Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Through a mirror, screaming

Victor Ballentyne walked down the corridor of the medical facility, cursing softly under his breath. His cane clicked on the polished floor as he walked back and forth waiting. A medical technician stood to one side, a heavy sealed metal case in one hand, a pistol in her other. Checking his watch again he cursed again and started to pace again.

Eventually the doors at the end of the corridor opened and a woman walked in, flanked by two burly paladins. He walked towards her and gestured away her guards and walked with her.
"Your timing sucks," he said slowly.
"I have pressing matters to take care of Victor, you said everything was ready?"
"It was, once we recaptured her."
"She escaped?"
"Do you doubt it? You know what she's like."
The khanid woman frowned and chuckled darkly. Her long flowing green gown whispered as it swept behind her and they both stopped at the technician.
"You have the nannites?"
The technician nodded and fell in behind them.
"Ithiria, I have my doubts. About the whole procedure. We dont know it works."
"Kim said it did. Thats enough for me."
"Ithiria, I can't believe you are doing this to her...."
The Lady Deritan stopped and grabbed Victor by his arm, spinning him around. Her face was dark with fury and she snarled at him.
"Don't even think about having second thoughts on this. Consort or not I'll have you executed. You know, and she knows that I have few rules, and one of those is quite simple. Rebellion does not go unpunished. She knows that, she used it herself. It is being done. That is final!"
Victor tried to stand up to her and just shook his head, then sighed. Petulant child at times, he thought, but I can't knock her.
"Okay. Its just.... "
She laid her hand on his shoulder, a look of sympathy broke through her mask for moment.
"I know. She means more to me than you know. But an example must be made......"

Sirens and an alarm sounded, the sound of gunfire echoed in the distance. Single shots, then a sustained burst, then another single shot. The paladins were by her side in an instant but Victor raised his hand.
"No need to be troubled...."
Ahead of then a burst of weapon fire smashed a guard through the door, he lay crumpled on the floor, a spreading pool of blood under him. A woman clad in a medical robe ran through, slamming into the wall. Both of them recognised Carmilla.

She stood there, leaning against the wall, breathing heavily, blood staining the robe and a compact machine pistol in one hand, her other clutching her side, blood oozing between her fingers. A chrome collar was set at her neck, and chrome bands around her wrists. The look in her eyes was feral, one that Ithiria had seen before, but she looked on impassively, almost as if she didn't care. Carmilla however howled out.
"Ithiria! Victor! What the hell is going on here?"
"Sister, please. Just put down the weapon and we can talk about this."
"Talk? I'm leaving here! You can't stop me!"
Victor reached up and rubbed the bridge of his eyes. Ithiria tapped her foot.
"We don't have time for this."
Carmilla snarled and raised her weapon at Ithiria, again Victor raised his hand to the guards to back off.
"Make time, Ithiria. What am I doing here?"
"Property does not ask such questions. Go back to your room, slave."
"No! Not until you tell me what this is all about!"
Victor raised his cane and pressed one of the serpentis symbols on the handle. Carm grimaced and sagged, the pistol dropping from her hand and her muscles failing as she fell.
"You are right, unfortunately. We dont have time for this."
He gestured to the guards and they picked up Carm, all her muscles had relaxed, she was like putty in their hands. They all wrinked their noses as the smell hit them, all her muscles had relaxed it seemed.
"Clean her up and make sure she can't escape this time."
"Impressive, what was that?"
"Come now, would you have me tell you all my secrets?"
"Yes, " she smiled.
"Tough. Come on."

