She watched as the Little Snake, with her Mistress over her shoulder, leapt from the top of the building.
Do you trust me?
How can I not trust someone who is essentially... me? Carmilla started to run towards the edge, hearing behind her the sound of the roof door being kicked open. As she sped up she felt the air thicken and saw the sky change. Dark rolling clouds and she was running over the ashen wastes again. Stopping she looked around.
Maeve. She was there, in the distance, coming towards her. Again, in the far distance she could hear the sound of the slaver hounds. Quickly she ran over to her and embraced her.
"Maeve. What's wrong? Who is hunting you now?"
"Maeve. What's wrong? Who is hunting you now?"
"The dark side of your heart is after me. As she is after you. And those you love. Beware the golden reaper, and save the sleep of the just."
"Maeve..." she ran her fingers through her hair, "You are making no sense."
"Yes I am, and deep down you know it. She is there, with you, beyond her eye and she means to kill you."
"She... you mean... Ithiria?"
"Yes. The dark side of your heart. I must leave you now. Come, rescue us again, before it is too late...."
"And Carmilla.... dont just drop... leap like you mean it..."
The sky flashed back and she was once more running to the edge, where she reached the edge and leapt with all her might. With the wind rushing in her face she dropped, her arms spread and could feel the arms of oblivion opening for her as the ground grew closer, quickly.
Little Snake landed on the grav platform that was just below the roof and rolled Alizabeth onto her back on the floor. She was just about to tell the driver to punch it when she saw Carmilla fly past, missing it totally. Moving to the side and looking over watching herself drop saved her life, as the snipers bullet slammed into the driver. Standing she looked up at the rooftop where the shot came from and screamed loudly, grabbing the controlls and sending the platform into a flat dive, it's repulsors whining.
Ithiria Deritan raised the sniper rifle and looked with anger at the grav platform, and the fast falling sebiestor. How had she missed? By all the saints, how had she missed? She clicked her fingers and her paladins stood to attention, weapons unslung.
"Kill them all. I want that bitch dead, I want her harlot dead, I want all of them fucking dead!"
Weapons were lowered and a hail of fire traced the grav platform and the falling sebiestor. Other grav platforms, taxi's and anything that got in the way of the Little Snake or Carmilla were brutally gunned down.
Carmilla heard the sounds of the gunfire and the whipping past her of the bullets and ignored it. The sound of the whining engine was more apparent and looking over her shoulder as she fell she saw the platform, Snake behind the controls and catching up with her. As it passed close she grabbed a rail and hauled her self closer, Snake noticing and pulling up. Just, not quick enough. The impact threw her over the controls and into a shopfront, through the window and into the display, followed shortly after by the burning wreck of the platform.
Carmilla struggled to her feet, blood pouring from a scalp wound and dragged herself over to Aliza. Luckily she had been thrown clear, though was still in her coma. Snake staggered over, pulling a large splinter of metal from her side and stemming the blood with a shirt ripped from a shelf
"I swear Carm.. it's never dull when you are around."
"That was Ithiria... wasn't it?"
"It looked like it yes. I thought she was over you?"
Carm just shook her head and picked up Aliza, wiping blood on her torn sleeve.
"Who can say. Lets get back to the ship before she realises we survived the crash. How did we survive the crash?"
"Security systems, caught us in a tractor beam, but we were going too fast."
From her rooftop Ithiria watched the three stagger away under the magnification on her scanner. She spat over the edge and turned to her entourage.
"Call my abaddon, tell them to prepare for my arrival. I want battle ready by the time I board."
"Is not my concern. Just do it."
Turning back around she looked down at the wreck with a smirk.
"It just prolongs the inevitable, whore. You can run... as they say."
She watched as one of the taxi's pulled away from the building and started to head towards the starport starport. It seemed that a race was on. Good! A chase always made the kill more enjoyable! She spun around, the tails of her coat flapping as she walked towards the stairs, the heels of her boots clicking, almost masked by the sound of her paladins marching behind her.
Carm looked over at Snake and pulled the shirt away. Blood flowed from the gaping wound in her side, pain was etched across her face and she was looking pale. Blood loss, fatigue, and shock was probably coming. "Don't you worry about me Carm. Look after your woman. We both know we've survived worse than this and still survived...."
"Yes, but that was a long time ago...."
"I'm still the same person I was then..."
"I know. That's the problem. We need to get you medical attention."
"Pah, my ship is in the station. We can use that to escape. Your ship will have been impounded by now for what you did."
"What I did? What you did!"
"Yes," Snake grinned then grimmaced,"But I am you. You know she'll follow us."
"She will. She is most tenacious when it comes to getting what she wants."
"She lost you didn't she?"
