mistress. Remember what she looks like before I get my hands on her."
"Miz... shut up."
"So what does it feel like to go from a slavers whore to a slaver? Is it everything you wished for?"
"Miz.... shut up.... just shut up..."
"No. Why don't you shut me up Child. But you cant' can you? For all your strengths, you lack the ability to do what needs to be done. But at least you realised that I need to be locked away from people. Here I cannot burn everything, burn the cluster, burn Ithiria. Could you feel them, child? The flames, searing away all that kept me from destroying even those I am... fond of? Did it burn?"
"I'm not a slaver Miz, shut up... just shut up...."
"You are child, such a dissapointment. You did this. Remember that when you wake up every morning. You. Did. This."
Miz looked at Carmilla, huddled in the chair, more alone now than ever before. She smiled her cold smile as her mind worked overtime.

The next morning Doctor Kim Leander walked into her office and noticed immediately something was wrong. There were lights on, the heads were restless and from the board behind her desk someome was in one of the isolation cells. Picking up a strong sedative and slipping it into a hypno she walked into the back room. She was somewhat surprised to see Carmilla huddled in the chair and a blond sebiestor woman, with ocular implants and what looked like a dead arm sitting crosslegged on the bed looking at Carmilla. she opened the door and walked over to Carmilla, waking her.
"Carm... it's Kim... time to wake up."
"She had a sleepless night, poor child. Dreams of being a slaver... so sad. Your voice is familiar... have we met?"
"No, I don't think so. What are you in here for?"
"She is trying to save me."
"Can she?"
"Does she know that?"
"Yes. But she is not giving up on me."
"Why not?"
"Maybe... because I didn't give up on her..... in her eyes."
Kim nodded and picked up Carm and carried her back into her office and laid her down on the table, then turned around and saw Miz standing in the doorway.
"Well... if you survived the night with Carm you can survive some time with me."
Mizhara smiled with her cold smile and laughed.
"Yes but can you survive me?"
"Absolutely. Take a seat, I'll get to you in a moment."
Miz remained standing as the doctor went to work on Carmilla.
"She's been cloned recently. All her tattoo's are gone. About time they were. Damn serpentis trash. Was that your doing?"
Miz nodded coldly. "She needed it."
"Goddam, I wish people would stop doing that to her....."
The doctor dragged a large bulky piece of equipment over to her. Miz watched while beams of light played over her body as she was scanned. She slipped behind her terminal and started taping away.
"There is food and drink over there if you want it. Damn, we've got more neural degredation than before. Come here, I need you to hold her down."
Miz laughed. "I'm not in a position to hold anyone down."
"Then just lie across her legs, I'm running out of time here."
She pulled open several cupboards and units and filled two syringes with strange liquids then cursed seeing Miz hadn't moved. She dragged her over and pushed her onto Carms legs.
"I only hope we're not too late."
She jumped on Carmilla's back and holding her head injected a syringe directly into the back of her head and pressed the plunger. Carmilla jumped, but not much. The weight of Kim and Miz holding her body down. Kim grabbed the second syringe and did the same again, this time getting knocked off her back as she rolled around on the table, her body jerking and shaking. Eventually it calmed down and Kim ran another scan, sighed then grabbed a hypo.
"You're Doctor Kim Leander."
"Yes I am, and this is my lab. Get up on the table, I'll see what I can do for your eyes and plastic."
Miz backed away.
"No. Not a chance. I know of you. No way you are getting in my head."
"You prefer the darkness?"
"Darkness?" she barked, "My head is filled with fire. I can see more clearly than ever."
Kim shrugged.
"Suit yourself."

Carmilla awoke on the observation table and looked up at Kim's smiling face.
"Welcome back."
"What happened? You almost turned yourself into a vegetable again. Why didn't you come see me as soon as you knew you'd been cloned? Your gentic inheritance is making itself more noticable. I was lucky this time."
"Would have served me right if I had keeled over and died. Where is Miz?"
"Over here child, didn't you see the flames?"
"You let her out?"
"How was I to know she was a threat? For all I know you two had a lovers quarrel and were sleeping it off."
They both laughed at the same time. Kim lowered her head and whispered in Carm's ear.
"Your friend won't let me look at her. She's a shrewd judge of character and knows me so I can't do anything for her. Also Ithiria pinged security and got a confirmation you were here. Then a few minutes ago we were pinged again, by someone called Misan."
Carmilla sighed.
"Do me a favour Kim. Update my soft clone. I may need it."
She looked over at Miz, who was leaning against a wall.
"I can't leave her like this Kim. I have to do something for her."
"Yeah will do you know what you are doing?"
"Do you know the consequences?"
"Same olf Carm."
"No. I've changed a lot... my eys have been opened. And what do I get for it all? I do this to her. I have to save her. I can't live with this guilt."

