Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Memories and a glass of Wine

The two of them sat drinking in a leafy taverna, several bottles of wine had already been produced and drunk. The empty plates from their meal had been left to one side, and more bottles were placed on the table. The taller of the two pointed to a tattoo on the inside of older woman's arm. AD 23216.

"What is that? AD 23216?"
The older woman sat back with a bottle and swigged from it.
"Aaaah, my dear. That.... is a date to be remembered. The date the slaves fought back and took something precious from me. Slaves and their lackies, those traitors who fought with them, the collaborators. When the slaves ran riot, and killed those who were dear to me. But this my dear, was a long time ago and my memories are not what they were. Surely you don't wish to know what I did during the war...."
But the taller woman insisted.
"I need to know."
She sighed and nodded.....
"It all began....."

23216 - 4th day of the Month of Sorrow

The Agressor Squadron fell back in disarray, it's golden ships coming underfire from a numerically superior, if technologically inferior Wing of Minmatar ships. Ships looking more like a flying scrap heap and solar generator than the fast battlewagons they seemed to be. Powerful artillery and even more powerful autocannons tore into the squadron before it even knew what was happening. Ships exploded, three Amarr for ever one Minmatar. Drones screamed silently, missiles tore across the void. All across the communications nets, military and commerical the news was the same. The Minmatar were rebelling!

Skill and cunning had brought Marika Jobias to command the Agressor Squadron but more than skill was required today. One by one all of the ships in the squadron were destroyed until only the three Omen class cruisers in her flight remained. The few remaining interceptors were pinning them down, but Marika's ship was free. Her wingmen knew it and reversed course, plunging into the ships following them, scattering them. She didn't see them die, but their sacrifice would not be in vain. Overpowering the engines she warped to a marshalling point.

As she arrived her sensors noticed the carnage. The fleet that was here had been caught unawares, as her squadron had. Jumping to the main planet she saw the Amarr freighters, transports and industrials fleeing the planet. Into the jaws of the Minmatar slaves in their junker ships. The slaughter lasted for hours. They had planned their rebellion well, and even if it moved no further, they had still killed many innocents, much blood had been spilt. To retake the planets in this system would take a long time. In her pod she combed lists of passengers on ships she knew to have been destroyed, pulled lists of casualties, of known dead. Eventually she found the names she was looking for. In her pod she screamed.

It was said, that day, that the Minmatar danced over the dead in the streets and wild parties ensued. It was also said, by fewer people that a scream was heard that day, across all the communication channels. A scream that they said heralded the doom of the system. The young jeered and said doom had come, to the Amarr. The old simply nodded and waited. You cannot escape the cry of the banshee, they said, you can only wait for death.

23216 - 22nd day of the Month of Sorrow

Marika waited in the halls of the Naval Administration building, her high necked uniform jacket a pristine black with a pastel blue sash of the Agressor Squadron. Other officers waited outside with her, but only she was pacing like a caged beast. Nearly three weeks had passed and little had happened. Whole swathes of space had rebelled. There was no talk of falling back, it was a full blown retreat. Marika herself had helped, rescuing civilians, hunting down the wolf packs that had broken through the front lines as they were pushed back. Her name became known on both sides for her ferocity and brutality. The reports of rumored atrocities were just that, rumours. She never left anyone alive to prove it, they whispered.

"Marika Jobias, Commander of the Agressor Squadron. "
The major domo called out her name and title and beckoned her to the double doors. She was in and through before those who were waiting before her could be insulted. A few moments later she stood in a spotlight before an assembly of Amarr Elders and high ranking Naval Officers. A salute and at attention she looked straight ahead.
"Marika, we have much to thank you for. Your conduct has been most... praiseworthy. The reports we have talk of your heroism and dedication, you are an example for us all."
"I thank you for those words, noble sires."
"Are we right to believe that you want to take a fleet and retake the system you were posted to?"
"I do."
"Why should we?"
"Because I can take it back. I know it inside out, I can get in undetected with a fleet and by then we'll already have locked down the stargates......"
She breathed deeply, wondering when he would speak up. Admiral Jodana, her superior who she had fought with as hard off the field as she had with the Minmatar on the field.
"I am not at liberty to discuss the plan."
There were raised voices, oathes, condemnations.
"You dare say that here? We are among the most...."
"The most bugged and followed members of the Empire. If I told you what I had planned the slaves would know about it within ten days. I mean no disrespect, but we underestimated them once before, and we should not do so again. Security needs to be tightened."
"We have demoted people for saying less than you have."
"Then do it. I will fight just a bravely under someone elses command. But only I can take the system...."
Admiral Jodana turned to the other members.
"I appologise for this outburst, it is unspeakable that she should talk to us this way. Naturally I'll have her broken and reassigned to a garbage scow."
One of the elders laughed a dry and ancient laugh.
"If you did I dare say even in a garbage scow she would still manage to rack up an impressive amount of kills in our name. No Admiral, we will not break this upstart, for at the moment she is one of the few who are actually feared by the slaves. You however, are not."
The swore and stood, hand on his sword. He was aware of a movement at the corner of his eye and saw Marika, pistol drawn pointed at him.
"You dare point a weapon at me?"
"You dare draw your sword on a member of the council?"
She kept the pistol pointed, even though she heard the sound of the armed guards behind her, waited expecting the shot to come, or the blow to knock her down. It never came.
"Marika, please holster your weapon and come with me," The elder wheezed as he stood, helped by one of the other members, "We must discuss your new Wing, a squadron will not do for such a skilled member of our Navy... and one so devoted to this assembly. But please, hand your weapons over to the soliders behind you, behind these doors, you only have to worry about how much rope we give you."

Admiral Jodana stormed out of the assembly room and towards his private quarters, slamming the doors and punching his intercom.
"Send for my slave. Now!"
He removed his jacket and threw it on the table and undid his shirt. Pacing up and down he grabbed a short handled whip from wall and flexed it in his hand. The door to his office opened and two guards brought in a female Minmatar slave.
"Usual place," he said without looking, and poured a glass from a decanter and drank from it as he walked to the slave. His guards leaving.
"So my little slave. I have some anger I need to work out."
The slave, her naked back to him hung her head and waited to see just how angry he was. She had been pretty once, but the Admiral had put paid to that one day with his fists. With each crack he said a name. Marika. Marika. Marika!

Marika walked with three of the elders, their faces hidden behind their cowled hoods down a dark corridor. Although she couldn't see them she knew the hidden alcoves here had guards in them, ready at a moments notice to protect the elders. That she was not armed, was no reason not to be careful.
"I'm afraid the Admiral is just a little jealous of you Marika-san. He has taken several of your victories as his own, but we know the truth."
"So do the troops. They look to me for leadership even above their own officers."
"We know. It has to stop. That is why we are giving you your wing. But after you take the system, you will stand down and resign your commission."
She walked on with them in silence.
"I take it from your silence that you agree?"
"Yes, I agree. I am not after glory, only after a strong Empire. I have spilt blood for you, I will spill more."
One of the elders hissed.
"Don't worry, I'm not one of those," she smiled," My faith is in my ability as a war leader. But... I have a condition for my acceptance, for my standing down."

23216 - 7th day of the Month of Rememberance

Someone had warned the slaves. But in the end, it had not mattered. From the few surviving pilots they found out, evenatually, that they knew where the Agressor Wing was going to end up, the system name, times, and major targets. Ships were drawn from surrounding constellations to have a formidable fleet waiting. As Marika had known they would. So she attacked elsewhere.