Carm grinned and reached into her bag and pulled out a small pouch and handed it over to Snake. She tipped out the contents, several ampouls of drugs were inside.
"I never thought of you as a user, Carm."
"Only a bit of blue pill... but it's strong enough to take the pain away. And I'll need you when we get to the docking bays."
She pushed up and slipped into the front seat and looked at the controls. Automatic taxi, she thought, programmed via voice command and uses internal navigational computer to ascertain most direct route. Linked into central computer, easily accessed, low security. She thumped the control panel and opened it, peering inside and pulling out several wires and a control junction. As she worked she whistled a melancholy tune and attached her datatablet to the processor then started to hack into the system, taking control of the taxi and reprogramming the course to the docking bay. Pulling a smaller datatablet out of her pocket she threw it to Snake.
"Call Whisper. Tell her to move Kikia's clone from Abudban. Tell her... to use extreme predjudice with anyone who even touches it."
The taxi jerked several times then changed lane and Carm sat back in the chair.
"Shouldn't be too long now. I just pray we get there before Ithiria does."
As Ithiria stepped out of the transport and looked up at the battleship before her she smiled. The Abaddon class battleship was pure power. Not the largest in her fleet, not by a long shot, but enough to take on most of what she knew Carmilla could fly. Boarding she felt the ship come alive as it's systems connected to her neural net and reports flickered in.
"Have you located their ships yet?"
"We have Carmilla's ship impounded, we do not know what other ships she has in the area."
"Scan all the traffic control frequencies and pull up lists of ships that are pressing for immediate departure. We are not that far into the docking bays, but a fast ship can still make it out. Make sure it doesn't happen."
She had just settled into her quarters, her slaves helping her into more comfortable clothing when a message arrived. Picking up her glass of wine she strode over to her viewscreen and looked at the woman beyond, one of the communications officers.
"I trust you have a good reason for waking me?"
"Yes ma'am. We have detected a lot of chatter on the traffic control net. It seems a ship is departing without authorisation."
"A prowler class transport named the Gistii Hauler...."
"Get us underway immediately! That ship was only two bays away! By the saints!"
"You stole this from me, Snake!"
"What's yours is mine Carm. And you were not using it."
"I know, because I thought I'd lost it!"
"You have too many toys, I never thought you'd miss one...."
The prowler pulled away from the docks, tearing the docking clamps out with a heavy jarring and moving into the lanes of the station. Alarms were sounding both inside and out and the pod pilot deep within was taking care of the problems. From the bridge Carm and Snake both looked out. The traffic advisory was already flashed around the quadrant they were in, informing ships to watch out for unauthorised vessel.
"Tactical, any noticable movement coming our way?"
"Inform us as soon as anything does."
Well that goes without saying
Carmilla walked with Snake back down to the small infirmary. Aliza was lying on one of the beds and a small medtech was looking over her. She roughly sat Snake down on one of the examination benches and cut through her top with a surgical blade. Snake didnt' say anything as Carm went to work on her, cleaning her wound and sewing it back up as best she could. With a final jab of a hypo she pulled a medical top from a cupboard and handed it to her.
We have company. Abaddon has just left dock, traffic control is having a fit.
"Can you identify it?"
"Oh shit..... Ithiria."
By the time they both reached the bridge the prowler had made it into the main traffic lane. The scanner showed that two bays beyond them the Abaddon was moving out.
We're being targetted
"Carm, get on navigation! Get us the hell out of here!"
Carm slipped over to the navigation console and scanned the board while Snake sat at a board and started powering up various systems. With a perceptible lurch the prowler surged forward. Screens on the bridge lit up and showed the views from all of the external camera's. Several locked onto and zoomed into the Abaddon.
"Aaaah crud. we're in trouble... it's locked on."
"Hang on! Pulse fire incomming! They must be mad!"
The port side batteries of the 'baddon unleashed a barrage. Alarms sounded on the prowler as shield flared and dropped. Snake powered up the sheild generator, the guristas symbol on the console flashing as it charged up. She worked feverishly, activating damage controls and counting in her head the time between shots. The shields were almost fully recharged when the next broadside hit, the scream of the armour as the shields were pierced.
"We're taking damage!"
"I know! I cant' get around this damn freighter!"
"Then go under it, or over it... we stay here we're sitting ducks!"
The prowler screamed again as a third broadside slammed into it. Other alarms were going off now. Carm looked around all the screens to see what possible way out there was. While the freighter was there, there was no chance. There was no way out.
Three four minutes and it'll have moved enough for us to reach that cargo artery, then we can find a route to the surface.
"Carm, I'm all out of ideas... I can't attack an abaddon with this ship!"