By the time Carmilla had returned to normal she had been strapped to a large movable medical table. At the moment it was holding her up vertically. The technician had opened the case and was removing several syringes from a containment casing and placed them down. Slowly as her faculties came back to her she could hear the conversation.
".....no I found the subject at a hospital in the arse end of lonetrek I think it was."
"And her personality will be replaced?"
"More like it'll be repressed. Until the correct molecular unlocker is injected into her all her memories will be replaced with the one we implant into her."
"And her face? Her looks? I mean, she is known."
"Can change it all. We have one of her clones sealed in a vault, so when she dies she'll revert to the new clone templates we are creating for her. So when you want her back, assuming you want her back.. it's doable. Luckily they are roughly the same body shape. The Doctor can change her hair colour and style, take care of the plastic surgery and the fine tuning."
"Why do I get the impression she's done this before?"
"She is scary. But that's family for you."
"So my carm will be taken and changed into this new woman. What do we do then?"
"Her memories will be intact of her life before we took her from where we found her. Pretty much she had lost a fight and almost died."
"She was a cap?"
"No. That's the only problem. And I'm drawing a blank on it at the moment. When she wakes up she'll be a capsuleer, we can't hide that from her."
"Leave that to me.... "
"Ithiria.. it's not too late..."
"It is... what of Carm?"
"To her, as I understand, it'll be like watching from behind her eyes. A living prison.... unable to control anything, or influnce anything."
"She'll be looking through a mirror, screaming at her. A fitting punishment I think."
Carm felt a hand gripping her face and her eyes opened looking into the bright eyes of her Mistress, Ithiria Deritan.
"Please....,' she cried softly,'I don't deserve this...."
"Oh Carmilla.... when will you learn.... Rebellion never goes unpunished. Victor... begin the procedure."

A block was placed in her mouth to prevent her damaging herself and the bed moved into position. She writhed helplessly and watched as a masked doctor came over and picked up the first syringe.
"This will hurt quite a lot."
That voice, she thought, those eyes.....!
"If you struggle it will hurt more."
A hand held her head down and the syringe was pressed into her neck and......

Lexa woke up with a scream and slammed her head into the ceiling of the sleep tube. Crying out she held a hand to her head and her eyes blinked open. The neon glow from the inset lights cast a sickly glow over her and she reached up to the catch and opened the door. Cold air rushed in and she pulled her self out and stood up stretching. A few jeers and whistles prompted her to reach in and pull out a t-shirt and cover her self. Slipping the lock key into her shorts she made her way to the communal bathroom and quickly showered and cleaned herself up. She looked at herself in the mirror, her caldari features and touched the glass. Her reflection looked back at her, but for a moment the reflection was of a sebiestor woman. When she blinked it was gone. By the moons, she groaned to herself, first bad dreams, now hallucinations.

Back at the sleep tube she pulled out a couple of pills, flat orange octogons and washed them down with a glass of tepid water from a bottle. The pounding headache she always seemed to have these days passed away slowly, leaving a harsh metallic taste in her mouth. Her stomach growled and she packed her bag and slung her jacket over her shoulder. She felt the drugs burn through her system, clearing her mind and firing the synapses.

"Hey Lexa, looking good!"
She smiled and made her way over to the other side and the smilling face of a brutor lying upside down. She scratched under his chin and kissed his cheek.
"Not as good as you're looking.... if I wasn't busy I'd crawl in there with you and go for round seven."
"Busy huh, guess it's something more than a trip to heaven again?"
She leant her back against the tube and shuffled down, the brutor edged out and wrapped an arm playfully around her legs.
"Going to the Science and Trade Institute offices. I finally got my interview. Maybe they can tell me how to get off of this pedestal."
"Hey Lexa, just because you got the 'plants and stuff doesn't make you a god."
"Yes, Mica, it does. And I want to know why it happened to me. I want to be normal again...."
"I still don't get...."
She put her hand on his mouth and squeezed his lips.
"Mica, please.... you know how it gets to me. Anyway, I'll call you when I'm done. You going to be here?"
"Hell babe, got no where else to go."
She leaned over and kissed him passionately and sighed with a smile.
"Thanks, Mica. I'll see you in a few hours!"
Shouldering her bag and checking the clasp on her boot she made her way out of the cheap hotel block and into the station.