The first in uproar of her actions had been Admiral Jodana. Treason, betrayal and other words were shouted from him. But in public, because yet again, she had brought a victory. A major shipyard and distribution centre had been destroyed along with it's attendant facilities and fleet. Even with the ships drawn away it was three to one, and still they succeeded. Hundreds of thousands of freed slaves were once more under the lock and key of the Amarr. Prisoners taken from the rebelled slaves were paraded through the streets on Amarr Prime, footage of the Agressor Wing in combat were shown on most 3dTV channels. But still, as requested Marika stood down and resigned her commission.

As expected Jordana was quick to take responsibility for her actions, and he was placed in command of the wing. But when he went to take command of the wing it was unbeknown to him, a new Agressor Wing, made up from veterans from a hundred different units. Marika and the real Agressor Wing had vanished.

The older woman sat back and drank some more wine, as her young colleague listened intently.
"Two months later the Agressor Wing under Jordana was destroyed utterly. He was captured and paraded as we had paraded prisoners. Wreckage of his ship was put on display at one of their training bases to remind them of the glory that awaited them in space. And it did the trick. Recruitment for the Minmatar reached epic levels, everyone wanted to fly and fight and reclaim their birthright. They paraded Jordana on planet after planet.... and eventually they came to one planet in particular....."

23216 - 13th day of the Month of Suplication

The wormhole blazed to life, as the Agressor Wing under Commander Jobias began to leave the space they had called home for the past two months. Already their logisitical people were taking down the station they had errected for the purpose. Now all that remained was vengence. With the war raging on several fronts, most systems had only a token fleet, the Minmatar throwing everything they had into taking more and more space, freeing more of their race from the tyranny of the Amarr.

The system was ill prepared to take on a squadron, let alone a wing. Let alone a wing led by the infamous Marika Jobias. In an unprecedented attack her wing destroyed one of the two jump gates into the system, destroying the patrols that came close. Any ship that approached was destroyed regardless, before it had chance to broadcast what was happening. The wing split into two, half blockading the last remaining jump gate, the rest, lead by Marika hunted down and destroyed the remaining military in the system. When she was happy that she had destroyed everything of a military nature, she lit the cyno and the rest of the fleet jumped in, then brought the troop transports out of their wormhole lair.

The older woman sat up at the table and looked at the younger woman with her.
"What we did removed a portion of the Amarr Navy capital fleet from the front line, carriers and dreadnoughts. We only had forty of them, but at that time even the assembly were up in arms. But, the deal had been made. They wanted a victory. I told them I could deliver."
She smiled a wicked smile,"I just didn't say what I would deliver."
"We held that system for two weeks. Our defences on the gate were impenetrable. Any ship trying to get in or out was destroyed. While our dreadnoughts went from planet to planet, moon to moon and destroyed every target of military value. Of course, as I was in command... I told them was was a military target. We boiled lakes dry, set fire to forests, levelled cities and towns. Planet after planet was turned into a charnel house. And in every one I was there, on the surface with my little army, all hand picked survivors of the original attack, all with a blood debt to me. And We made them pay. And we recorded it all for posterity."

23216 - 26th day of the Month of Suplication

Marika watched as the city in the distance burned. Several dreadnoughts in orbit were systematically destroying it, fires raged out of control, the screams of the people as they tried to escape the city were drifting to them. Around the city a laser barricade had been setup, beyond it the troops were firing at random into the crowds of refugees. It was a slaughter. Occasionally they would bring her a survivor from the military, Minmatar, usually Brutor. If they were in a jovial mood that day they would throw them in a ring and one of her men would take them apart, or as had happened on several occasions, the Minmatar won. Sometimes she would let them go, other times she would fight them herself. Othertimes, she would crucify them, or impale them, or give them to the troops.

Later that night one of her commanders pleaded with her to stop the bloodshed. To stop the killings. As she watched another Brutor champion being impaled to the cheers of her troops she agreed.
"We have shown these people enough, they know now never to rebel. They would not dare."
"Marika, you have sown the seeds of our destruction. When word of this leaks out, we will all be hunted down and killed in retribution. What we have done here, is more than simple retribution. I thought we were doing the right thing. But after I reclaimed my family home and burned it down to get rid of the stink of slaves, I realised we had done too much. This is just what they did to us... and it's too much Marika. We have to stop before we loose our souls. We didn't come here for Genocide."
She sighed and smiled and patted her commander on the shoulder.
"I did. Gather your troops. We are leaving and never coming back."
Taking out a communicator she issued the general retreat of all forces back to space. Moments later the black specs of drop ships appeared and landed. She walked over to the dying Minmater who had been impaled. And took a picture.

In space she convened a meeting of the captains of the carriers and had cargo shuttles take over payloads that had been brought aboard the command carrier in secret. One for each planet and moon that held a population. The carriers dispersed and hours later the fleet was ready. The commander approached her.
"What just happened? Where did the carriers go?"
"Orbital satellite drops around every planet and moon. A device of my own creating. Once the timer is started it will fire a warhead into the atmosphere and it will keep doing that until it is empty, whereupon it will drop into the sky itself and explode."
"But, just a handfull of warheads will do no lasting damage. Are they nuclear?"
"No. Biological."
The Commander turned white. Marika smiled.
"I see you understand me. I told you Commander, I came here for Genocide. The death of every single man, woman and child in this system. The Minmatar will pay for killing my family, pay with the deaths of everyone. Why do you think we recorded everything? Because we are going to broadcast this wide to everyone within a thousand parsecs. We are going to let the slaves know what happens when they rebel. Genocide."
She laughed, and as the Commander ran from the bridge her laugh was loud in his ears.

The woman sighed and shook the empty bottle, placing it down but not reaching for a new one.
"Of course, no one found out about it. The commander as it turns out was sent by the Assembly to keep an eye on me. And the victory they had recieved was bittersweet. We had retaken the system, but only at the cost of untold billions of lives. When we returned at Amarr Prime, I was under no illusions of what was going to happen to me. And I was right. Arrested, imprisoned and made to dissapear. All footage destroyed, all ship AI memories wiped, navigational beacons, any trace that the Amarr Empire had been in the system over those two weeks removed and destroyed. The name of the system removed from the database. As clean an incision in time as ever could be made was done. With one exception. The Minmatar. They knew everything, but they kept quiet."
She paid the bill and the two women walked down the street arm in arm.
"They assumed that if it was done once, it would be done again. So when there was an unofficial truce, it was unofficially covered up, the price was my head. But by then, I'd been spirited away. That, you see, was my price for doing it all. And I had them over a barrel. I told them, I'll give you your victory, but I want immunity for my actions."
"And they gave it you?"
"What else could they do. They'd have had to destroy the entire wing and the support fleet to keep it quiet. As it was, I just ordered everyone not to talk about it and I moved to Gallente space, which we'd just made contact with. I became a doctor, and experimented with proto-nanites and my search for the elixir of youth."
"And you changed your name....."
"And my looks, and everything. But still people found out and hunted me down. That is why all those years ago I was on a cruise ship, a bounty hunter had caught me, tracked me down and was taking me back. The rest, as they say... is history. I met your father and completed my research..... and together we lived. Until you killed him"
"Mother, if I'd have known he was my father I would have found a way to get him out, you know that."
Dr Kim Leannder looked at her daughter.
"Carmilla, I know that. I have never blamed you for his death. Now please, I have an appointment to take care of, which is why I'm here in this city. I'll meet you at the docking bay in three hours."
Mother and daughter embraced and went their seperate ways. Kim went to a nondescript door and opened it with a keycode and walked in, running her finger over the name on the door plate. She look at the man within and smiled and ran and leapt into his arms. The door closed automatically leaving the setting sun to shine over the name plate. Munroe Ballentyne, MD

Sunday, 27 June 2010

No more will we stand for tyranny!

