Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Stars Would Have Burned!

Personal Log - The hour of understanding, the day of judgement

Once again I am in awe at my logs ability to show what I am thinking. Where, oh where to start? Where do I start talking? Where do I start understanding? Where do I start the realisation?

On one level, I can't remember a time when I didn't know Mizhara in one way or another. For me, personally, my voyage of discovery with the enigmatic woman began in the Horned Masquerade. That floating asteroid of hers, her home hidden in the stars in the Great Wildlands. Quite like my own, but mine is much smaller, less grande, less forbidding. To walk into the Masquerade was to walk out of reality and into fantasy. At least, that is what I thought back then. I was to come to an understanding then that what I thought was reality might not actually have been true. But then, she was trying to make me understand that my choices, namely becoming a slave willingly to a Holder was wrong. When so many of our people were slaves from birth, or taken as slaves, she wanted to show me the error of my ways. She wanted to save me.

Had I been less of a stubborn harridan, I dare say it would have worked, and.. it almost did. From that day, to which several people have remarked, I was bound to her. Not by ideology, or chains, simply by the fact that we were two of a kind. And, were I not by my own choice, the property of Ithiria, who is to say what our union would have created. I think the very stars would have burned.

The skein of my past has the three of us intertwined, Carmilla, Mizhara, and Ithiria. I mean, for so long the three of us were at each others throats. Mizhara teaching Ithiria, Ithiria ruling me, and me... looking at them both in wonder. It was like seeing two titans fighting. Always I was on my knees to one, then to both of them. Mizhara teaching me submission, Ithiria demanding obedience in her own particular way. The greatest torment being when Ithiria chose Mizhara over me.

That.... I think now looking back, was the crossroads. Oh, I fought for my Mistress, I fought and it may be seen that I won, but at what cost. I danced for them both as I could not have what I wanted. I gave myself to the fire. Felt it wash over me.

So how is it that I can think kindly upon this woman who literally tortured me to see her point of view? Who stole my wife and on more than one occasion threatened to kill me? Maybe because, now I can see that she was right. She planted in me that day a seed. That seed has now come to fulfillment.

I missed the great fight that took place at the Masquerade when the fleets clashed. When Ithiria triumphed. It was thought that Mizhara had died when the fusion reactor blew.

I knew better.

I was a survivor, so was Mizhara.

I asked for permission to go and aid an old friend. I was vague in my request as I know Kikia would have refused me to go. But I made sure there were safeguards and she acquiesced. And so I found her. It was a shock to say the least. I found her in the throne room, a place I had been before with such fear and loathing and admiration. Now I stood there watching her looking through a gaping hole in space, protected by a forcefield, looking at the star. There was no fear, which I think at the time surprised me. And so I stood there and watched with her. The slavers mark which was on her I had heard about, but never seen. And we stood and talked. She even remarked upon the irony of it all, the slave became the freedom fighter. The freedom fighter became the slaver.

And we reached another crossroads. Ever the path of my life has had Mizhara in it. But the path I chose, was to Kikia and the Teraa Matar.

I could have stayed there. In the ruins of her greatness, with the power dying and the radiation seeping down corridors dark and forbidding. With the two of us there, the air would have run out in a week and we would have died. To which I replied, At least you wouldn't die alone.

But I walked away, maybe for the last time. Eventually the air will run out, or the power will die, and she will.... die. And her clan will rejoice as her slaver mark is a sentence of death to them, and the people she betrayed. But I cannot look harshly upon her. I never have been able to, in reality, despite what people believe. Did I love her? Yes. Did I want to be hers? Yes. Was she a friend? Yes, I like to think so. No one else went looking for her, only me. But then, that is what I do. I find people.

And what would have happened if all those years ago I had stayed with her, in the Masquerade and become hers? The stars would have burned!

Carmilla pressed send and watched the datatablet update. She walked from the meditation dome back down to the kitchen and sat at the table. A cup of tea in her hand she waited and watched the stars. Somewhere nearby she could hear her corp members coming back from another successful mission. She turned, and with a smile saw her shaman, who also saw her and smiled. Another cup was poured and as she leant against Carm, Kikia sipped her tea. She looked up at Carmilla with her amber eyes.
"Hey, how'd your thing go?"
And she told her, told her everything. As she always had told her everything.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Carmilla paced her partment like an animal. So many conflicting thoughts running through her head. So many questions, so many answers, but which ones were the right ones.

Personal Log - The hour of uncertainty, the day of joy

One day I will get to the bottom of how this log works. Yes, a day of joy as I am happy. Everything that I have set out to do today has come to fruition, even my foray out into lowsec came off without a hitch. Though I was in a cloaked transport. It was interesting to see.... how everything works.

But an hour of uncertainty... I'm not sure what it is with this place. I am happy and content. And yet every time I speak to people inside I judge myself. Such as with Astrid, I could hear the tone in her voice, though I could not see the look on her face. How can I face these people when I voluntarily became what they were forced to be. I am changing, becoming more... more.... Oh god, I wish she was here. She has all the answers. And yet... I look at this picture... I just can't....

With a curse Carmilla picked up the picture frame and threw it, smashing it against the wall.
No more, she thought to herself, no more. I am here now.. to stay. She cannot touch me.

Things change. People change. I have changed.

Log Addendum

After the last time when I stormed out to save her because of a dream I had, which may or may not have been with the guidance of the spirits, I watched her go out to fight alone as I waited. There was no panic this time. Just pride.

I know now that I am here to stay, with her. She sees so much potential in me, and she will be there for me regardless. I just need to do more for her. For both of them.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Tasukete Kure

The rifter class frigate tore across the black depths of space. It stopped monetarily to access a jump gate, its entirety of being projected light years away to a new system. The hunters were waiting, three sleek golden ships, their double hulls shimmering in the suns rays. With skill the rifter shook the hunters and fled into space, but they had scented the prey. The hunt was on.

She stood on a plain of ashes looking at a building in the distance. It was a ugly building, with all the looks of an insane asylum. Black clouds seamed with silver boiled past, far to fast and yet no wind stirred the ashed she walked across. In the distance she saw the figure standing by the door, beckoning her, and she could hear far off the sounds of barking and tinkling laughter. Slowly she ran to the building, the feeling like running through treacle, of pushing through invisible barriers of paper until she came to the door.