Thirty minutes later, with Miz secured in her stateroom Carmilla launched the prowler and headed for Thukker space. It wasn't the wisest thing to do, and Ithiria, Esna and Sera would have tried to stop her if they could. But She had to do this. Regardless of the consequences. She had to fix what she'd broken. She was tormented now by her own demons, row after row of them laughing at her. And each one had a cold smile and the dead eyes of Miz.

Decloaking on the approach to the Horned Masquerade she broadcasted a signal. Those ships that had already targetted her paused, then de-targetted. A corridor was setup and the landing bays opened. Carmilla left the bridge as they docked and walked with Miz in her arm to the floor of the docking bay. Across the bay, flanked by armed troops she saw Gherena and Kaelali. Miz squeezed her side with her good arm.
"You will regret this, child."
"I know."
"It may not go well for you."
"I know."
"Brave... but foolish."
"Miz... shut up."
Miz just smiled. It was a cold smile.

Dance with the Devil

Victor Ballentyne, the new CEO of Symphony O.M.N. Research Laboratories walked down the leafy promenade of the seaside starport. He'd already forgotten the name of the planet, and the city, and chances are he'd never come back here. Standing there in his white suit and light blue shirt he was quite noticable, but he enjoyed being able to dress as he liked, now he was the boss. Looking out over the golden sand and crystal blue waters he wondered what life was like when all life was planetbound. Unable to escape into the fathomless depths of space. Far in the distance the sails of a large ship could be seen.
"CEO Ballentyne?"
He turned around and saw a small man standing behind him
"You presence is requested at the taverna. If you could hand over your weapons, please."
Nodding he withdrew both of his pistols and the fat bladed dagger and walked to the Taverna. His own bodyguards had noticed the swarm of bodyguard twenty minutes earlier, and he knew which table to go to. Already there three people were sitting down, drinks infront of them. Two men and a woman, he knew all three, all of them wearing well tailored suits. The flashy side of the darkness, he mused. Sitting he ordered a drink from a waiter and smiled.
"So, here we are."
"Yes," the woman said, " and we are most displeased."
"Oh, about what?"
He knew about what, but decided to play his cards close to his chest.
"Gallicia Tavrook. "
"Ignore him, old news."
"He was a liability..."
"No," Victor slammed the flat of his palm against the table,"He was a visionary, but he got distracted, and now he has paid."
The middle man smiled, his face a slab of granite.
"And you, Viktor. What of you? I hear great things, but I also hear you too are getting distrakted?"
Victor took a swig of the wine before him and smiled inwardly.
"No. The first shipment has already been dispatched and the second is on it's way. The warehouse and office raids were not done by the authorities, they were done because of Gallicia's inability to prepare properly. The incident has been contained."
"And what of Gallicia?"
"Captured.. but the man who raided the warehouse and offices."
He passed a datatablet over to them.
"See for yourself, all the delivery dates are set, the ships, the routes, timing. All sorted."
Granite passed it over to the third man, who flipped a few pages and grunted.
"What about this woman you are with now?"
"I look upon her... as an entrance to the Amarr market. Her holdings are vast and we can use some of them for storage. I already have access to them as I am her estate manager now."
He clenched his hands under the table.
"Good Viktor. Keep us informed of the market in the Amarr area, we will despatch a freighter load of product. As usual, as long as we get out percentage, you keep whatever is left. Don't let us down.... CEO Ballentyne."
The three of them got up and left, leaving Victor with a bitter taste in his mouth. As ever, dealing with the Serpentis was a dance with the devil. But he'd been with them since his birth, and would probably die in their service, but before that he had a fortune to make. It wasn't so bad being Consort, at least he wasn't a slave. And he also knew he would be in a position of authority over Angelina and Carmilla. There was he mused, a sense of irony in the universe.

Reflections in a Proton Star

This is Rocking Ricky, bringing you all the tunes that are fit to play in a stellarcast straight from the Great Wildlands. Broadcasting to you around the region, around the clock because the music never ends out here, we go on and on. Just last weekend I followed a crew into a wormhole, just to see what all the fuss was about and I can tell you there are some beautiful systems at the end of those tunnels. I'll tell you more after this song from Khanid Kaos, this is Laser Dawn over Minmatar....

1st Reflection....