Across all the Deritan estates it was a time of celebration. The harvest was in, a record one at that, and was being distributed and despatched across the Empire. All across the estates there was merriment and happiness, millions were enjoying the fruits of their labours and the bounty that had been returned to them.

On Ithiria Deritan's main estate Carmilla and several other women were dancing on the tables that had been set up, the music loud the clapping and cheering loud. Massive tables laden with food and drink were set up here and in the small villages on the estate that the workers lived in. Victor sat at the head of the largest table, clapping his hands in time with the music and laughing. On the table Carmilla watched as he frowned and put his hand to his ear and started talking into his comm unit. She leapt off the table and bounced over to him. The look on his face told her all she needed. Something bad was about to happen.

"We have incoming, sub capital fleet supported by carriers. They are not answering hails and just brushed past the patrol sent to intercept and destroyed it. Outright."
"Who is it?"
"We don't know.... Where is your wife?"
Carmilla grabbed a datatablet and input a few commands.
"I don't know, she was here but her shuttle is gone. We need to know who these people are, get me some eyes. Scramble the fighters. Get everything we have in the air, anything we have in the system, next system... get it. Disciples, Serpentis, Victor.. we need to see what is going on."
Carmilla looked up at the sky, it was blue, crystal clear, but still she could not see, not guess at what was coming. Victor hobbled off and grabed a speeder and headed to his command bunker. Carmilla stood on the table and called for silence.
"Everyone... can I have your attention. We may have a slight problem...."

In the asteroid belt around the third planet a serpentis frigate, roaming recieved a priority call. The pilot acknowledged and input the co-ordinates and warped to the destination, cloaking enroute. As he decelarated into the co-ordinates his proximity warnings went off. Instinct threw the ship into a tight spin and vectored away at high gee from the ship. A thanatos class carrier, surrounded by an impressive sub-cap fleet. Already he could see on his systems that tracking fields were enveloping his craft. He downloaded his initial sensor scan and was about to depart when a small frigate lit a cyno beacon. Heedless of his safety he swung the ship around and activated the microwarp drive, targetting the frigate. His rail guns fired on the small ship, missiles tearing away from their bays and impacting the frigate which exploded quickly. The cyno died... but not quick enough. The blackness shimmered as the mothership warped in. He downloaded an upto date sensor scan and......

In his command bunker Victor looked over the partial scan data recieved from the frigate before it was destroyed. A mothership, but worse than that, he recognised this one. He'd seen it before. It was Eliza. And he knew why she was here.
"Carmilla.... Carmilla... pick up...."
"Sir, we're being jammed. Wide signal it's covering about twenty clicks around the house.....
"....We have incoming on the estate, mulitple signals....."
"....No dropships spotted.. repeat no dropships....."
"....repeat, no sign of Concord or local navy...."
Victor looked at the screen. No, there would be no dropships. She wasn't here for that.
"Carson, get on a speeder, you get as far away from the impact zones as you can, drive like your life depends on it... because it does and a whole lot more. Get to a communit, use this code, Contact these people, let them know it's an code ultrablack emergency, get as many of our people out as you can!"

From her position Carmilla could see the fighters taking off from their hidden bays deep on the estate. Wing after wing departed and took off. All around there was the shimmering in the air, the estate shields had been activated. It was an attack, there was no doubt in her mind. She gathered a group of the women and children and ran to the landing pads, dispersing them to the shuttles and cargo landers that were there, giving the pilots orders to disperse to the nearby estates, fly low and above all, get them there safe. In the sky new pinpricks of light began to show, the fighter wings had engaged. She watched as the shuttles and landers departed, their pilots all veterans of the Guristas flew, knowing the value of their cargo. With luck, they would make it, if anyone could get them out, they would.
"There are no more shuttles, but please, get anything you can, fly, drive, just get away from here. Someone is attacking us and we need to get to safety. Ithiria is safe.... please... get to the bunkers....."
A howling scream caused her to turn. Fighters were screaming over the estate, their weapons impacting on the estate shield. Then from above them beams, projectiles, rail gun charges, the bombardment had begun. The sky turned red as the shield was pushed to it's limits and began to break. A crimson blast tore into the house, demolishing a wing, fires leaping upwards. Another slammed into the ground not far from the statue to her Mistress, her lover, her wife. She screamed defiance as the statue toppled, a scream that was washed away in the fury of the firestorm that came with the collapse of the shield. She died, and not long after there was nothing and no one left alive on the estate.

When she opened her eyes at the cloning centre she looked up into the eyes of Kim. Victor was next to her. Her face looked ashen, sad beyond belief. Over the next few hours Victor, Carmilla and Kim looked at the reports that came in. Carson had done well, and got his message out. Although there was considerable damage, there had been some rescues. Serpentis smugglers had rescued the entire population of one estate blasting through the sub capital blockade with the support of a Gurista's Ewar wing. Three freighters and their human cargo smashing through the battleships and battlecruisers, assault frigates clearing their way, falcons and rooks counfounding their enemies targetting systems. On another estate however a freighter full of those evacuating was caught in orbit and destroyed, a second so badly damaged it had to land, where it was destroyed from orbit. Across all the estates stories of untold bravery were being relayed, militia forces in outdated equipment were taking the fight to them, allowing a few more to escape with their deaths. Serpentis and Gurista's forces attacked and ambushed where they could, while their transports, smugglers and any ship that could squeeze a few people in did so.

And yet there was a terrible loss of life. Nearly a hundred thousand were saved, but millions died. Damages in the billions, and people across entire planets shocked by the brutality of what had been done.

Over the next day, the ships arrived at Ishomilken. The guristas station became a crowded refugee outpost. Fleets of ships arrived to protect the station, even more to bring in the medical and food supplies that were needed. Across the landing bays the screams for vengeance were loud and all eyes turned to the skies demanding blood. Blood. Blood!

Carmilla listened to the screams, the oaths, the cries for vengeance. All were baying for blood. And they would get it. Victor went out amongst the people there, many recognising him and praising him for their escape, and offering prayers and thanks to him, to Ithiria, to Carmilla. She walked into her quarters and pulled out a blade, a long curved ceremonial blade and placed it on the table. Kim walked in and embraced her.
"What will you do now?"
"I have to go and find my Wife. I don't know where she is. I'll need access to the database so I can trace her clone. And once I find her, there will be a reckoning. This was genocide."
Kim nodded and handed her a kimono.
"I think this one is more appropriate than what you were going to wear."
Carm looked at the kimono she had picked up, it matched the one she had seen her Mistress in, had performed the ritual in. But it was not time for that. She took the kimono from Kim, a light blue silk one with irridescent dragon flies over them. As Kim was making sure she was dressed perfectly she realised.... her tattoo's were gone now. Her body was clean. Pure. She smiled a most dreadful smile.
"Tell Victor I'll be back."
Taking the scabbard to the blade she slipped it into her wide belt and made her way to the landing bays. She had to find her wife. Walking across the landing bay people parted for her, there were looks of adoration, whispers, blessings. Her resolve weakened with each step and she stopped. People crowded around her, hands touching with reverance, eyes filled with tears.
".... may the maker bless you.... you saved many.... we owe you our lives.... we will fight for you if you ask.... lead us.... Ithiria...."