Up close she recognised the building for what it was and shuddered. She had heard of these places. Her skin crawled as she opened the door and walked in. Hearing the laughter up ahead she tried to be brave, but the walls and floors looked to be covered with filth and debris and rubbish. The walls scrawled with curses and names and numbers. Water dripped down from where sections of the roof were missing and she saw ahead, through a hole in the floor the white figure that beckoned her, a small girl. Again, the tinkling laugh, but always the background sound of the barking.

She walked through a broken door into a room, the rows of beds brought horror to her mind. The travesty that this place was was not lost on her, and to find a girl here was a heart rending. The fourth bed, the girl was sitting on. From what she could see, only wearing a long thin shift. Kneeling down before her, she looked into the girls face. Two golden eyes looked out at her, from a face that was like hers. Sebiestor, but with signs of Amarri parentage. She was about to say something when the girls spoke first, in a voice that was ageless.
"You shouldn't be here. They are coming. They are coming and you need to be there."
The girl pointed and on instinct Carmilla turned her head. Gone were the walls of the facility, only the ash plains remained, the girls standing beside her.
"Where... what's happening?"
"You are needed. They are in trouble. The hounds are coming and if you do not help her they will both die."
"Who? What hounds? I dont understand."
She pointed again, on the horizon shapes were coming, three golden shapes, slavering hounds. Coming straight for them. Carmilla picked up the girl and turned and ran. She ran til her feet bled and the breath in her lungs burned and still they came.
"You cannot escape them as they are after her. They are after me. Save me."
The voice changed to that of a small girl and she stopped and looked at the girl, really looked at her, recongnition flashed in her eyes and she dropped to her knees. The girls small hand came up and ruffled her hair then screamed as the hounds surrounded them.
"Save us!"

Carmilla opened her eyes and reached out her hand screaming.
Sitting up she looked around, the room was empty. Maeve. How could it be. She hadn' t been born yet. But, she would be the daughter of a shaman, the power would be there, the essence. And that essence was in trouble. Not just Maeve, but also Kikia! She ran, not because her life depended on it, but because both their lives might depend upon her!

Still half naked she arrived in the hanger bay, causing more than a few people to comment. Tapping in her command codes on the hanger door she ran in an over to the hanger supervisor.
"What ships of mine are ready to go now?"
"Now? None of them. We are still checking them all over on the maintenance schedule."
"All? I must have a ship!"
"Well, there is that one. It was transfered here yesterday for, from...." He checked the list on his wall,"Constance Leannder."
"Ma? My mother sent me a ship?"
"Yeah. It's quite a beauty."
He looked around and pointed at the far end of the hanger. Carmilla looked and gasped, then smiled.
"Is she ready to fly?"
"You think we'd let you fly a ship untested? Carm, I'm shocked. Crystals were polished this morning, spares available. I'm not sure on the name though."
"It's her prophecy. The Tasukete Kure. She said one day I'd understand."
"Yeah, but what does it mean?"
"It means, Save Me, in Khanid. Quickly, where did Kikia Truzhari go today? It's important."
"She went to the warzone. Usually along the Myridian Strip."
"Then that's were I'm going.... prophecy, heh. I just hope I'm in time."

The rifter pulled into a tight turn, spatters of laser fire careening off of it's shields. Its return volley peppered one of the executioners twin hulls with high velocity autocannon rounds, but still it chased her. Alarms were sounding, the sensors were detecting another disruption of the warp field as the second ship returned, it's armour repaired. Emerald beam lasers slammed into the hull, detonating one of the engine pods, sending her spinning out of control. Deep in the ship, the pod pilot began to scream as she felt the pain of her ship. Around her the hunters had her pinned, and on her scans she could see other hunters were coming. Larger ships, eager for a kill. She regained control and headed for the safety of the jump gate, as fast as her damaged ship could go.

Despair set in as the other ships landed infront of her. Two omens and an arbitator. But she had been in worse than this. Her shields failed as she reached the gate, and another explosion tore through the hull as the gate activated and she was flung to the next system. The hunters followed, but again, she was quick enough to evade. For the moment.

They caught her on the far side of the next gate. Her ship was too badly damaged, leaking fuel. It was just a matter of time. She pulsed the shield generator, trying to get as much out of the battered system while trying to vector back to the jump gate. Already the warp drive was failing, the field disrupted, her afterburner was out of fuel. Her velocity slowed as webifiers caught her in their spiders web and she was brought to a stop, surrounded by her enemies. The comms crackled as a gruff voice with an Amarrian accent hailed her.
"Surrender, rebel. Your ship will be destroyed and your pod will be towed to the nearest station for transport to the Empire. You cannot escape so eject before you are removed from that flying junk heap."
She sent coded signals for help, but knew that it was too late. Her instruments detected the jamming field. Out here, in the darkness, alone. Tears of rage filled her, No! I will not go back to that. Never!
"I will never surrender! I will die rather than submit to you animals! Is this how many it takes of you nobles to bring done one Matari? Cowards! The lot of you!"
Her ships weapons fired, but no damage was done to her enemies, she realised, they were repairing each other.
By the spirits of my ancestors, help me. Save me! I implore you!

The ship came out of the sun marked by the detonation of the executioners as a hail of pulse laser fire tore into them. The local comchannels were awash with a scream, a scream of anger, a scream of hate, a scream of utter desperation.
"Teraaaa Matarrriiiiii!!!!!!"

