Three women sat at the table, each talking in the low patois that slaves speak when they know they could be overheard. Aside from the occasional giggle and furtive looks, there was little to suggest they were anything other than what they seemed.
The tallest of the women stood up and slung a bag over her shoulder and ran through the maze of back corridors and stairs of the tower. Through the occasional window she could see the lava planet below. At her quarters at the tower, a room with little enough space, she changed. In truth she had been in prison cells that were smaller, but then slaves did not need such luxuries, and she certainly did not either.
When she walked out of her room, her heels clicked on the metal flooring, stockings covered her legs and a smart skirt, jacket and blouse made her more presentable. Checking the collar at her throat and that her hair was in place, she made her way to her appointment. Standing before the door, she pulled out her datatablet and sent Aliza a message. Her silence was now becoming worrying, but the interview had to be done. It was time, and her course was set.
The door was opened by one of the numerous tower slaves and she walked in. Leopold Caine and Kira Macha sat behind a large table. Infront of it there was no chair, so she stood.
"Aaah, Carmilla," Leo smiled at her, "So glad you could make it. I understood there were some problems. I do hope you have cleared them up."
"Everything seems to be in order."
"Then let us... begin. According to your application..."
Meanwhile, unknown to Carmilla, incriminating files about her past and that past of her current friends had been sent to various interested parties. Most were dismissed out of hand, either due to those people protecting Carm and her associates, or simply because it was old news. However, for her new Mistress, Alizabeth, there was not so much protection. And in part, the simple matter of her associated with a known pirate, murderer and violent criminal was enough for questions to be asked, and for her to be summoned and questioned by her superiors. The result of this, a further blow continuing after others she had recieved, pushed her too far. Despite their favorable deliberations, she elected to take a tea ceremony. Alone, and in private. Luckily, her superiors were watching, and relocated the coma inflicted Alizabeth to a nearby medical facility.
Carmilla walked out of the meeting with a smile on her face. Her application to the Stillwater corporation had been accepted. Making her way to the towers bar she sat down and ordered a drink and pulled out her datatablet. She had felt it vibrate during the meeting, but had not answered. Several messages had been left, some from her associates, and several from Whisper. She clicked one and called her.
"Carmilla, it's Aliza. She's in hospital."
"What? That's impossible she's..."
"No, she enacted a tea ceremony to clear her name and she's in a coma. The security services have her at a secure medical facility in New Caldari."
"Hold on. Clear her name? Why?"
There was a pause.
"You don't know?"
"No. I've been busy at the tower. What's up?"
"Ithiria.... she sold you out. Sent copies of all your dealings to various organisations."
Carm went white. She's gone for the underbelly this time. Not content with Carm being free of her, and happy, she had to make her pay for leaving her. Such bitterness. But, understandable. And she'd been expecting it. But not this, not an attack on her friends.
"Send me the files. No better yet, I'm coming to the house. See if you can get Angelina or Victor. I'll need help on this one."
"Carm... be careful. There is already a bounty out on your head and three groups are interested."
"Then god help them Whisper. Because she hurt someone close to me. And when I'm finished, I'll remind her who she fucked with."
The shuttle arrived in Siside and it was noticed. As it vectored to the house cloaked ships that were waiting followed discretely. As soon as she landed on the platform and disembarked she noticed that things were not all as they should have been. A burning landing craft was on the shore, the bodies of a dozen mercenaries lay scattered around the gardens and entrance. She also saw the bodies of two geisha. Whisper walked over to her, flanked by two guards.
"They arrived right after we spoke."
"It could have been worse, but they warned us. Carm, someone let them in. Gave them the access codes."
"It was Saffron."
"I will deal with her at a later date. Assuming we all survive what is coming. What of Kikia?"
"She is safe. The merc were foolish enough to attack them, they were slaughtered. She's not happy with you, but she is safe with the militia. Alizabeth is another matter."
Whisper related to Carm what she knew, what she had gleaned from the messages and contacts.
"So how is she?"
"Still in a coma. There is a guard around her and the medical centre is secure. I can't arrange visitation rights however."