She pushed her way through the throng and climbed on top of shuttle that shared the bay she was in. Looking around she saw the people clustering around, looking up at her. Thousands upon thousands. Victor stood beside her and a cheer arose, a cheer that grew with a life of it's own and was soon deafening. Victor... Victor... Victor.... Deritan... Deritan... Deritan.... Carmilla turned to him.
"These are your people Victor, you are Ithira's consort, you saved them."
"But she is your wife, and that makes you our leader until we can find Ithiria."
Carmilla walked to the edge and raised her hands, gesturing for silence, Victor standing behind her. He handed her a communicator he had linked into the station wide system.
"I... We.... stand before you humbled. Never before have we been shown such loyalty. When we first came to stand with you, it was as servents and lovers of your Mistress, your Holder, the owner of the estates....Ithiria Deritan. Now, we stand before you, the wife and consort of Ithiria. Would that she was here, she would be saying this... but we do not know where she is....."
She paused as the outcry shook the station.
"We will stop at nothing to find her. A crime has been committed against us all, against the Estates of Ithiria and we will bring the perpetrators to justice! All of us worked hard for what we had and that was taken away from us. But that will not stop us. You have seen from those who rescued you that we command great respect. The Serpentis and the Guristas both helped to rescue you and for that we offer them our eternal thanks, we will owe them a debt that cannot easily be repaid. And myself and Victor.... we will owe you a debt that we will never be able to repay. We could have rescued more, should have rescued more..... there is blood on our hands now, the blood of those innocents who were slain by the evil of Eliza and her horde. Never more so was there a hated foe than she who did this. And.... THERE WILL BE A RECKONING!"
As she shouted the words the cheering was deafening.
"No more will we let this happen to our people. No more will we be scared of those who would oppress us. No more will we stand for tyranny! We are the architects of our own destiny, and together we will make those responsible pay with their lives, their ships... and their blood!"
She pulled her dagger out and pulled up her sleeve. She ran the blade down her arm, scratching a stylized sigil on her arm, letting the blood run freely.
"I swear to you, my people, with my blood as my bond that this will never happen again as long as I live, as long as Victor lives, as long as our Ithiria lives. We will crush everyone who dares stop us."
She held the bloody dagger above her head and looked at the people with a religious fervour.
"Are you with us?"
The crowd screamed.
"Are you with us?!" She cried again, punching the air with the dagger. The crowd screamed louder.

Kim watched from the window in Section 8 as her daughter and son jumped down from the shuttle and moved amongst their people like two messiahs. How much they had changed, from pirates to humanitarians. From people hated and loathed to people respected and listened to. She smiled and returned back to the medical bays that had been set up to deal with the wounded patients. There would be a lot of work to do before she could relaxe and spend time with Carmilla and Victor. But it would come.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

I Want This...

Kim Leander sat in the crowded bar in the popular New Caldari resort of 'Utopian Pleasures'. Dressed smartly, and conforming to the social norm she waited. She watched the people coming and going, occasioning small talk with those who tried to pick her up, quietly turning them down. Of all the people who were here though, very few were what she was after, and of those even fewer could have had the requirements. She needed a capsuleer.

It was risky coming here, as there woud be camera's and she would be noticed, but far more notice would be taken if she asked her black market contacts for what she needed. Eyes would be raised, whispers would pass around, and people would start asking too many questions. Far better, she thought with a cold smile, to find someone no one cares about, if that can ever be said about a capsuleer. For one of them must give up what they value, so my daughter can live.

Then, one arrived. She stared across the crowded floor and looked at the woman as she walked in. The self assured swagger, the aire of superiority and the glint in the eyes of naivety that suggested a newly encapsulated pilot. She was the spitting image of Angelina. Slightly shorter, but she would do. The question is... how to get her out without creating a scene. So she walked up to her, took her hand, smiled warmly and introduced herself.

Her name was Valencia Da'keo, she said, a reporter for Intergalactic News Networks, doing a piece on pod pilots. She flashed a badge that said so and offered to buy the girl a drink, to hear the tales of one of the immortals. Naturally, she agreed.

They sat at the end of the bar talking until just a few people remained in the bar. Around them the bottles and glasses spoke of the time they had spent. The girl was drunk, Kim was not, but pretended to be. Arm in arm, singing a raucus caldari song they staggered out of the bar and towards the hotel district. They stopped on the way and bought another couple of bottles and after a few false starts managed to get into the hotel. Kim winked at the two guys sitting on couches and one of then dissapeared into the street while the second walked behind the counter, pulling out a silenced pistol and shot the concierge and his young assistant.

Kim fumbled with the door and pulled the girl into the room, closing the door and walking with her to the centre, pushing her back onto the bed. She slipped out of her dress and placed it on a chair by her bag, which she opened. Going back to the bed she handed the girl a bottle and straddle her legs, watching her as she drank from the bottle then laid her hands on her legs, looking up at her.
"So, little immortal...."
"Valencia, Valencia... I do believe you've gotten me drunk."
Kim smiled down at her and slowly removed the pod pilots top.
"I did..... you are beautiful.... I want you... I want this....."
She ran her hands over the pod pilots body, caressing, tweaking and massaging softly ellicting soft moans. Bending over she kissed the young pilot.
"We shouldn't be doing this... it's wrong...."
But her body said otherwise, to Kim satisfaction. She rolled her over, kissing her arms and shoulderblades, her fingers tracing their way down past her implant ports on her neck, past her primary port and circled the secondary and tertiary. Aaah, these were the all important ones.
"That tickles... they feel strange, how do they look? I've never seen where I join with the pod. Only on diagrams."
"Don't worry my child, I have something that will make the evening a lot more enjoyable for you."
She slipped off the bed and went over to her bag, pulling out a small hypo and went back to the bed, crawling on top of her and biting her ear.
"Are you ready my dear?"
The young pod pilot, eyes closed and smiling just nodded. Kim kissed her neck causing her to move her head to give her access and felt the slight scratch as the hypo grazed her flesh then the stabbing pain as it injected directly into her neck. Kim held her as the drugs worked, seeing the fear in her eyes.
"Don't worry little poddling... you will survive."
The girl closed her eyes and stopped struggling. Kim quickly went to work, stripping her and grabbing her bag, unloading the implements she needed and the equipment. Looking around she grabbed one of the girls shoes, a fashionable heel and threw it at the door. One of the men from the lobby came in wheeling a small cart of medical equipment.
"We must be quick, we have two minutes before the safetys kick in."
"What about the girl?"
Kim looked down at her.
"She probably wont' survive the operation. I'm not going to be as gentle as those who mutilated my little girl."

As the man pushed the cart out of the door Kim stepped out of the shower and dressed herself. The girl had died, as she knew she would. But she was not important. Lighting a cigarette she took a bottle from her bag and emptied the contents onto the girl. The liquid pooled in the open cavities on her back and soaked that of the bed that wasn't already drenched in her blood. She flicked the cigarette from the door and the bed and girl burst into flames. As she walked down the corridor she could see the other guard coming from a room, flames were already licking from several others. By the time all three of them reached the ground floor the level they were on was an inferno. People were rushing around as the alarms started going off. Kim and her guards walked quietly out a side door and into a waiting van which drove towards the starport.