Angelina Ballentyne shifted her weight as she pushed the last component into place and closed the panel. A few keypresses and the lights all flicked from red to green. Another successful installation. Wiping her hands on a rag she let the technician slide the armour plate into place and begin sealing the hull. She rotated her arm, it still felt stiff from the wound that Gallicia had inflicted, even though the cellular regenerators had performed marvels. It had been close though, she might have lost the arm. Gallicia was now gone, William had seen to that. From what she had heard through the scattered talk from Esna and Ithiria there had been an incident, one that had struck Ithiria hard. But that was for them to sort out. Carmilla was the only thing on her mind. William had rescued her, true, but one of her first calls after being rescued was to Ithiria. And later when they were all together they all warned her, begged her, pleaded with her not to go.... because William was planning something. Aaah well, when she gets back I'll warn her myself. After all, she is my little sister and it's my job to look after her.

So there I was in this wormhole and flying around looking at the sites. The crew I was with had already been here and destroyed anything that was a potential threat. Wow is all I will say, Wow! The structures that are here are unlike anything I had seen anywhere in Empire or the outer rings. Even the ship wrecks were strange. What can you do when everything you find in a wormhole is so alien? Well let me ask you this.... what must we look like to them? Here is another cold dash of realism from Stellar Ice with their new hit Airlock Blues.....

2nd Reflection

Carmilla D'Morenta stood in her cabin on her Prowler and looked at the small capsules in her hand and the little vial. She had paid over the odds for them, as she wanted as innocuous looking as possible and that meant fooling the bio-scanners. It pained her to do this, but something was happening she was powerless to stop. Esna and her Mistress had warned her that something was coming. Even Sera had been there and pleaded. At the time, so soon after her rescue from Gallicia she rebelled. There was no way William would hurt her, they were all jealous of his love for her, and hers for him. It had sounded good at the time, even though it distressed her to see the look on Ithiria's face when she left. Just one more denial, added to the pile. That changed when she saw the message on her ship board terminal, from her crew down in Eystur. Mizhara Del'thul was working with William. They warned her with utmost caution that the job was blown, no good could come from it. But it was William, she said. It was Mizhara, they said. A rescan in the clonebay and a poison purchase. No matter what happens I won't let them take me she thought as she injected the poison just outside their house. I still have to tell him that I gave my soul to Ithiria, but he has my heart. Surely that will be enough... as long as he doesnt' make me choose again. She hefted her bag and opened the door.

So all talk is on the new push by IT alliance and their allies in the west. All eyes are on them, bets have been placed and people are flocking to see the fights. The list of their opponents is long and distinguished, and there are sure to be some major engagements. I remember years ago when I watched the TCF run from BoB... and it looks like it's happened again. But what can you expect when you are outclassed, outgunned..... As long as they don't come back this way, who cares where they go. Here is Running from the Enemy by Full Bore Automatic, turn it up loud on the Great Wildlands Stellarcast....

3rd Reflection

Victor Ballentyne sat in the CEO's chair at the Symphony O.M.N. Research Laboratories main office. Gallicia had vanished, reputed to have been captured by Carmilla's man, William. Good for him. For too long he'd seen Gallica's infatuation with Carmilla, the one that got away. It was bad enough all those years when he'd been forced to watch the degredation of his half sister, seen what he did to her. But he'd been surprised as well. She'd survived three times at the serpent dance, she'd survived the a tattooing without anesthesia. Six years she had survived at his hands, when the most others had... was two at the most. But then.... she was a Ballentyne. He checked his terminal and saw the mail he was waiting for. A meeting had been setup for him, confirmation was given that he was accepted as CEO of the corporation. He looked at the three pictures on the table that he had put there. Carmilla. Angelina. Victoria. They always had been one hell of a family. Stubbing out the cigar he was smoking he closed the pictures. Just not his family, and he didn't need it. Now he had Ithiria. Strange how things work out he mused.

Crime has been increasing recently I heard, in the Minmatar Region of Heimatar. Several high profile robberies have taken place where considerable amounts of jewellery, isk and artworks have been taken. According to my sources it matches the profile of a gang that were around a few years ago. Either way it's a lot of rich people whining while the poor people are laughing. Not that the thief is giving away his proceed... of if he is it isn't coming my way. So mystery robber, if you are listening to this, drop on round and trade in some of your loot for your very own GWS teeshirt. Here is Dakka Dakka Dakka from the Iron Renegades.....