Kikia Truzhari checked her screens and saw the prophecy charge into the frey, pulse laser fire slammed into the smaller ships before it rammed their damaged hulls, knocking the broken ships away. It swung around, now taking fire from the omens who began to gain range, the drones from the abitrator screamed away. As she checked her systems she noticed the warp drives powering back up.
"Kikia! Get the hell out of here!"
She didn't recongise the ship, or the name stencilled across the side of it. No symbol of corporation was there either. But she recongised the voice.
"I'll hold them as long as I can. Get out, save yourself!"
The prophecy unleashed a flight of drones and started to lead them away from her.
"I can't leave you like this! I won't!"
"Save yourself! Save your child! Thats more important."
Over the channel she could hear the alarms from the prophecy. In the distance she saw the other ships arrive. New ships, drawn to a new foe. They were heavily outnumbered.
"I wont leave you! I wont leave a corp mate behind. I wont leave a friend to be taken by them!"
"Kikia... do it for Maeve! Save her...."
The channel closed as explosions ripped through the side of the battlecruiser and she turned to the gate, limping as fast as she dared. She looked back at the prophecy and saw it turning towards her, trying to make it to the gate. With a heavy heart, she activated the gate sequence.

She opened her eyes and found herself looking into the broadside barrels of a tempest. Several other ships were there, a gate camp. But a loyalist one! Two ships targetted her and she could almost feel her ship repairing, rejuvenating. A voice came over her comm systems, a soft voice, brutor by the inflections.
"Do not worry, little sister. We are here and we will protect you. The way home is clear, fly with honour."
"How can I fly with honour when my friend is on the other side. Dying to protect me and my child?"
"You carry the next generation of warrior for your tribe?"
"Not in this clone, no, but she did not know that. Such is the loyalty I command.... I am a Shaman of the Star Fire clan, my daughter will follow in my footsteps! Now in the name of our people, follow me! Follow me to victory against our ancient foes!"
The air was filled with the battlecries of the small fleet as her message was transfered from ship to ship. One, then two, then all of them accelerated to the gate.

On the far side the surviving Amarr ships surounded the devastated battlecruiser when the frigate reappeared. They laughed and turned to face the rebel who had tried to come back. Their laughter was cut as the fleet appeared, battleships and cruisers unleashed hell and the battle was joined. The Amarr had no chance, and no quarter was given.

A few hours later, protected by the fleet the rifter and the prophecy docked at the Abudban station. Carmilla waited outside the docking bay until Kikia walked up to her, a stern look on her face.
"We need to talk Carmilla. Come with me, that... is an order."
Carmilla nodded and followed her into the debriefing room. Save me, she wondered. How did Constance know, what else hasn't she told me.
"Carm, I want to know what the hell happened out there."
"You were in trouble. I didn't want you to loose your..."
Kikia grabbed Carm by the scruff of the neck and brought their faces together.
"I don't fly like that. I protect my own, she never flies into combat with me. Always in my combat clone. And how the hell did you know I was in trouble?"
"Maeve told me..."
"She... that's impossible."
Kikia let go of Carm and looked at her.
"Tell me everything, dont' leave anything out. This is important!"
Carmilla rubbed her neck and sat down and related the dream to her. When she finished she looked up at her, a strange expression on her face.
"Regardless, I wouldn't do anything different."
"But I almost lost you Carm...."
"You didn't though."
"It's an ominous sign though. Something is coming. Something... insidious. I'll need to talk to the other Shamans about this. You did good Carm. But I swear if you do anything like that again...."
Carmilla just smiled.
"But you know I will."
They both just smiled.

Saturday, 24 March 2012


The resteraunt in a small leafy park on the main walk of the station was old and quaint. Traditional food and good wine meant most people enjoyed their meals, sitting at the old oak tables and revelling in the sights and sounds. At one table, two people sat at a secluded table. They were speaking, or to be more precise, he was speaking... she was listening.

Carmilla slowly clenched her fist when he stopped talking.

There was no change in the expression on her face but the sound of her nails scratching into the wooden table, scoring the decades old wood caused the man before her to back away slightly. He knew what she was like, what the family was like.

She blinked and wiped her mouth with the napkin. It was over. There could be no going back now, not after what was just said. It didn't just change things, it changed everything.

Who she was....

What she was....

Why... she was....

Did she think she didn't love her anymore? Was that it? That she had forgotten, that she... But then that was it wasn't it. She looked at the Teraa Matar badge on her flight jacket, cast lazily over the spare chair. So much had changed since the exile. But always she thought there would be a way back. After all, they were more than just slave and Mistress, they were lovers. They were married.

"I'll go to her. I'll explain everything."
"If you do then everything you have done will be for nothing. You will be arrested and detained. Your status as a runaway slave is now a matter of public knowldge. And you know the Khanid laws. You stood up once and extolled their virtues. You took them to the extreme and danced for her in court."
"I was...."
He cut her off with a stroke of his hand slamming onto the table.
"There are no excuses. By the hand of the Empress, Carmilla. You are a fugitive! It doesn't matter that you are fighting for what you believe, you left her. You ran away. And because of that it's not just my people that are after you, its the Caldari as well. Notices went up to the border patrols along with the usual lists of troublemakers. Maybe if you hadn't joined your corp something could have been done about it."
"I can't help the call of my people."
"I've heard the calls of your people, in the mines and the plantations and in their beds. It's a call you made willingly as a slave. Now you are faced with the penalty of what you have done."

She sat silently, digesting what had been said. Sadness filled her features and she took the knife from the table and tested the edge. He looked at her impassively. Grabbing her hair she cut the knife through the long ponytail she had and threw it on the table, ruffling her hair.
"She'll probably send someone after me. Not to bring me back as I thought she might, but to bring me back in chains for the block. I know her. I know what she's capable of. I know the levels to which she'll go. But I'll fight her. And whoever she sends."

Carmilla pulled the ring from her finger, the ring that had stayed there for so long. Her wedding band. She placed it on the table and slammed the knife into it, pinning it to the table. Standing up she pulled on her jacket and beckoned to the owner who tried to protest at the knife.
"Someone will come and ask about me. You leave that ring there until they come. No one touches it, no one moves it. This should cover the loss of trade on that table."
She handed him a creditjack and pulled out a communicator.
"I wish I didn't have to do this, but I was planning it anyway, since the Governor had his way. I must protect my girls...."
"I know. Do you need..."
She held up a hand and broke into a smile as the connection was made.
"Whisper, this is Carm. We're moving. Get the girls out now, you have the location of my asteroid safehouse. Leave the rest to the men to do, they have the new location where our house will be. And Whisper.... be careful. Trust only the Teraa Matar."
Slipping the comm back into her bag she looked at her friend and smiled.
"You don't trust me?"
"Officially I'm not allowed to. You are the enemy after all."
"Unofficially.... a few days ago I'd have said no. But now, I need all the friends I can get. Now you'll excuse me, I have to move my home and my girls."
She leaned over and kissed his cheek and then departed.