"Open a communications channel. Request a person to person."
"Do it... we need... a radical solution."
On the Abaddon's bridge the commications officer walked over to Ithiria's command throne and saluted.
"Ma'am, the captain of the target vessel has requested a communications channel with you, person to person."
She sat back in her throne and smirked.
"No, put it on the full screen. I want everyone to see this. Hold fire for a moment. I want to hear her beg before we vaporise her."
The officer nodded and walked back and shortly after the view screen showed Carmilla looking at her. She was dirty and blood smeared from the crash, her clothes torn, but the defiance was still there.
"Ithiria. You are looking well."
"Did you call up just to tell me the obvious? You should be on your knees begging me to kill you quick."
"You know I'll not kneel to you again. Not after what you did."
"What I did? You left me! You ran away... after all I did for you, all I gave you! You betrayed me, stabbed me in the back and left me to die."
Ithiria looked at her, for a moment not knowing what to say.
"And? Is that a way to look after your Mistress?"
"You cast me out! In public... You divorced me... sent hunters after me, gave my enemies all the information about what we did. All the crimes I committed for you."
"I should have gotten rid of you long ago. When you dared raise your hand to me."
"Aaah, Ithiria, my dear wife. What can I say. You taught me well."
"I am not your wife, not any more. Our marriage was dissolved."
"Yes.. or should I say... No. It wasn't."
Ithiria slit her eyes and looked at the woman before her.
"I think, Carmilla, I know when I am married. And at the moment, I am not. Not to you, not to Mizhara. No one."
"Aaah, true, but then you forgot one little thing about marriage in the Khanid Kingdoms. Or more particular, about the divorce of Holders."
"And what was that?"
"It can be challenged by the matriach of the houses involved."
Ithiria spread her arms wide and laughed.
"You nullify anything you say. I am the matriach of my house."
"Yes. And Kim is the Matriach of mine."
Her laugh faded away. Her mind was working quick now. Carmilla was playing a game here, she was sure of it. But she knew Carm of old. She did not like to loose, and always had a trick up her sleeves. Why then the mentioning of Matriachs? Of course, the Khanid were more matriachal than patriachal, but that didn't matter with Carm. She was Matari. Mostly.
"Carm. What have you done?"
"It's not what I did, my dear. You filed the paperwork yourself, filled out the marriage forms."
"No, no no. You can't challenge it. You are not a Holder. And anyway, I would have heard about it from...."
"From your personal slave. Which was?. Oh my, that was me."
"You were my slave!"
"Yes. Though.. technically.... not after you married me. You see... marriage to you by a Matari wouldn't have been enough. There had to be... a trace of true blood. And I am after all, half Matari, and my Amarr half was an established name, titled and everything. That is why there was no problem with the marriage going through. I fulfilled all the requirements to be a Holder. And you sealed it."
"You are not a holder! How dare you besmirch my peoples name!"
"Ha, rich coming from you? You who blackened an entire Matari clan by marrying Miz and going back to being a slaver! Although... you could say that was my fault."
Carmilla laughed. This was not the woman she remembered. A coldness she had never seen was creeping into her, the set of her features, almost as if the Amarr side of her was becoming more dominant.
"Face it Ithiria. It was by your hand that a slave became a Holder. That is how it will be seen. It won't matter that my amarri side has been wanted for war crimes by the Matari for generations. Once it comes out, I'll have the matari after me. True. But with what you revealed about me, I dare say they are already after me. All except the Amarr and Khanid. They don't care. They just see it as a feud between holders. Between House Deritan and House Jobias....."
Ithiria leapt to her feet, rage in her eyes and pointed at the screen just as it blinked off.
"Open fire, all weapons! I wasn that ship destroyed! I want her crew dead, I want Carmilla dead! I want her frozen corpse nailed to the hull!!"
Carmilla looked over at Snake and nodded.
"Was that enough time?"
"Carmilla, if what you said was true I may have to slap you."
"Oh please Snake. Can you honestely believe that I am a Holder? Heir to a house that hasn't been in prominance since the great rebellion?"
"Yes. Quite easily."
"Good. Lets hope it keeps her busy. Navigator, set your course for Siseide. Take the long way round."
The Prowler turned into one of the main arteries of the station at speed. By the time the Abaddon had come up along side the artery the transport was gone. As she looked at the stars outside of the bridge window she mulled over what she'd done. Yet again, people she knew were going to be in trouble. Luckily Whisper was on her way to pick up Kikia's clone tube and relocate it to safety. Kim was far to canny to be caught by Ithiria. Victor was out of the way back on Serpentis Prime. That only left.. herself.
Once more, she was exposed. Though for the moment.. she was a head of the game.