Angelina would have her ports back, in a week she'd be able to fly properly. As she opened up her communicator to make a call she realised she didn't remember the girls name.
"Hello, Caldari News? Yes there is a fire at the 'Mountain Arms' Hotel and there are several gunmen in the lobby shooting guests..... No I managed to get out.... No from what I could see they were Gallente terrorists.... Of course I'll stay on the line...."
She closed the communicator and flung it from the window to smash on the road.

New Caldari News Report - Fire swept through the 'Mountain Arms' Hotel in the Utopian Pleasure resort in the early hours of the morning. The second floor was seen as the start of the fire and the baffling failure of the fire systems to prevent the spread lead to the deaths of over three hundred guests who were staying at the facility. Although it has yet to be confirmed eye witnesses claimed Gallente Terrorists started the blaze and killed a number of staff and clients. The New Caldari Police Commissioner simply stated that all avenues were being looked into.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Awake, Dark Fury

Angelina sat at Esna's desk in the safehouse reading the mail that was on the screen. The room was dark except for the screen which bathed her and the area around her in luminous green light. Tears streaked her face as she read the words again. And again. And again.

Thoughts ran through her mind that had no place being there. She was a slave, bound to serve. Bound to obey. For her there was only obedience, loyalty and servitude.

"But that's wrong," Bethany's voice was loud in the room, she hadn't heard her approach.
"Bethany, what's wrong?"
"This is all wrong. You shouldn't be here.... like this."
Her voice was as childish as it always was, young and full of vibrancy. But not tinged with a dark edge. Something flittered across her mind, banished as soon as it appeared. She wracked her mind trying to think of it.
"Look at my jacket... look at who you were. Look at who you are!"
Angelina looked down at her. She was wearing her Gurista's jacket. The jacket she wore for over a year while she tore up the space lanes and perpetuated violence, bloodshed and murder on a scale that had entire empires after her blood.
"Angelina, you must wake up....."


Awake, but awake what... why was that so important. She left the screen up and walked over to the safe, Esna's safe and opened it. Personal papers, trial transcripts, the list of her crimes. Data crystals and memn-wafers.
"Angelina, you must wake up... there are things that now have to be done. Awake..."
Bethany was now an insistant whine in her ears, her voice drilling deep into her psyche filling her ears with the attention seeking sounds of youth.


But she was right. She shouldn't be here... she should be out there. Strapped into the flight seat of one of her frigates, or wrapped in the primal warmth of the pod, direction rolled tungsten hulls in space..... out in the depths of space... the crisp darkness of the void.

Awake, Dark

She cried out. Something was there, an memory hammering on the doors of her mind, down the dark corridor of sheltered memories, doors locked, barred, wide open, burning, filled with memories, pain, anger, resentment, light and dark, anger, anger at the universe, so easy to see now why she could burn it down when all it takes is the fury of madness!

Awake, Dark Fury

The words seared their way across her mind, far away she could hear Bethany's crying, her own laughter as the memory hammering on the doors freed itself. Awake, Dark Fury! Yes, now she was awake. Her memory free from the confines the court had placed upon it, confines that not even Esna knew about. The sealed memories cascaded in a dark waterfall as the walls broke under the rush of fury. Awake, Dark Fury! In the corner, Bethany cowered as Angelina stood up, Angelina Ballentyne, Guristas Pirate, Heretic, Murderer, Mass Murderer... the Butcher of Sibot screamed a primal scream of defiance.
"I... am back!"

She changed quickly into a flight suit and took her leather jacket from Bethany and the two of them made their way to the landing pads. The guards raised their hand. Although they were used to seeing her, they had instructions she was not to leave the safe house. Both her hands flew up, the pistols in her hands spitting death at the two guards. Alarms sounded as they ran to the shuttle and laser fire filled the air as more guards appeared. She pushed Bethany in and started up the engines then fired back at the guards, running towards them, teeth bared in a vicious grin.

The shuttle departed the safe house and she headed deeper into null-space, heading in a rough line towards the Great Wildlands. The safest place was where they would not think to look for her. Hours passed as they flew through systems and jumped, dodging gate camps, spending precious moments flying through abandoned bubbles until eventually the navigational system flashed up... they were about to enter an Amarr low-sec system.
"This is still not right, Angelina. You need backup. You cannot escape alone."
"Very true Bethany. That is why we are coming here. I have some old friends who owe me a favour."
She looked over at her young companion. The time they had spent to gether were catching up, Bethany looked older now, more serious. Her perpetual smile was gone now, replaced by a scowl.

The system of Youl in the Amarr Empire is one that is well used, an area for training and popular with people wishing to become more favoured with the Amarr Navy, amongst others. Even so few were ready for the warnings that flashed up on their nav-screen and pod-displays.

Enemy of the Empire Spotted. Angelina Ballentyne. Warning.

As her shuttle flew past them, they had but a moment to look before the ship was gone, headed into an asteroid belt. By the time the local police forces had arrived they found a small mining outpost on one of the larger asteroids had been massacred to a man. The shuttle was in the docking bay, and several of the automated ore transports were missing.

"You have to help me. I saved your life remember, you owe me Gallicia!"
She slammed her fist on the table. They were in one of the undercity bars, a haven for non-capsuleers and low lives in general. Bethany was blending in, her attitude now she was away from Esna and his pandering was a sight to behold. Angelina turned her head back to the man sitting before her, Gallicia Tavrook. A diehard Serpentis slaver, the man who had debased her sister for six years, terrorised her for longer looked at her with hate in his eyes. Part of his face was covered by a chrome mask, a memento of the Carmilla's ex lover, William. He was the last person she wanted to talk to, but so many had turned their backs on her when she was enslaved. Gallicia however, owed her. And she was here to take payment.

"Hey, I don't owe you that much. Last I remember you were a slave, and you are still wearing the collar and cuffs."
"That was before. I've changed somewhat."
"Not from what I've heard. You used to be a bad ass woman. Now you bend over for holders and smile when they feed you shit."
He was quick, he deflected the first two hits but the third hit home, knocking his head back into the wall. Stunned he was helpless as she vaulted the table and pushed him up against the wall. His hand went to a knife which was knocked aside and kicked into the darkness. The other denizens looking on with humour in the dim lighting.
"You know what I need Gallicia. I have the isk. Can you do it?"
"You want to kill yourself fine. Pay up front."
She pulled out one of Esna's credsticks and funnelled isk into the slavers datatablet. It would be traced, but by then the datatablet would be in someone elses hands and the isk long since laundered.
"Maybe you are the same mad woman I remember. Be at the elevator in the green sector by the recycling in one our."
"We'll be there."
He looked at her funnily for a moment.
"You Gurista's crack me up. One hour."
She smiled and pulled Bethany away from a table of card players.
"Come on Beth. We have an hour to spare.... time to show you how bad this girl can be."
Over at the bar were two men, swarthy rogues by any other name. Certainly enough for them, and after a few muttered words Angelina, the two rogues and Bethany walked into one of the back rooms and it was quite obvious to the denizens what was going on there.