Several hours later a tall minmater woman walked into the resteraunt and looked at the knife. A picture was taken, the knife removed and the ring slipped into a pocket.
"We missed her. But she left you a message. I'll hand it to you when I see you."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Midnight Reflections

This is Rocking Ricky, bringing you all the mad sounds of the night and the darkest day in a stellarcast straight from the Great Wildlands. Broadcasting to you around the planet, around the system, around the region!
I remember back in the day when Titans were the mother of all ships. Now everyone has one. And when one dies it no longer brings a sense of awe, it's just something that happens. So when Pandemic Legion loose one of those it's seen as a big thing because one of the big boys lost his toys stupidly. Personally, I dont care. I'm just here for the music. And here is a hot cup of quaffe from Terminal Velocity and their number one hit Inferno Blues...

1st Reflection

From the windows of the captain quarters of the carrier Victor Ballentyne stood naked and watched the staging area. Dozens of ships flew past, their ion trails glimmering agaisnt the starlight. He held out his hand and a glass was placed into it. Without looking he drank, held out the glass and let go. With a smile he watched the progress his forces had made. A cyno was lit and two more carriers warped in, the sigil of the Serpentis on their hulls.

Turning he looked upon the four women before him. Four slaves, once all high born Khanid, bought or obtained, now just slaves for his pleasure. He laughed as he selected one and dragged her by the chain on her collar towards the bed and picked up a whip. The old clock on the desk struck midnight as the first of the lashes fell.

So I found myself in Jita the other day, quite a departure from my usual trading hub of Rens. And what struck me was not the amount of trade that goes through the system, but the general advertising and nonsense that comes from those in the system. So much is on offer there, and so many people are out to make a quick buck, but some of them have no idea. Personally when I go looking for a freighter I'm going to notice getting a lump of carbon instead of vast lump of metal. But, as the song goes, trade with the devil on the high winds of jita. Here is the song now, High Winds by the Cobaly Sunset Band....

2nd Reflection

Carmilla staggered out of the hanger bay and into the gardens of the Kenkii. Her pale pink kimono was torn and stained, her hair ragged and her makeup ruined by the tears. She sat with her back to one of the trees, out of the line of the security cameras and started to weep.

Just hours before everything was happy, sitting here drinking tea while explaining the running of a Geisha House. Now, everything had changed. Angelina, returned to her after so many months away at the wars, only to be taken away. Back into slavery, or worse. The Governor of the system not caring, only demanding his tribute.

The trials of a heretic slave did not concern him. Only this treason, he said, now pay me or I burn this place down. How simple it would have been to take him up on it, and to watch it burn. Watch them all burn, but then, that was so familiar wasn't it. SHE would have done that. But hesitation to some men is all they need and the following hours were not pleasant. But it saved the House. Was this the same shame that Angelina felt when she was with the Admiral? Does rank matter? Will the stench of shame ever truly be cleaned? Or does it require blood, the blood of ones enemies?

As the wind chimes tinkled gently in the breeze there was a throbing from her inside pocket, her datatablet was reminding her of the time. It was just past midnight. Not caring she closed her eyes and slept.

I was offered a slave today, in part payment for a ship I was selling. Its true, the slave was gorgeous and any man would have given his eye teeth for her, but it did make me sad. There I was thinking that slavery was on the way out, that the high and mighty of the Amarr Empire had seen the light. But not so it seems when you get out to Providence. Out there you can still buy and sell slaves on the block, or trade them in for a new ship. Personally I just bought her then gave her her own papers and said she was free. What do I need with a slave? But then again, I also dont need the camp outside who were out to get me. And for this little who I couldn't take with me I give you the somber sounds of Knives of the Matar by the Sinqai Orchestra....

3rd Reflection

The cell was twelve feet square, the walls were padded, the floor polished stone. In one wall a simple wash basin sat next to a toilet. The most basic of amenieties, but there the luxury ended. No bed, no blankets, just the heavy chain going from the centre of the floor to the thick collar around her neck. It allowed her to reach every corner of the room, not that she could have gotten through the locked door even if she tried. Looking up at the light in the ceiling she frowned, was it getting darker in her?

The padding on the walls was the warmest part of the cell, and she wedged herself into the corner. Looking up she could feel her pulse racing, it was getting darker. Standing below it she couldn't reach the light, it was too far over head so she went to the door, the grill was letting light in from the room beyond. She could hear the guards talking and the music from the vid they were watching. Above her, the light dimmed perceptively and she tried to pull the chain so she was closer to the door.

With a slam the grate on the door was closed and the only light was rapidly dimming. Backing into the corner she sat down and tried to make herself as small as she could, her breathing fast and the fear turning her bowels to ice. The light went out and she sobbed. The silence and the darkness were deafening. She tried to talk to herself, to remind herself of the battles she had fought, of the friends she had and to recite lists she knew. But the cold was sapping her, and the fear was all encompasing. Running at the door she slammed herself against it, pounding on it with the heavy shackles on her wrists. Scratching at the door like a wild beast she screamed, a frightened scream, a pleading scream. But no one came. Back in the corner of the cell she sat and whimpered against the darkness. In her mind, all she could hear was the silence, the deafening silence, then the skittering. It wasn't real, but in the tortured mind of Angelina Ballentyne, the insects were coming again, as they had done so when she was a small girl and was punished in the pit.

To the guard outside, the screams when they started again sounded like the screaming of the damned. Which, of course, she was. He turned and looked at the clock on the wall, just passed midnight.