4th Reflection

Doctor Kim Leander opened the door to the furnace and wheeled the trolly around so she could push the body inside. She whistled as she worked, pushing the headless body in with an ease that belied her size. No one would come looking for them, and if they did... there was plenty more room on her shelf. Taking off her blood stained coat she threw that in as well and then closed the door. Walking back to medical bay she joked with a few pilots who were nearby, checked a wall roster for a few moments then sat down behind her desk. On the terminal on her desk was a brainscan, a complete copy of the human brain of one of her victims. At the edge of the desk was a cryogenically stored head, one of four she had. The last of her trials were complete, she knew now it was possible to ressurect the head, to implant the brain scan and keep it alive. Sane, now that was another matter. It's one thing to be reanimated from the dead.. it's quite another to open your eyes and find your severed head is alive and kicking, so to speak, in a nutrient fluid in a bowl. No one else had managed to do what she'd done. A tiny part of her said there was a reason for that, but the psychotic side of her personallity agreed with the part that enjoyed hearing her patients scream. Morality is for the weak, she smiled.

Well that's all for Rocking Ricky this evening I hope you have enjoyed the last few hours of heavy metal. If you havn't been to a Wormhole yet I can't recommend it fast enough. I'm going back tonight, an artist friend of mine is taking me and he's going to be painting a proton star. Well lets all reflect on that for awhile, everyone is different. And for those of you who are roaming the space lanes, immortal in your pods.... keep that clone updated and tune in to the Great Wildlands Stellarcast! This is Rocking Ricky signing off......

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Descent into Realisation

Carmilla sat strapped in the chair in the pure white room. Miz was talking. She wasn't listening. What was going to happen soon would test her to the limits, but she was not going to be swayed by this. She was quite happy in her belief that her Mistress was the centre of her world. She smiled, if anything this would strengthen her resolve. Miz's revelations about Williams involvement didn't sway her mind much, she still loved him. But she loved her Mistress more.

While Miz kept on talking, she started humming, a tune that meant so much to her... then started to whistle. William, if he was there would have recognised Gallicia's Symphony of Pain.

Then the implant was activated and the memories flooded in, and still, ringing around in her head the faint echo of Gallicia's Symphony.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Dear William

Carmilla sat at the table in her and William's house, looking at the letter she had just written. With tears in her eyes she placed it on the table, taking her bag and walked out, the collar around her neck heavy, but not as heavy as the ache in her heart for her William.

My Darling William,
By now you will have heard that I have made my decision. I am too much of a coward to tell you to your face so I write you this letter and leave it for you to find.
I have made my decision because you forced me to. And because I was forced to by more friends than I knew I had. Every time I go somewhere, with you or with someone else, or on my own I see the looks, I hear the whispers. And it kills me. If I was stronger, maybe I would have chosen a different path, but Seraphim was the last straw.
She told me, I was too good for you. I wish I could let them know that I'll always think you were too good for me. I tried to tell them, but in the end I just ran, ran to a place of safety. And still they found me.
Ithiria tells me that she wants my happiness, and you have said the same. I wish you would both understand that I was happy with both of you, even though it's greedy. There are parts of me that she will always own, and there are parts of you that are bound to me. I hate the feeling that I have lost you, and in truth I would not have made the decision, but you forced me to and that hurts worse than the slavers lash. Because I know you won't see that by forcing me to choose one way or the other you condemn me either way. Forced into servitude as a slave, or forced into servitude as a free woman.
I told them all that I loved you, I do even if you think this band around my neck says otherwise. Because no matter what, you rescued me, and no matter how long I remain a slave to the music, I will always be free. You are in my heart and nothing will change that, my love.
With love,
Your Carmilla

Monday, 3 May 2010

Rescue at Sendaya

Every capsuleer has a line of fate. These lines entertwine with uncountable others, converging to create a complex skein. There are those rare times when lines of convergence can be foreseen, their threads unravelled and respun. For those who are skilled enough to spot these lines of convergence they can manipulate them, make the lines sing. Make them dance. For all his faults, his demons, his evil, Gallicia Tavrook was one such man. A master of music, and of men, a creator of music and of dance.

Gallicia sat behind a large wide steel table, strapped to the top his favorite victim the Gurista sebiestor, Carmilla D'Morenta. He rested his feet upon her bloodstained back and listened to a recording of his symphony. Two of his officers were relaying lists of ships and reinforcements.

“Never mind that, what of Victor? I need Victor.”

“Victor has not been seen since the sale at Sibot. He never left the station.”

“Why didn't someone tell me this? It's been over a week since Sibot!”

He slammed his heel into her back and she moaned in pain. With Victor gone he'd need a new pilot, one who knew the area.

“What forces can they array against us?”

“Not enough by far. From what our intelligence has told us only one group knows where we are, and we want him there anyway. The others.... he won't work with.”