"You are not family...."
"But..." She sighed, it was true. She wasn't family, but she was close.
"What about Victor or Angelina?"
"Cant' get hold of either of them. But I do have an alternative."
"Who did you get?"
There was a low laugh as a woman walked in, wrapped in a large hooded cloak. The hilts of two swords poked out from under the cloak and a large rifle was strapped to her back. Carmilla looked at her, and smiled
"I didn't realise things were this bad that you would be called."
"You missed me really. Who do I have to kill Carm? We do get to kill someone, right?"
Little Snake flung her hood back revealing a head of long white hair. Carmilla looked into Snakes face. It had been a long time since they had been together.
"I see you got tattooed Carm. It suits you."
"You ready to go?"
"If she's guarded what's wrong with that? They are competant enough."
"Snake. Shut up. We're going. Whisper, get the girls to the hideout. If they came here once, they might come again. Oh, and get us some nurses outfits."
THe receptionist at the medical centre watched with interest as the two nurses walked towards the centre. They both looks like nurses, but one was carring a large bag and the other a simple datatablet. Their outfits however, were outdated. She smiled as they stopped before the desk.
"Can I help you ladies?"
"We're here to see a patient. Alizabeth Adrelana, we have movement orders for her."
The receptionist took the datatablet and scanned it and pressed a button on the top of her console.
"If you will wait one moment please? I'll get a porter to come and help you."
"Thank you. See," Carmilla whispered to Snake,"I told you this would work. Hinare has never let me down yet."
The elevator behind the smiling receptionist opened and four caldari marines stepped out, weapons at the ready. The blonde nurse swore and reached into the bag which was infront of the desk.
"It's going to work is it? Damn it Carm, you are too soft!"
The receptionists head exploded with the first shot and Snake fired at the marines. People in the foyer screamed and ran in panic.
"Snake! What are you doing, who the hell do you think you are?"
She smiled and laughed and pulled another gun out of her bag and checked the clips.
"I think I am you. Go rescue your woman. I'll keep them busy."
Carmilla leant over the desk and picked up the receptionists datatablet, wiping her brains from the screen and checking the display. She found Aliza's room and headed off to the elevator. Three floors above Aliza's Doctor looked out of the door as he heard the sounds of gunfire. He called to one of the nurses who was running.
"You there. What's all the noise?"
"No time to argue. I need to find room 32."
"Well that's this one but what..."
The barrel of Carm's pistol rammed itself under his chin and he looked into a pair of angry eyes as he was pushed in. She saw Aliza and ran over to the bed, ignoring the Doctor. Shaking her she looked into her Mistresses face.
"Aliza, wake up! Come on, we got to get out of here!"
"She can't wake up, woman. She's in a coma."
"What have you tried?"
"All the usual remedies, nothing worked. It's like her heart has given out."
Carm laid the gun down and ripped the wires out of her arm. The machines screamed. Picking up Aliza she turned to door and looked into the end of her gun, the DOctor behind it grinning.
"Like you are going anywhere. Put her down and put your hands behind..."
A silken sound caused him to look down and he noticed the blade of the sword sticking through his chest. As Snake ripped it out she looked at Carm.
"Are you ready? There are more coming and we need to get to the roof quickly."
She paused and walked over to her.
"Is... she allright?"
"She'll be allright once I get her to safety. Now come on."
They made their way up the stairs and found themselves on the roof. It was empty.
"Carm. I thought you said there would be a shuttle here."
"There should have been."
"I dont see it."
"Nor do I."
Carm laid Aliza down on the ground and pulled out her datatablet and started tapping away.
"Jammed," She said as she slipped it away and watched in the distance as several dropships were heading their way.
"I dont suppose those are going to fly past us."
"No. I think... we may be in trouble."
"There is a way out of this."
"I'm not giving her up!"
"I didn't think you would. Trust me?"
Snake picked up Aliza and walked to the edge of the building and looked down.
"Yes, I trust you. You are me. Mostly."
Snake leapt over the edge. Carmilla screamed... but she followed.
To be continued.....