Well that is all we have time for tonight. Remember when you are out in Empire and you look around.... Sansha could be anywhere. Think you are safe? Well you are not, and now you know what it's like out here in the edge of civilisation. But dont take my word for it, come see. Bring your friends. This is Rocking Ricky signing off to the cool tunes of Maximum Passion and the Sansha Babes.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Return

Carmilla and Whisper stood as they watched a new Geisha. The young sebiestor was performing a dance piece for them and they both watched with a judgemental eye. Outside they both heard the sound of a landing shuttle but ignored it, concentrating on their new protoge.
"I think, Whisper, she needs more time to learn. But she is close, very close. Let her train with Stella, they can do well together."
"I'll arrange that, my dear."
"How are the arrangements for tonight?"
"The governor and about twenty of his entourage, not counting the guards who will be in the area."
"Make sure Ithiria's guards are gone. The last thing I need is an incident. It's going to be a long enough night as it is."

Carmilla and Whisper walked towards the main hall. Whisper flowed along in her kimono, whereas Carmilla in her suit clicked along the marble floor. Since she had joined the Teraa Matar, the Governor of Seshala had turned the comchannels red with anger. Some of the things he had said had even shocked some of the geisha, but Carm had soothed and placated him. And when that wasn't working, outright bribed him.
"I dont feel right about this now. Not since I joined them."
"They call them witches...."
"That's just because of the shamans. Actually I can't wait for you to meet some of them."
"Well lets get this evening out of the way. As it is I have the bulk purchases of the narcotics on their way to the Governors storehouse. He took all your blue pill again, sorry."
"Aaah, that's fine. I havn't used much recently."

Angelina sat in the main hall and watched as her Sister and her closest friend walked and talked. As she sat and watched she felt sad. Now she was back, she had things to do. One thing in particular. And her sister was not going to like it.
Angelina was knocked back into the chair as she was hit at full pelt by her sister running at her, followed soon after by Whisper.
"Angie! You returned! Oooh when did you get back? Are you okay, were you hurt? How many medals?"
She laughed and pried herself away from the two women and hugged them both in turn.
"I got back yesterday. Once they released me from the internment camp I made my way here. I was lucky they didn't know who I was, I found out there are still several warrents on my head."
"Oooh, let them try. My girls will sort them out."

Several hours later Carmilla and Angelina sat on the aft deck and watched the moon rise.
"So what's the function happening tonight?"
"Oh I have the governor coming around to accept his bribe for not shutting me down. He wasn't impressed when I joined, as he called it, a terrorist organisation."
"I joined the Minmatar Militia."
Ang laughed out loud and slapped her on the back.
"By the teats of Jamyl, what did your Mistress have to say about that?"
"I was exiled, Ang. I left the corp, when I needed her she wasn't there. Now, when I know what I'm doing I find her minions everywhere, watching me. Reminding me that she is still there."
"I can't believe you left her. I mean, she was your Mistress, your wife... your everything."
"She left me alone... what was I supposed to do?"
"Wait! You should have waited for her!"
"God damn, I don't need to hear this from you as well."
"Well, you might not for much longer. I have something I need to do. and I need you to help me as well."
She told her. And as she knew, she did not like it. Lucky I didn't tell her the whole story, she mused as she heard Carmilla on the communicator to an old friend of theirs. My old Master, and an enemy of the Minmatar. Can't be easy for her to speak to him, but then, she didn't seem to worried.
"It's set for this evening, an hour before the start of the festitivies. I have to get back to my quarters, I left my favorite kimono there. You sure you want to do this?"
"Hey, it's me? Remember?"

Ang watched her sister leave and followed her shuttle into the sky. She turned to Whisper and sighed heavily.
"When he comes I need you to make sure you get Carm out of the room. I dont know how he'll react. He may even kill me. Carm doesn't need to see it. Keep her back, keep her safe."
"What about you?"
"Dont you worry about me, my life was forfeit a long time ago. Not it's time to collect."
With a heavy heart Angelina changed and waited.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

First Night

Carmilla closed the door to her apartment and leant against it. A tired smile came over her face as she looked over the room and saw all the things the girls had packed for her. This place, now, was her home. With everything that had happened in the past couple of hours she realised that she was amongst kindred spirits, people who had suffered as she had.

Kicking off her heels and letting her skirt drop to the floor she hung up her jacket and sat at the little table in her blouse and clicked the small tea maker to start. Pulling a datatablet from her bag she began reading a few messages while one handed making the tea and sipping it. Cradling the cup in both hands she read a mail from Whisper and smiled, looking up at the picture frame on the desk of the two of them together.

She reached over and tapped the frame in a certain way and the picture changed from her and Whisper, to her and Ithiria. It was an old picture, taken years ago now the two of them on a beach, both wearing kimono's, both laughing. Carm could see the collar around her neck, the look on her face. The happiness. The love. Just as she had seen hours before.

She had expected many things on joining the Teraa Matar. She knew in part what she was getting into. But she was out, by a magnitude! The looks the two of them shared as the rest of them talked and drank Rek's tea brought everything back. Gone were the reasons why, the barriers she had put up, the lies she had told herself. To look once again at a Sebeistor and Khanid so obviously in love....

The memories had come flooding back, and with them she had sobbed openly and then revealed everything. What she was running from, why she was here. They all had guessed at the level of emotion running through her, but even she was unprepared for the support she was given. Ava, Astrid and Rek giving her compassion, love and understanding. The tears came soon after along with the understanding.

She was not alone. And now would never be alone.

And then Kikia had come. And while she had shown her around the facility they had talked. An understanding was reached, a story was told. More pain, more suffering. Another friend.

With a smile she thought back on how she had reacted when Rek had decided to shoot up the VR. Instinct, protect Kikia and seek out what was wrong. How easy it had been to fall back into the role. How easy to be relieved that the gunshot was benign. That everything was fine.

As she sat on the bed she thought how natural it was to be concerned about her new corp, and ways she could help. Her new family. And yet how deeply she felt the pain that her wife was not here.

Before long, she fell into a deep slumber.

Carmilla stood on the shore of a large body of water, her kimono blowing in the breeze. Looking as far as she could see in either direction the beach was empty, with just the waves lapping on the shore. As she turned she saw the other woman, the kimono, like hers but more decorated. With a frown she saw the patterns, the khanid symbols were replaced by minmatar tribal. As the woman moved she looked up into the face of....
"Kikia.... what are...."
Confused she looked at her new friend, her mind telling her something was wrong. The young Sebiestor looking at her, pain in her eyes, holding our her hands to Carm, her manerisms beckoning her. She moved foward, walked, then started to run, but always Kikia was just out of her reach.