“It's his weakness. And for that he will die and his woman will watch us. Give her three hours for the nanites to bed in and then bring her to the command deck.”

Gallicia got to his feet, grabbed Carmilla's hair and jerked her head back and laughed.

“What's up little snake?”

Sendaya. Gateway to Curse and the lawless emptyness of nullspace. In a prison cell Victor gave up the information that was required of him to the person who had captured him at Sibot. Hours later a force of warships set destination, travelling halfway across the known bounds of Empire. Hundreds of thousands of crew, hundreds of captain, dozens of capsuleers. Scouts blazed their way across space, checking the route for ambushes and known enemies, their presence causing allies to take notice and wonder where such a substantial force was going. At their head in her battleship Ithiria stood in her battle armour watching through the viewscreen as the fleet approached gate after gate and headed inexorably closer to her prize. She had dispatched her sister, Angelina to meet with an associate, and all contact with her had been lost several hours ago.

“I'm coming Carmilla, I'm coming to rescue you. Just hold on a few more hours....”

Sendaya. Gateway to Curse and the lawless emptyness of nullspace. In a safe spot hidden far beyond an asteroid belt a worm class frigate listened intently to the communications that were streaming from untold numbers of sources trying to pinpoint just one. The bridge was cramped, but William sat there unconcerned about comfort. Somewhere out there Carmilla was being held, his woman, and he wanted her back.

“We have the signal pinpointed, course plotted, 3au's and change.”

“Our fleet?”

“On standby. They just await the word.”

“Did you get hold of Seraphim?”

“All signals bounce back, we can't establish contact.”

He nodded. It was to be expected, it was too short notice.

“We wait. He'll contact us.”

Several systems away Lord Esna stormed through the bridge of his carrier. Most of his fleet were still several regions away, he only had a few dozen ships of varying size on hand, an effective force, but not one of any real power. And power might be needed. He had heard unsettling reports of what the enemy had. He prayed he was wrong.

“Have you gotten through to the High Admiral yet?”

“Still trying to connect Lord. His assistant is proving difficult.”

Esna swore and pushed the communications officer away from his post and looked into the screen. An old functionary was looking back.

“Lord Esna the High Admiral cannot be disturbed for any reason at all.”

“This is a code black emergency, I need the High Admiral.”

“You do not have the....”

“I have this,” said Esna as he held up a datacrystal, ”Damaging information about the Admiral and his private life. And I don't mean with his concubines or wife... I mean with other Admirals concubines and wives.....”


“Is an ugly word though I will turn it over to him for assured backup because I have a renegade Serpentis fleet two jumps from position and there are unconfirmed report of a Titan.”

The functionary raised an eyebrow.

“You found the Sword of Karnak? This is different. If this ship is not there you will be held accountable. I will inform the High Admiral. Download all necessary data to my terminal. The Empress be with you.”

“The Empress be with us all!”

Esna returned and sat in his command chair and pressed the shipwide and fleetwide comms.

“This is Lord Esna to the Fleet. The destination is the Sendaya system, we are not waiting for backup. We are going in as we are, we are the Sword and the Mailed Fist of the Empire and a few pirates will not stop us. We go to glory, we go to destiny, and we go to strike at the dark heart of Tyranny. All subcaps proceed to destination at best speed, once on station light proceed to the rendevous point and wait for my signal. Lord Esna, out.”

Many would die today, but they would die for a cause, for the Empire. With luck Carmilla would be rescued, but Gallicia... he was the key... strike the head and the body withers. And he was definitely going to strike the head.

Gallicia looked out of the bridge window at the assembled fleet. He had changed ships and was now in a frigate. He wouldn't be there for long and would soon be back to his personal transport. Tapping on a datatablet he sent a quick message to the one person he wanted to be here.

“Warp to the rendevous point. We'll wait for an hour.”

“Will be there?”

“He will eventually.”

The merlin class frigate powered into warp leaving behind the bulk of the Serpentis fleet.

In his ship William received the mail and opened it. Co-ordinates for a rendevous. He input them himself and checked the status of the weapon systems. Everything was green across the board.

“Engage warp drive... lets get this over with.”

The frigate aligned and leapt into warp.

“You know this is a trap, Will?”

“Yes. Just do what needs to be done when the time comes and we'll all be able to go home.”

In a flash the worm disengaged and coasted to a stop, proximity sensors sounding.

“Hostile frigate, 40 clicks away, dead stationary.”

William looked at the ship in the distance. Merlin class, like his but inferior.


“He's arrived Gallicia. Alone.”