An hour later Angelina and Bethany waited at the elevator designated. With a change of clothes they looks like sisters now. Much of her innocence had gone, though there was still a little remaining.
"He will betray you, you will be forced to run again."
"Of course he will, he's Gallicia. But I need this more than I need him dead."
"You may live to regret that...."
"Maybe... but I'll be alive."
She nudged Bethany and pointed. Gallicia and two guards was approaching and stopped at the elevator.
"You ready for this?"
"I'm ready."
She tossed him the credstick and the final payment. He caught it, handed it to a guards and opened the elevator with a hidden passkey.
"Next stop, pod bay."

As they rode the elevator up into the levels usually reserved for capsuleers, towards the docking bays and pod control. For what seemed like an eternity the elevator rumbled upwards.
"He will betray you," she whispered.
"Shut up Bethany."
He looked up at her, caught her eye and smiled. The doors opened onto a wide level, the scents of the viscous pod lubricant were present, as well as the sounds of sirens, and the movements of the pods from the embarkation area to the docking bays. For all the sound, there were few people here, most in a control room overlooking everything.
"First we take out the control room. Gallicia, can you knock out the sensors and warning systems?"
"I can, but it's limited in time. Once they find my probes and knock them out they will know where you are and what you are doing."
"It's time enough."
"He will betray you. Beware the face of the enemy."
He looked over at her.
"You feeling allright? You up for this?"
"Yes," she lied.

Kicking in the door to the control room she ran in guns blazing. Technicians and operators died in a hail of bullets, the windows blew out and the howling wind from the docking bays swept in. She stripped naked, and hefted her guns. Gallicia licked his lips and she pointed her pistol at him.
"Save it Gallicia!"
Clicking several relays she activated the pod routines and heard Gallicia gasp.
"You lost the secondary and tertiary ports."
"Yes, Esna had them removed so I couldn't escape."
"This is suicide. You will die, you can't pod up without them!"
She smiled a dark forbidding smile as she flicked more relays and input some commands onto a console.
"I can, if I override the safetys. I wont' be able to do much more than fly, but I don't need to be able to do more than that. I'm escaping, not fighting."
"The scars have healed, you'll be punching into flesh...."
"I don't have the luxury of arguing with you Slaver. I have to do this and I'm going to do this. If I die... I die...."
"When you die that's it. Look, it's pulled up your clones... there are none."
"That cant' be helped. I'll get more clones when I get back to Guristas space. Bethany.... come on...."

She ran to the podding room and went with Bethany to the controls and started to access the controls. Bethany laughed, her laugh sounding like her own and she laughed to. The madness of this all was intense. She could die, and might. She had to evade capture first and that would be the difficult but.
"Bethany, go and wait with Gallicia. It's time this bitch returned to the pod."
She walked into the centre of the room and turned around. Bethany was gone.
"Gallicia.. is Bethany there?"
"For the love of all that is unholy... who the hell is Bethany?"

From the hidden darkness of the ceiling a cluster of jacks descended and began to interface with her. Primary... interfaced. Secondary jack pushed in, her flesh resisting the probing metal until it split under hte pressure. She screamed as the metal probe invaded her body. The tertiary jack probed her back, pushing at her spine. She moved just enough, just quickly enough as the jack pierced her back, missing her spine and smashing a rib. Blood poured down her back from the two missing ports, her screams loud and terrible. The remaining jacks fit themselves into ports that were there.

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. And blood.

Cocooned inside the pod, Angelina awoke to the alien sensation of being a pod. Static slammed into her and in the pod she screamed. The pod liquid was becoming tainted with her blood. In the control room the board was flashing warnings and alerts, all of which were nullified as the safetys were deactivated. Still, Gallicia was worried. Her vital signs were wavering, he had to get her to a ship quickly. In her state a warship would kill her, the secondary and tertiary jacks being needed for combat. With what she had, she could just fly a ship. If she was lucky. There was a 50/50 chance of her dying in the pod. He selected a ship, one he knew she could fly and imput the commands. As he watched the pod begin it's journey he looked around.
"Who the hell was Bethany he wondered."
He pulled a datatablet out of his pocket and linked it up to the console and began to download a set of data into the pod, uplift codes and backdoors.

When the pod interfaced with the ship Angelina's senses came alive. Mostly. She looked out from the hull of the sigil. The sensorium flashed up as the ships powercores and engines pulsed into life. Static filled several screens. The expected lists of targets didn't appear, only a dull throb somewhere near the aft quarter of the ship. Windows opened, each one with it's own handshake signal, weapons systems - negative, diagnostics - negative, drone bay- negative. Concentrating she begain to interrogate the ship.

AI Interface - Good Afternoon Trader Araski.
Sysop-IDent Display
Command IDent - Prorator - Quaffe Corporation - Araski's Wraith
Command IDent - Override Alpha One - IDent change....
Command IDent - Prorator - Errorerrorerrorerror - Error error
Command Confirm - Execute
Command IDent - Prorator - Quaffe Gurista Corporation - Error Code 342

-Warning Protocol Gamma Twelve - Danger - Pod habitat unsafe
-Warning - Pilot life signs 76% and dropping

Diagnostic Control - timestamp activated - node13 to node44 access denied
Diagnostic Control - timestamp activated - node44 NEGATIVE.... IVE... IVE
Command Diag Reboot
Command Diag Reboot
- Gurista Protocol Override Beta Beta intrustion detected
- Protocol denied.... denied... denied...
-Warning - Pilot life signs 74% and dropping

-Warning - Command Codes Overwritten - Danger
-Warning - Pilot life signs 72% and dropping

The sensorium shimmered and took on a slight red tinge. A diagnostic window opened, showing Angelina in the pod. Warnings flashed across the screen, more urgent.

-Warning Protocol Gamma Twelve - Danger - Pod habitat unsafe
-Warning - Pilot life signs 70% and dropping
-Pod ejection in ten.. nine...

Pod Eject Override - Theta Four - 00001
Command IDent - Overwrite Protocol Bank
Command IDent - System Bios Flash PRIORITY

For a brief moment navigational systems, repair systems, command and control all died. Then with a low whine the entire system rebooted and reloaded. New protocls began to be initiated. While the handshake initiated each window was red, then as they were accepted and control handed over to the pod they changed to green. Most of the windows however were red, with access to modules, parts of the ship, abilities nullified.

"Angelina to Gallicia, are you receiving?"
"I'm here. You have to get out of here quickly. Your life form readings are low, you are dying. You have maybe seven hours to get to wherever you are going."
"Is Bethany there?"
"Angelina. Who is Bethany? There is no one here? There has just been us the whole time youv'e been here! I'm used to your mad sister, but you.... you are infuriating!"
"Don't be stupid, she was with me."
"Angelina, you came here alone. There is no Bethany!"

Angelina access the stations systems, setting off alarms that rang the entire station and burrowed into the camera recordings for the time of her stay on the station. Every single one, even the ones down below... she was alone. She could see herself talking off to one side time and time again, places she remembered Bethany standing. Saw herself alone with the guys at the bar, saw their expressions as she talked to no one as they took her out back. Saw herself and Gallicia at the table, in the elevator... in the pod bay.

Was she going mad? Was this another of Gallicia's ploys?