She screamed and tripped, landing not on the warm sand but on cold concrete. She looked up and saw Kikia being dragged away between two hulking soldiers. All around she saw slaves being dragged towards a large building. The wailing of the women, the laughter of the men, all of them Amarrian. Looking from face to face she recognised them, Kikia, Ava, Astrid... all being dragged away, all looking at her. Then two soldiers grabbed her and she was dragged screaming with them, through the great double doors.

In the building, as far as the eye could see there were just beds and each bed held a sebiestor woman. A familiar sebiestor woman, each being taken against their will. The guard held her head and forced her to watch and all she could hear was the screams, the grunts, the cries, the laughter. The eyes, all looking at her, accusing her.

You did this to us...
By giving yourself freely...

You condemned us...
You failed us...
You failed yourself... slave... whore... traitor!!

Thrown onto a bed two guards held her down while a third pulled off his helmet and stared into her face.
"Looks like we have a fresh one here, dont we? Little snake!"
She looked up into the face of Gallicia, the giant laughing face of her despoiler of her innocence.

And she screamed.

The door to Carmilla's room was kicked in. Rek, pistol in hand was first in, followed by Ava, then Kikia. They found her in the corner of the room backed into the corner, looking more like a small frightened girl than anything, a large tribal dagger in her hands pointed at them. Tears streaked down her face, her whole body shaking and repeating like a mantra the same words.
"I didn't do it... I'm sorry... I didn't do it... I'm sorry..."

Ava looked down on her as Rek gently removed the dagger from her hands.
"I don't want her alone tonight."
Kikia walked over and pulling the blanket from the bed sat down next to Carmilla and pulled it around them both.
"I'll do it tonight. I know she'd do the same for us. We look after our own."

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Escaping the Fact

Carmilla sat on the edge of the cliff and looked out over the ocean before her. Beneath her was a great slab of marble, worn down in places by the passage of time. In the local dialect, it was called the Leap of Faith. Strange that not too far distant was another smaller pillar of rock, which the locals called Faith.

Before her the dark clouds blanked out the moon mostly and only a little light filtered through to shine across the dark waters. Far below she could hear the water crashing against the rocks. The storm was coming.

How easy to just take a step forward, but then that would be escaping the fact. Even down there, in the dark cold depths of the ocean she would still find her.
"And she would stand before me, with that look in her eyes, scowling at me for daring to die without her permission."
She looked up at the clouds as the storm became more apparent, her hair flailing around behind her and she howled defiance at the very gods. At the small shrine behind her the candles guttered and went out, the scents of incense dashed away with the fury of the storm that was approaching. And still she screamed. Cursing with all her breath and falling to her knees sobbing.

As the rain lashed down, soaking her in moments hands came out of nowhere and pulled her back into the lee of the overhang. The wind followed them in but the rain stayed away. In the corner a fire was started and practiced hands removed her suit and wrapped her in a large blanket. She looked up into the kindly face of Winter, who as ever was smiling warmly at her.
"How did she know, Winter? How could she have known."
"Her ways are mysterious, but you should know the bond between you two is strong."
"But how? Seeing Wuadias there chilled me to the bone, there was no reason for her to be there."
"And there was for you? You have tried to find yourself before and came back with a tattoo and a few more scars."
"And a father. Don't forget that."
"Then what do you hope to find this time?"
"Acceptance... redemption... retribution... one way or another my path leads me back to Minmatar space. The shamans I have spoken to have revealed much. Even Kiki...."
She bit back something and looked at Winter.
"I can't escape her on my own. Her pull is too powerful. I need help. But when I go looking for help, it isnt' there."
"Aaaah, but then isn't that also one way of looking at it? Because you want it so badly you are looking for it... in all the wrong places.... You demand the help, but it's not forthcoming. Maybe because you are demanding it in the wrong way?"

Carm looked into the fire and sat down against the back of the wall and watched the storm outside. As forks of lightning appeared the thunder rolled over them. A storm in all it's glory was brewing, coming closer with the fury of a lover spurned. And here she was, an outcast, an exile. Revered by those who wished to become her, hated by those who could never admit to wanting her place. Hunted by those who wished to see her fall, supported by those who wished to save her soul. There are some things, she mused, I just can't escape from.

Here I sit, nearly naked wrapped in a blanket while my closest companion dries my clothes next to a fire in a shrine I found on an island in the middle of an ocean a hundred miles from the nearest landmass. What pilgrims came here to pray to the statue that is here. How many of their bones lie mouldering at the bottom of the ocean, picked clean by the scavenger fish. How many more wore down the stairs that were cut into the living rock of this island. Here, in the middle of a great grandmother of a storm I sit. Here, where the faithful came in their droves to worship. Perhaps here I will be reborn, taking the wisdom of my good and faithful friend and becoming that which I am meant to be.

Or maybe I really am just escaping the fact.

That once I told her as I stood before her without chains or collar or restraints or brands, that there are chains which bind us all that are in our minds, and no power in this universe can break it. Although many will try.

Slowly she stood up and removed the rest of her clothing and stood before the fire. Whisper looked at her and nodded, understanding and opened a pocket pulling out a bracelet. The chrome band that slipped around her wrist reminded her immediately of her collar, light years away in her asteroidal retreat. Touching a spot on the underside she saw it was fully charged and working as expected.

There is no escaping the fact she mused, that you occasionally have to weather the storm. And, if you are strong enough, you can come out the other side with insight. But first, you have to fight the storm and that which would kill you. She started to run, building up speed until she stood on the slab known as leap of faith and leapt, diving into the white topped waves and under the blackness of the midnight ocean.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Race Against Time

So two friends sit across from each other in a deserted bar, two drinks between them. Over some general chit chat and the drinks an understanding is reached over a subject. A little confession, revelation and a laugh. A little conspiracy. A secret is revealed by one of them, a secret which may have drastic consequences for one, maybe both of them. Certainly for a lot of innocent people, and maybe some who are not so innocent. A deal is struck, a price agreed upon, there is no need to shake hands, no gentlemens agreement. Women dont need it. Especially not these two. So they go on their way and one of them thinks long and hard about the secret, as it is her secret to keep. The other uses her connections to look for the secret. But secrets have a life of their own, they need to be told, they will someone to tell them. Or failing that, they will someone to find it and steal it.