“Open the comms. I want to talk to him.”

“Captain William, at last we meet on the field of battle.”

“Gallicia, you have something of mine. I want her back.”

“No. She's mine now. I'll get you a nice Amarri noble woman for you to screw sensless.”

“Lock him..... Gallicia... you have one chance and one chance only.... and to be brutally honest I hope you don't take it.”

“By the maker, Will he's lit a cyno!”

“Sorry Captain William. You'll have to excuse me if I'd rather see you dead than give up my prize slave. See you in the next like Captain.”

Three large shapes appeared above the frigate, Serpentis Carriers. William looked at them and sneared.... and lit up his own cyno.

“Two can play at that game! Bill to fleet! Cyno's up, Cap fleet engage at will, subcaps jump and warp to my position. I want Gallicia alive!”

The three serpentis carriers disgorged wings of fighters which headed towards the lone Worm. One carrier warped into position above the worm, then a second, then two dreadnoughts. The two carriers took up flanking positions over the Worm while the dreadnoughts switched down into siege mode. Gargantuan railguns swung into position and fired upon the carriers. As the lead fighters of both sides made contact the first of Bill's fleet decelerated out of warp. Heavy interdictors and battleships shot forwards engaging the carriers. From behind the Serpentis their own sub-capital fleet had arrived as well. Battle was joined.

“...Interceptors, take out the enemy dictors....”

“...Primaried... takign damage requesting.....”

“...Three coming in from point four seven, they are after the commandship....”

“...ECM coming online... target nullified... “

“...Incoming enemy forces flaking out HIC's.....”

“...Reactor core is damaged... ramming speed.....”

William docked his ship in the carriers bay and with his crew boarded his Gila while the battle raged outside.

Three jumps from Sendaya Ithiria listened in to reports going out over a secure navy frequency. A pitched battle was taking place in Sendaya, Concord was not getting involved due to the size of the forces involved.

“Lord Esna on direct comm Commander.”

Ithiria brought up the small screen on her battlethrone and nodded.

“Esna. I trust you are heading in the same direction I am?”

“Sendaya. I have forces arriving shortly, but not enough.”

“I have asked for some allies to come as well, but I have yet to hear from them I can only hope they get here in time.”

“I hear Bill is there.... he won't be happy.”

“He will be even less happy if he dies, but he is not my primary concern,and nor is it yours if I know you as I do.”

“We are three jumps out Esna, standby to engage.”

Gallicia had docked up his frigate and was watching from the bridge of his carrier. The battle was actually going badly for his forces. Those who were arrayed against him, while not numerically superior were certainly more skilled.

“Light the second cyno. Inform the primary reserve.”

From the bridge window he watched as one of his carriers exploded with a violent fury that decimated a cluster of smaller ships that were nearby. He thought for a moment then looked around.


“Shields are holding, hull repairs are proceeding. We are being targetted by several interdictors, we cannot leave until they are destroyed.”

“Then target the damn interdictors! And where is my slave?”

Two guard dragged the unconcious Carmilla with them towards the bridge when they were stopped by a woman wearing a stained flightsuit and a bandanna wrapped around her head.

“Change of plans, Gallicia wants her back in his stateroom.”

“We have no such orders. Stand aside...”

The woman pulled out a gun and fired it twice, hitting each one in the head. Angelina ran forward and picked up her sister, tucking a pistol back in her belt. She was mostly unresponsive and covered in blood and bruises. But she had to get her out of her. Throwing her over one shoulder she made her way to the maglift and started to call the lift when a voice rang out.

“When my slave doesn't arrive.. I wonder why.... now I find out why..... Drop her and stand back and maybe i'll let you live.”

Angelina dropped Carmilla and spun aroudn, weapon blazing, her other hand reaching for the second pistol. Shooting at Gallicia.... missing... who fired back hitting. Angelina was knocked back against the wall, her shoulder twisted and dislocated, a gaping wound bleeding heavily. Screaming she raised her pistol and he shot it out of her grip.

“Now I have two slaves to play with. How fun that will be. Guards... take them to the bridge. I want them to watch as I destroy their friends.”

Lord Esna's and Ithiria's forward fleets landed at the same time on different gates and were met by a surprising sight. A force of Serpentis ships were camping the gate, attempting to destroy every ship that was nearby. Already the customs and local navy forces were twisted burning wrecks. Both fleets engaged.

Bill, flying in formation with three moa's tore a hole through the left flank of the battleline and their remaining frigate forces followed. None of the crew had ever seen him so animated, ship after ship falling to his attacks. Above the surviving serpentis carrier the space shimmered and the bulk of a ship appeared. A very large ship.... a mothership.