No... realisation slowly dawned on her. Bethany, was in her mind. She needed someone and Bethany appeared. Bethany, the lively child who had an answer for everything. She had become Bethany as she was enslaved to Esna. She had followed him as Bethany would have, with childlike grace and devotion to an adult. A child, she had been. But the memory blocks the court had placed on her had broken, because someone knew they would be placed there and had inserted breaker switch. One that required a code be said.

Awake, Dark Fury

Yes, that was her, the name of her battlecruiser, the first one she had used to start piracy. Dark Fury. And she had been hidden away, buried away in memory blocks and reprogramming. And it had all broken, cascaded and Bethany was no longer needed as she regained who she was. Angelina, pirate, terrorist, murderer, not Angelina the slave.

The Prorator went to half power and lurched out of the docking bay, heading for the main passages and the way out of the station. Message handshakes from the traffic controlls were ignored, hails from the authorities blocked. She accelerated, ramming smaller ships and nudging aside larger vessels. The sensorium felt the probes of tracking devices, locking signals and ignored them. It's ion drive pushing the transport faster and faster.

In the pod Angelina swung the ship into a tight turn, bouncing literally off of a providence class frighter and headed towards the entrance to the docking bays. She could see in the distance that the protective iris was slowly cycling shut.

-Microwarp Drive - ten second burst - Mark

The prorator lurched, howling through the rapidly clearing channel. Ships in teh way were being smashed aside.

- Shield status 85%

Patrol crafts were attempting to lock the vessel, but the maneauvers being performed put too many other ships in their way, locking was becoming risky. She felt around the ship and tested the capabilities she could use.

-Shield status 74%
-Warning Protocol Gamma Twelve - Danger - Pod habitat unsafe
-Warning - Pilot life signs 68% and dropping

Navigation - Starchart update - Destination lock - Yvangier
Angelina Ballentyne - Enemies of the Empire are not permitted free travel
Deactivate your Engines and prepare to be boarded

Navigation - course laid in - gate located
Navigation - Docking speed exceeded

From her pod Angelina looked around her as she left the station. A small fleet has assembled to try and lock her down, but none of them were expecting her to come out with microwarp drives on full. The transport cannoned past the blockade and into the space beyond. As they turned their ships and began to lock, the ship entered warp.

In her pod Angelina mused. She was dying, but in doing so, she realised she was now alive. Free for as long as she could stay ahead of Esna and those he would send after her.

First... a doctor. Then return to null space...

Then revenge......

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Reflections of Light and Shadow

This is Rocking Ricky, bringing you all the mad sounds of the moment and of the past in a stellarcast straight from the Great Wildlands. Broadcasting to you around the region, into the next region and all across the cosmos. But enough of all that, you are here for the music, and the music is what we do. Send all your requests to the usual place, and while you listen to this remember.... keep your ears open and your scanner pulsing. There have been a lot of gate camps, again this is nothing new, but for all you newbies out there, stay in Empire. Null space is not for you. This is Cargo Clash from the Miska V Rebellion....

1st reflection....

Carmilla D'Morenta slowly went though the moves of the dance she was performing with a quiet perfection. The Khanid Dance of a Tranquil Winter is a most dificult one, requiring perfect concentration and timed movements, not easy when clad in the traditional kimono and wielding the decorative fans. Her face a mask of painted beauty she moved through the dance to the accompanyment of the musicians, themselves geisha who were mistresses of the dance. Each failure she made would be noticed and remembered, and she would have to repeat the whole dance. The music pushed her towards each position, timed the pauses and the movement to the next, all had to be done with exquisite timing, with flawless perfection, and absolute dedication. The flicking open of the fans had to be done correctly, the distances exact, the angles just right.

As the last note sounded she paused in the final pose, the one known as winters end, both fans extended upwards, on arms already tired and exerted, balanced on legs that would have shaken with fatigue were they not hidden behind the silken skirts of the kimono. Her face looking directly forward at those she danced for. She held her pose.

The four geisha looked at her, then at each other and nodded.
"You may relax now."
Carmilla folded her fans and took her place before them, kneeling carefully, again in precise form and with attention to detail in the exact centre of the training dojo. She bowed deeply then sat back on her heels.
"You have attained that which is rare for an outsider. You have performed a perfect Dance of Tranquil Winter. How many times have you seen the Dance and performed it?"
"Four times, and performed it sixteen."
One by one the four geisha approached her and one at a time and bowed, to which she returned it. A servant entered and opened the windows to the room, the gentle breeze that filled the room was scented with the jungle outside and stired the incense smoking in the four corners. Once more, she had perfected something. And now she must perform it again. As ever, timing was important, already she could hear her approach, her heart beating faster and she knew now that the camera's were being turned back on. All over the House of Autumn Breeze geisha and guest alike were getting ready to watch a performance.

Ithiria Deritan, clad in a crimson kimono decorated with silver dragons seemed to float across the floor as she entered the training dojo. She looked every inch the noble she was, if ever the beauty of the Khanid was to be expressed, it was here. Perfection beyond necessity. In the centre of the room Carmilla had bowed and was waiting for permission to start. Ithiria took her place on one of the chairs and looked down. Before her, about to dance probably the most important dance of her life, a geisha of personal importance. Her geisha.

"Begin," she whispered, and watched as the four Mistresses of the Dance took their places behind her, and began to play the music. Carmilla danced. Not for herself, not for the Mistresses of the Dance who had already acknowledged her achievement, but for Ithiria. She danced, for her Mistress. Ithiria watched with perfect calmness as Carmilla danced for her. No emotion was shown, there would be time for that later.

There are many who say that slavery is good for the economy. Well to those I say this.... try it. Ever noticed how those who say slaver is good are those who have the slaves? I'm not sure I've ever heard a slave say they wanted to be one. It's just not done, it's not right, and I raise a glass now to those who go out above and beyond to rescue those poor unfortunates. I remember last week the gang I was interviewing for GWS came across a slaver convoy and tore them a new one... this is going out to you. Living on a Prayer, by the Great Bo.

2nd Reflection...

Angelina sat at the table in her Masters quarters and assembled the laser rifle piece by piece. Over the past few days more and more warnings had come to her. Something was going to happen. Although it was somewhat blurred about what it was. There were the usual messages warning of everything from kidnapping to assassination. Both for her and her Master. Most of them she ignored, they were nothing to worry about. She had stopped both before and not even told him they had happened. It was true he cared about her, but sometimes she worried. What would happen to her if Esna wasn't around. Threading more parts together she oiled and charged various parts. She has looked into it. It was not good reading, if Esna was found by the court to be unable to follow it's mandate, she would be put up for auction again. There was no telling what would happen in that case. Snapping the last piece together she aimed at the far wall and pressed the trigger. A beam of ruby light speared towards the target. Perfection.

Of course, as a capsuleer she could have escaped at any time. Death is no barrier for an immortal. But the court had thought of that. She walked towards the docking bay, Bethany by her side talking about the lastest batch of results on their inventions. Death is no barrier, but by removing the secondary and tertiary pod implant ports it made her virtually useless in any ship that could be used for combat. 'Able to mine and haul for perpetuity' they had said. And with the technology for the reimplantation in hands she had no access to.... she was grounded.

Together they boarded the transport and headed to the passenger quarters. There would be time, there were black clinics on the edges of caldari space that had the ability, but they were in the hands of people who would sell her back in a heart beat. So for the moment, she endured. Not that she was unhappy. Her Master was a powerful lover and considerate, even with her punishments. Time and time again people she knew had offered to help her escape her bondage. But no, it was not time. Not yet. She was not ready, her soul had not been saved. And still the screams could be heard. In time they would fade, but it was not now, not time. Not yet.