She sat behind the desk and looked at the people before her. Three Serpentis and two Gurista, the best on her staff at locating people. And all three had drawn blanks. Their searches through the networks and information superhighways had been covert, penetrating and revealing. Leads a plenty, but all leading to dead ends. It was as if the person just simply did not exist. She slammed her fist on the table.
"I know she exists. I know it's not a lot to go on but we have to find her."
"Not a lot to go on? You gave us a name. One name. Amongst trillions."
"So what leads do you have?"
"We got shit. Everything is years old. A crew listing from a skirmish in gallentey space where a freighter was torpedoed has a Toria Mariska as a passenger. Three days later a Tania Makisra appears on a list of people arrested on Caldari for political dissent."
"You got the name of the prison?"
"Yes, but the prisoner was gone two days later, escaped."
"What else? The only solid thing we have is the one we thing we all believe is a plant.
Carmilla sighed and poured a glass of quaffe and leaned back in her chair and gestured for them to continue.

"Two weeks ago a Matari named Jias Ginare was added to the watch list of two seperate intelligence concerns."
Carm sat up and put her glass down, an eager look on her face.
"But you didn't search on that name, right?"
"That's right. So, we ignored it and moved on, making sure we left our tracks on similar searches and went back and started looking around, real quite like. Someone had been there before us. Someone had changed the name."
"That we can determine, one of the intelligence concerns. The buffer patterns still held the original name, as it was a security encrypt you can't totally delete it. So, we added you onto the watch list."
One of the hackers keyed in the terminal to his datapad and tapped away bringing up a four split window of a hotel.
"Looks like one of the rat traps in Pator. I just came back from there. What is this?"
"Current surveillance on Jias Ginare.... and, this is the person they are looking at."
He clicked several freeze frame pictures of a woman at a large computer console array, definately a brutor, and as the last frame showed a close of of the woman looking out of the window Carmilla looked into a familiar face.
"By the sacred teats of the Empress. It was true."

Tira Mariska sat at the expansive computer console array and looked at the door when she heard the knocking sound. She wasn't expecting anyone, anyone friendly that was. Picking up the pistol by the keyboard she slipped over to the door and looked through the eyehole.
"A geisha?" she whispered to herself.
Padding back to the computer she tapped a few keys and checked the security cameras she had placed and cursed loudly. People were coming up the elevator with poorly concealed weaponry, and front and back stairs were blocked. The sound of gunfire had her pointing her weapon at the door. There was the knocking at the door, more frantic this time.
"Open the fucking door...."
A window smashed and a stun grenade rolled across the floor and for a moment everything went white for Tira. More glass smashed and she fired her pistol wildly to where she thought the window was.....

The door burst in and the geisha surveyed the room quickly. Target down, four hostiles. She started moving, her pistols flying fowards and being replaced by two blades from forearm sheaths, screaming as she leapt at the surprised men.

Tira came around slowly then looked up into the painted face of the woman she had seen through the door. Her hand instinctively went for her pistol.
"Who the hell are you, painted lady?"
"I'm a friend of the family so to speak and trying to get you out of this. What the hell did you do to warrent all this attention?"
Tira was pulled up to her feet, the geisha ignoring the pistol pointed at her. She held a hand up to her ear and went and peered around the door corner
"I need an out. What do you have?"
She pulled her head back as the door frame exploded from the shell fire down the corridor. Tira watched as the geisha nodded and slipped her weapons away.
"You, if you got anything you need to take with you get it, we're leaving in thirty seconds."
"I'm not going anywhere until you tell me who the hell you are!"
"I'm a friend of your sisters. Those people out there are trying to get you for something, but hurry up. We have to go."
"No. I can't leave this stuff!"

The geisha sighed and rubbed her temples then went over to the console and removed the memeory chips and handed them to Tira. Tira never saw how the fire started as she was too busy pocketing the chips and found herself being dragged at a run towards the window. She screamed as the two of them smashed through the glass and out into the air while a dull whump transformed the rooms interior into a fireball. As they fell they geisha laughed.

Tira woke up on a sandy beach and looked around shocked. Four women in various states of undress were running up and down the beach and falling into the water, laughing and screaming. The sun was high in the sky, the water looked inviting and she sat up and pulled her legs towards her and held them while she tried to work out what was going on. One of the women broke away and walked over to her. Even without the kimono and makeup she recognised the geisha.
"Who are you? And why did you bring me here?"
"I told you, I'm a friend of your sisters."
"I dont' have a sister anymore."
"You do. She's on her way here to see you. Took us a while to track you down. I'm guessing you were the one who managed to clean away all the references to yourself?"
"Yes. I like my privacy."
"I dont, my life is an open book."
The woman sat down next to her and held out a hand.
"Carmilla D'morenta. Welcome to my island."
"Tira Mariska. When can I leave?"
"When you meet your sister."
A shuttle flew overhead and landed beyond the sanddunes.
"Once you talk, you can go anywhere you want, my ships are at your disposal if you dont want to go with her."
Carmilla slapped her on the shoulder and grinned.
"And I'll get my techs to show you how we found you. Was a race against time for a while, but I like to win every now and then."

Friday, 2 March 2012

It's Who you Are

The three woman sat on the beach and looked out over the ocean. Behind them the sounds of a wild party could be heard, before them the waves were lapping on the shore. As the sun started to creep below the horizon people came out, hanging up ornate khanid style lanterns at regular spaces along the shore and around the pier. Two burly men in military fatigues were starting a fire pit and before long a great driftwood fire was burning. The sounds of merryment continued far into the early morning.

Together the three women watched the moon rise. It's pale disc casting a reflection across the near millpond ocean. Around them there were sleeping figures, alone or together who simply dropped where they fell. The fire was burning low and the taller of the woman reached over and threw another log on, cinders flickering into the sky as the fire started to come alive again. Still, in utter silence they sat and just stared.