“This is Baal Prime to Baal Leader. We do not have the firepower to combat that mothership. We must withdraw.”

“No! Not til we get what we are after!”

“Are we to all die to get what you want?”

“If you die, you die! Death is easy, living is more difficult! Now concentrate all firepower on that mothership!”

“Sub-cap fleet warping in... hostiles!”

“Damn.. more Serpentis!”

“No... worse... it's the Amarr!”

“Cyno is up!”

“It's about time. Jump to those co-ordinates! Launch fighters as soon as we arrive.”

The two amarr capital ships shimmered out and appeared a moment later in the Sendaya system to a pitched battle. Requested flooded in and the bridge crew targetted friendly ships and began repairing while fighters were launched. Young flight controllers directed the fighters and the carrier started scanning.

“Pinpointed the main battle my Lord.”

“Entire fleet break off and follow us to warp. Engage the Serpentis, we are only here for them.”

Ithiria's battleship exitted the stargate and was targetted almost immediately.

“We're scrammed and webbed. We're not going anywhere in a hurry!”

“Destroy them. We are in a hurry! Sensors, can you locate the main battle?”

“We have their location. As soon as we can jump we can....”

“Ithiria... I have two homing implants... faint but present.”

“Belonging to whom?”

“According to this.... Carmilla D'Morenta and Angelina Ballentyne....”

Victor walked onto the bridge and looked at the tac-screen.

“Ithirira, destroy this ship. It's the command for this fleet. They will be disorientated, should be enough for us to jump.”

She looked at the board, it looked just like any other battlecruiser. There were no distinguishing marks.

“How do you know?”

“Trust me... I know.”

Gallicia threw the two women on the floor before him, both were now chained, and he was laughing.

“Those fools, they have no chance of destroying us.”

“Gallicia, our gate fleets are reporting two large fleets have engaged them and are....”

In the distance several flashes indicated the arrival of a fleet, Carrier and battleships.

“They are no mind, are the interdictors destroyed?”

“Yes, we just have..... that's strange......”

Gallicia turned around in his chair.

“What's strange?”

“We have incoming ships... from behind us....”

William looked at the display with growing fury. He recognised the markings on the ships. Lord Esna and Ithiria were here now. Both of them after Carmilla, both wanting to enslave her. Over his dead body!”

“This is Bill to approaching fleets. Back off! This is not your fight!”

“God damn it Bill, this is Esna. We're here to help you!”

“Why, so you can buy her after? Convince her being a slave's not so bad? I don't need the help of stinking slaver scum like you! If you get to close don't be surprised if my ships attack you too! We don't want your help!”

“But,” Ithiria said over her channel,”We are here, and we will help wether you like it or not! I will nto leave Carmilla in this twisted freaks hands and nothing will stop me from getting my slave back!”

“She is not your slave!”

Bill cut the comms and pulled the pilot out and slipped into his place.

“Take the weapons. Wing, we're going in and we're going in hot. I need a diversion while I dock and board that ship!”

“That's suicide... you'll never make it!”

“It's better to stand and fight than to live on your knees...and I intend to fight!”

The Gila and it's moa escort shot towards the carrier, coming under sustained fire. Heavy concentrations of laser fire splashed across the shields of the Carrier which was now vectoring to enter warp.

“We're loosing her..... If she goes into warp we'll never catch her!”

“Incoming hostiles, pirates off the port quarter!”

A new voice broke over the channels, a high pitched hollering cheer.

“Yeeeehawww!! Lets go get us some kills.”

“Cut the chatter, Black leader to all wings, break and attack! Viva Guristas!”

From behind the Serpentis what could literally be called a swarm of frigates and interdictors appeared. Dozens of rifters, all bearing the colours of the Guristas Academy flew into the enemy formations at point black range. Interdiction bubbles sprang up all around, pinning the carrier and mother ship. A cyno field was lit and a carrier and a mothership warped in, but bearing the colours of the Ushra'Khan.

Onboard her battleship Ithiria watched as the fight unfolded infront of her. Williams forces were severely damaged, but the carriers were triaged and prolonging the fight, however two dreadnoughts were burning hulks. Ships of all shapes and sizes fought valiantly, artillery shells, laser bolts, missiles and hybrid charges seared across the depths of space, impacting ships, fighters, capitals.

“Signals are coming from the Carrier.”

“Then get us over there! All hands this is the captain, we are getting in harms way. I mean to board the Carrier.”