From his seat in the foyer Victor was well placed to see Lexa walk into the offices of the Science and Trade Institute. Though he couldn't hear her talk, he could hear her start to raise her voice and slam her fist onto the counter. He could see the guards taking notice and other people walking through were moving around them. He smiled and got up, leaning on his stick he made his way over to the counter.
"Well I damn well want to find out who cancelled my interview! Do you realise? This is my life!"
"I'm sorry, but we have no record of you. At all, there is no capsuleer by the name of...."
"I'm here," she screamed and thumped the counter again "Can't you see me? Can't you hear me? Is there anyone here who has more than three brain cells?"
"May I be of assistance?"
She stopped and turned around and paused. The man before her was tall and attractive, his eyes hidden behind a pair of designer fogged glasses, his beard neatly trimmed, his suit immaculate. A pin on his lapel indicated the Serpentis and the whiteness of his suit dazzled her.
"No sir, if you...."
He raised his hand and shsshed the secretary and leaning on his cane bowed before her formally.
"Allow me to introduce myself, Victor Ballentyne. CEO of a small corporation you wont have heard of. But a man with a long arm, and by the looks of it.. you need some help?"
"Yes... I do. Apparently I dont exist."
Vic reached out and pinched her, she yelped and took a step back.
"What did you do that for?"
"You exist. Come on, we won't find anything of value here for you. Actually I'm in need of a new employee to help in my corp."
"I'm sorry, I'm not looking for work."
"But you could use the money. And from my corp you could quite easily find access to information that you can't get from... standing in the foyer being watched by guards."
She looked around and noticed the guards as if for the first time and shrugged.
"So, what is it you do?"
He flashed a dazzling smile.
"Whatever the hell I want. Come on, I need a drink. My treat."
Lexa, somewhat dazzed and a little confused, followed him. I wonder where this will take me, she mused.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Last Stop - Home

Consequences. Everything has consequences. I think I knew that when I saw her name on the guest list. That itching feeling around my third implant slot, the one that never goes away. The tremor in my hand. Even the weight of my pistol, none gave me comfort.

I knew I'd made a mistake when I hugged Eric. He felt the pistol, I could see it in his eyes. And the second mistake when I heard security over the link telling Lady Mel that I was carrying a gun. Consequences. I didn't manage to activate the cutout in time, guess I must be getting old. From then on, they all watched me, like animals. I remember the feeling, I had it once before. A feeling that kept me alive, oh how I have missed it.

Leo knew though, that I was going to kill someone. As ever, with his bored indifference he managed to make me stop. He didn't even raise his voice. He just... said... no.

And so I did not put the barrel of the pistol into my mouth. I did not pull the trigger on my last clone. I did not end it in one glorious flash of light and pain. And because of that, I knew I had finally arrived at my destination.

For years I have wandered, alone and afraid. Without her guidance. I thought once that I would be free from her, and realised that I was only trying to escape my own inadequacies. For what am I without her? Nothing. Has it truly taken so long to understand that? I think no, but I've been to ashamed to admit it, to her, to myself, that I made a mistake.

I have a bottle of her favorite wine, the vintage is the day of her birth. Her true birth, not her journey into the ranks of the capsuleers. I will attend to her, as I always did, with a glass of wine waiting for her. Then I will take my place by her side.

If she will have me.

Thank you Eric, for being there for me. I know you, my good friend, will be there if I fall, as my strength will fail me the closer I get to her. I have seen she can protect herself, I know she will if she feels I am a threat to her. So I hand over my pistol to the guards, and alone, with nothing save my bared open soul and a glass of wine I go to face my destiny, and, with luck, she will take me home.


Sunday, 5 May 2013

Destination, unknown

The elevator ride down the Ivory Tower seemed to take an eternity. Once again, everything seemed to have come tumbling down. And now, she could see no way out, no way forward. No way back.

As the doors slid open and she looked out she realised that she had no where to go. Walking to the landing pads, as if in a daze she kept going as if in a trance, not saying anything, not thinking anything. Not daring to, either.

Looking up at her ship, as she entered the hanger bay she remembered.... thoughts came flooding back, a fast flow of images, memories, passions.... love.... Even here, nothing could stop her remembering, her transport still bearing the old corp logo of the Disciples. The same transport she flew when she joined, the same transport that had taken her to Null, the same one she had escaped in.

Nullsec, she cursed and threw her head back and screamed, falling to the flooring her scream turning into a howl of rage and despair. Her hand fell to the hilt of her pistol and brought it up to her head, her finger squeezed the.....

But she couldn't do it. For there, standing on the loading ramp was Whisper, and Orchid, and Rose. She dropped the pistol and fell forward, tears falling through the grating and down into the fathomless depths below her. The three of them picked her up and dusted her off.

"We know. We intercepted your mails. Everything is ready...."
"Where will we go?"
"Does it matter? If we are together?"
"What about....."
"Worry about that tomorrow. She will understand."
"I can't just leave everything...."
"Yes you can. And you will."

On the bar, far up the Ivory Tower a datapad bleeped as a message was recieved, but no one answered it.