So strange that the Basillica was one of the few places the screams were silent. And so strange that people were so accepting there. So far. In that bastion of the Amarr. Still, with the light there comes shadow, and eventually I will be able to walk back in the light.


So I was in Balginia the other day on a trip to get some more records for you listeners. And what happened? Some punk tried to gank my ship. Well he was in for a surprise as Concord was awake that day and they tore him a new one. And not long after the dust had settled, what happened? A rifter flew through the wreckage, ram scooped the debris and flew off. Even here in Empire there are still those who prey on the weak, and when they are dead, those who scavange the remains. Here is a cold cup of coffee for those lovable rats, this is Twisted Rifter Desire by Rat Rat and Rat.

3rd Reflection...

The viator 'Quaffee Express' docked with a grace which belied it's size, it's pilot guiding it in beside a large Orca class vessel. Even before the engines had been powered down the cargo ramps had been lowered and crew were unloading dozens of large crates and boxes. Null-lift cargo platforms buzzed between the two vessels, for every box that went to the orca another returned, exactly the same. The whole operation lasted barely five minutes. When it was complete the viator powered down it's engines and indicated to the customs officials that it was safe to enter. Victor Ballentyne, walked towards the ship with the customs officials.
"You know it's not necessary for you to accompany us Mr Ballentyne."
"Nonsense, this is my ship and anyway I have to collect some papers from the captain. Who you have to see anyway."
The three of them walked to the ship, Victor following not the least because of his limp, walking with his stick. Onboard the last of the cargo was sealed away properly and the customs seals from Amarr Prime were resealed. Victor smiled as he watched the Orca undock and maneauver, it's bulk heading out and to the next destination. If everything had been performed properly then the latest batch of pharmacuticles would be in Eystur by tomorrow morning. By that time he would be back in Amarr space, back on the Deritan estates.

He picked up a datatablet and checked the ship manifest, then input his personal code and checked the real cargo manifest. Everything was going as it should do, the money was coming in, the Serpentis were getting their share. Clicking a flashing icon he read the latest mails to arrive. The first was another threat against Angelina, he deleted it. The second a potential threat against Carmilla, that was more interesting, but increasingly futile. Deleted. Skimming through the mails, most were deleted until he came to the last one. Which stopped him cold.

To: Victor Ballentyne
From: Galicia Tavrook

I do not begrude your treachery Victor, as Serpentis we are used to the stabs in the back. I give you this warning, for all the times we drank together and whored as friends. Look to the stars. For I have returned.

Galicia... last he heard Carmilla's ex had brutalised him and left him a scarred and beaten wreck who had lost everything. His estates, holdings and possessions were now Victors. Even his personal slaves were now Victors. A lesser man would have been worried. But I am now in charge, with powers beyond what you had Gallicia. Delete.

The two customs officers had left, but where they were they had left a black envelope on one of the cargo pods. He picked it up and opened it. It contained three pictures. Ithiria, Carmilla and Angelina, all current pictures by the date stamps. Why now? He could ruin everything.... Let him come. He was the Master now, and Gallicia the apprentice.

Murder! Wherever I go it seems to be on the rise. And not just ordinary murders, some of the ones the local police have found in Lonetrek are on the increase. The police just say it is crazies out to destabilise the establishment. Well I say it's more than that, I've hacked the reports, I've seen the pics. These were not random, they were deliberate, systematic and.... well I've said enough.... but there is more, lots more and not just in Lonetrek. Time for something heavy, this is Dead Weight Drop by Lord Kami.....

4th Reflection

It was carnival time in the Caldari port city, the streets were full of people dancing, laughing and making merry. The music was loud and cacophonic, but celebrations were a serious business for the Caldari. People danced, entertained, loved, some just watched. As it was, it was no surprise no one heard the high pitched piercing scream.

The knife flashed dramatically in the dim light of the alleyway as it stabbed downwards into the young woman. As it came back up the now red blade spattered droplets up the wall, covering a grimy poster. Each time it came back up the poster was covered with more and more blood. The body slumped to the floor and the killer went to work. With deft swipes the clothes were cut and pulled aside. A small bag was opened and a variety of medical instruments were pulled out, the body quickly opened up, the hands moved quickly, with skill, experience, and more shockingly, with untold familiarity. Certain organs and glands were removed as well as a sample of the blood and placed in small storage containers. The killer closed the bag and wiped hands on the remains of the womans dress and stepped out of the alley. Just as a couple walked in, drunk, staggering, hands all over each other, eyes only for each other..... until one of them looked up as they passed, into her eyes for a split second.

She waited there, bag in hand and heard the scream, the two screams. Damn, she though as she pulled the silenced pistol from her pocket and turned back into the alley. She shot the man in the side of the head, his brain and gore splattering his woman who wiped him off her then screamed. Her second shot too her in her mouth.
"Such a waste," she said out loud, watching the two body twitch,"But I don't have the time."
She slipped the pistol away and walked into the street, a few more alleys and streets and she was lost in the throng of the carnival.

The next morning the news-casts were all about the tripple murder in the darkhaven district. Doctor Kim Leander sat in the high class room of the starports most prestigious hotel and scowled at the news. There were words like maniac, evil, and threats of retribution against the murderer. Claims from the police they were moments away from catching the villian responsible. Looking over at her medical bag and the small boxes of samples that were now transfered into proper medical transfer containers she just smiled. They had never caught her yet. And were not going to today. Just a pity she had to waste two perfect bodies, still, it was a large universe. There were plenty more to harvest. With her serum, she literally had all the time in the world.

Well that's all for me, Rocking Ricky this day and I hope you have enjoyed the last few hours of heavy metal. I know it's wrong to say it, but I have been looking at the slave markets, and it's amazing to see what you can get, also what is on offer. Freedom is something we all take for granted, and those that do be warned, evil is out there and it could come to you. For the rest of us, fight fight and fight again. There is darkness out there, but also light, and remember, in between the two and around the edges there is shadow. Freedom Fighters of the universe unite, especially if you tune in to the Great Wildlands Stellarcast! This is Rocking Ricky signing off......

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Love Hurts

Carmilla sat in the chair and looked up at the statue she had created. Ithiria, her love, her wife. Caressing her hand and the ring without realising she stared at the statues face. Ithiria. How I have forsaken you, how badly I have treated you..... I hope you will forgive me my sins.

And yet her body still ached from her time with Mizhara. The pleasure, the pain.... had given her what was Ithiria's to take. Her mind still full of the memories, the possibilities. Her needs and desires. How easy it would have been to have broken her promise. Like she broken her promise to Ithiria...

I refused to submit to you, and yet I would have so easily done so last night. To Mizhara. Would have dropped to my knees and begged her to take me. Only this thin metal band stoped me, and as much as I wanted her, the thought of taking the ring off never crossed my mind. She knew, she saw it in my eyes. If she had asked.... I would have fallen regardless. But she didn't..... because of you.

I love you Mizhara, and I love my Ithiria. I think in their heart of hearts they both know what I will choose, who I will be with..... it just remains to be seen how far I have to go to prove my love. Things were so easier when I didn't have to make these decisious. Freedom, a prison by another name.

How far am I willing to go....

For the one I love....

We shall see tonight. One way or another.
Love hurts.