Esna watched from his carrier and saw Ithiria's battleship closing on the lone serpentis carrier. One of his crew had already dispatched their remaining fighters to cover her and their forces were converging.

“Lord, we are being targetted by friendly units. Some of them are opening fire.”

“Do not return fire. Go around them, dont' give them any reason to attack us.”

The ship shuddered violently as a squadron of fighter bombers vectored back in for another attack.

“Ithiria, this is Lord Esna, what the hell are you doing?”
“Carmilla's on the carrier.. so is Angelina.”

"I'll do what I can to cover you. This is going to be really damn costly, so hurry the hell up. I can't hold forever!"

Under the cover of the Gurista's attack Bill had managed to land in the main hangerbay. He left a hand picked crew to watch over the ship and grabbed the rest to come with him. From his belt he pulled two weapons, his usual pistol and the dagger Carmilla had made for him, a steel blade, curved like a talon and razor sharp. As soon as they lowered the boarding ramps they came underfire. Cooly and with precision he picked off the guards and stormed across the hangerbay. The layout was familiar, and he knew where they would be. Gallicia would be on the bridge directing the battle.

On the far side of the carrier Ithiria's battleship, though badly damaged rammed into the side of it and began cutting holes. Boarding parties went aboard, giving no quarter to anyone who resisted, all had seen friends die this day, and the chance to get some payback was too good to miss. Ithiria herself joined the party that was heading for the bridge.

Gallicia steadied himself as he looked out. Most of his forces were being destroyed, bit by bit. However he still had the ace up his sleeve.

“We've been boarded, we have reports of firefights on corridors leading to the bridge.”

“Send the guards to take care of them. Comms, inform the Sword of Karnak we need her.”

The comms officer tried and tried again.

“Not getting through.... they are not replying.”

“Try again, change frequencies.”

“Still nothing. And I'm not getting anything from our last reserves.....

An explosion tore the door off the bridge and a hail of gunfire filled the room. Gallicia rolled over and pulled Carmilla towards him as a shield as he fired off towards the doorway, killing the two people who came through first. Bill looked through, sighted and fired all in one quick action. Gallicia was knocked back. He ran over to Carmilla and picked her up.

“Carmilla... can you hear me my love?”

He kissed her and looked in her face, seeing only pain and suffering. He handed her over to his second.

“Take her back to the ship. I have someone to deal with.”

Taking the dagger from his pocket he advanced on Gallicia when he noticed Angelina. He was about to say something when the entire ship seemed to tilt, throwing everyone to the knees. Anglina rolled across the deck and slammed into the wall on the far side. Bill grabbed Gallicia and held the blade at his neck while he activated his comm.

“What the hell is going on out there?”

“It's the matari, they are attacking the carrier, it's damaged and listing from what we can see. You must evacuate...”
“Matari? When the hell...”

“It's Eliza and Sienna....”

That explained that. Slowly however the auto-systems brought the list under control As he pulled gallica towards the door he came in he noticed the far door open and Ithiria surrounded by her black guards strolled in.

“Where is she Bill?”

“Safe from you. Take Angelina and rescue her. I'm taking Gallicia. I'm not letting you take Carmilla. She is mine!”

“William.... I want...”

“Don't make me shoot you, Ithiria... I'll do it! I'll not let you take Carmilla.”

Ithiria looked at the rage in his eyes. Rage like that she had seen before. And no good would come of it. She picked up Angelina and looked at Bill, who was already on the way out.

“All parties back to the ship.. we're leaving!”

It took a while but eventually the Gila and Moa's of Williams force undocked and fought their way back to the carriers and the battered battleship of Ithirias headed towards the safety of her own carrier. As she looked back the last serpentis carrier exploded... and the mother ship simply warped out. The remaining serpentis ships that could made their escape, those that could.

Back onboard Bills Gila he carried her into his cabin and laid her down. He smiled when her eyes flickered open and looked at him.

“Bill,”she croaked through swollen lips.

“Yes my dear?”

“God I love you....”

“I know....”

William looked at her for a few minutes then allowed the medic to push him aside and start treating her.

“Sir, please, I'll call you once I have a preliminary report.”

He looked down. He had rescued her. He had captured Gallicia.... but he was still not happy.

Onboard the battleship Ithiria had taken Angelina to her quarters and was tending to her.

“How do you feel?”

“Lousy Ma'am. Did you rescue Carmilla?”

“No. Bill beat me to it. He also has Gallicia.”

“So it's over?”

“Yes.... for now.. it's over.”

But as they exchanged looks they both knew that it was far from over. The rescue had been performed, a lot of people had died. But now there would be the aftermath.