With the coming of the morning sun the three of them were woken up by one of the Geisha. Leaving a tray of tea and cups she bowed and headed off. Two of them yawned and stretched and felt the cooling breeze coming off the ocean and smelt the hot tea that had been prepared for them. The third, slept.

Carmilla looked around, pulling her hair back and sighing, took the offered cup and smiled before standing up and walking to the edge of the shore. The waves lapped the shore and she could smell the tea, the scent of the saltbreeze and the woodsmoke from the fire. Her hair was a mess, but here, now, in this company she didn't care in the slightest. Sipping her tea she looked out over the ocean, and smiled in contentment. Turning she took in her companions on their lonely vigil.

Angelina took the cup and took a good mouthful before lying back and looking up at the distant clouds as they moved on their never ending journey. With the last battle finished, and the planet won she was free for a while, or until she went back. She had come back to see her sister. When she had met her on the landing pads, clad in her geisha attire and wearing the collar she had swept her up in her arms. For hours they had talked and drank and eaten. They had bandied around the names of old friends and comrades, talked about fighting and love, conquests and trades, of fortunes won and fortunes lost. And eventually the talk had come closer to home. Names were mentioned and dismissed, voices raised, tears shed and harsh biting words had come. Insults, threats.... and then pleading. Ever did two sisters fight, as they had done. But some words were said, and sometimes even though something needs to be said, there are places to say it and times to say it. But at the end of the day, sisters will always be sisters.

Angelina stood up and walked over to her sister and slung her arm around her and laid her head on her shoulder.
"Carm, I'm sorry about what I said. I truly am."
"Don't worry about it sis. Some of what you said was true. Actually... a lot of what you said was true. And I didn't like it because you told me what I had to hear, not what I needed to hear."
"Why dont you come with me? Leave all this behind, your geishas, your collar, your Mistress...."
"Could I cut off my hand and leave it here too?"
"Yes! You can replace your hand.... your arm, your leg. I did it, you can too."
Carmilla smiled softly, the patient smile she used on people, the one that compartmented what she wanted to say and kept a civil tongue.
"Angelina, you are my sister and I love you. But no matter what I do, or what I say, or how I behave, I love her too. And I can't leave her, I've tried. I keep coming back to her. Even though she is away for months at a time and I see her so infrequently. There is something about her. About this..." She tapped the collar.
Ang slipped away from her and stood in the ocean, then turned to her.
"What about your exile?"
"Self imposed...."
"But she begged you to come back!"
"No, I begged her."
"Carm, you are so infuriating!"
She smiled again. "Yes, I am."
"And what would you do if she came over that sand dune now?"
"I'd kneel and serve her. It is my place."
"Bullshit. Your place is with me. Is your need to serve her stronger than family?"
"She is my family. We have a daughter."
"And where is your daughter now? You dont know, do you?"
For a moment, Carm was uncertain.
"No. But she is safe."
"Yes. Safe... from you. Where is she? What estate, what planet, what region?"
"I do not need to know. Ithiria is looking after her."
"By the sacred moons Carm, open your eyes. You are tied to a rock waiting for a glimpse of her."
Carmilla turned around and walked a few paces to the pier.
"That's not true. I can leave any time I want. But why should I?"
Angelina walked out of the beach and over to her, grabbed her by the shoulders and looked into her face.
"Carm, I say this with all the love a sister can give you. You need to choose what is important to you. Your sister or your wife and mistress."
"Why can't I have both? WHy must I always have to choose? Who does that hurt?"
Angelina shook her head and turned and walked up the beach, shouting over her shoulder.
"Why dont you ask Bill that question."

Carmilla felt a pang of pain at the name. Bill, oh how she had loved him, but had hurt him bad. Choosing to go with her Mistress instead of the man she loved. One love instead of another. Back then she had believed she could love them both, and had hurt them both, had hurt all three of them. Bill, hurt, the pain in his eyes as she walked away from him. The hurt in her eyes as she watched him destroy the piano, smash it to pieces and withdraw within himself. The hurt in Ithiria's eyes as she saw that she wasn't the only one who had Carm's heart. And the hurt within herself that was all pervading like a cancer, gnawing away at her. She wondered how many people she had hurt, how many had tasted her love and wanted more only to be hurt by her black heart. Bill, Ithiria... Mizhara. But then, hadn't they hurt her more?

She sat back down in the sand and looked over at her other sleeping friend. Whisper, dear Whisper. So tranquil asleep, as if all the cares in the world were not yours. How I wish life was simple again. How I wish that my choices were simple.

Brushing a strand of hair from Whispers face she smiled and stood up, dusting the sand from her kimono and breathing in deeply.
"No," she said to the sky, "They hadn't. It's always been me, I have always tortured the ones I love. Just as I torture myself."
Below her Whisper stirred and stretched as she woke, looking up at Carmilla.
"Oh my, what a sight to wake up to."
Carm giggled, reached down and grabbed her hand, pulling her up and dusting the sand from her.
"Oh Whisper, you do make me chuckle."
"Then that is good. So what shall we do today? And where is your sister?"
"I think I.. annoyed her again. But she'll be back. They all come back until they tire of me."
"I will never tire of you. Just as you never tire of her."

Carmilla stood looking at the blind face of her closest friend and saw in the serenity of her face the look she had seen before on so many of her lovers and partners.
"Whisper, I dont want to loose you as I've lost those before."
"Regardless what anyone says, Carmilla, you know the value of loyalty. And you know the cost of love and devotion."
She smiled, the same patient smile that Carmilla used.
"Yes my dear?"
"Who will I never tire of?"
Whisper smiled, and took her arm and led her towards the Geisha House.
"You know in your heart."
Carmilla smiled, then chuckled then threw her head back and laughed. As she was taken to her house, led by a blind geisha she realised that this was ever her way in life. The blind leading the blind. She stopped suddenly and watched as Angelina's shuttle departed from the landing platforms.
"You can't go with her Carmilla, that is not your path. Your path is more arduous, and potentially more fatal."
"Fatal for whom?"
"For everyone you love. You cant' help it. It's your nature. It's your calling. It's who you are."