This is a tale of love. A love that cannot be denied by either party. He has searched for a long time to find his lost wife. She has never forgotten that it was her fault. But she is hidden away, locked in a place she cannot escape from. He is in turn in a hell that he cannot escape until he finds his wife. It is not a happy tale, mostly, but it is a true story. A lot of people died in it's making, just not the right ones.
All he had to go on were old clues and two names. It took him around all four empires, cost him considerable money, and part of his humanity, and after a year, he still had not found her. The Blood Raiders had captured him, but he had escaped. The Empire had tried and failed to capture him. Assassins simply refused the contract on him, those who had sense at least. But still, he failed. Regardless, every moment he was awake he listened to a communicator tuned into a specific frequency, just incase he heard her. But, as each lead ran cold and were thrown aside, he still did not give up. He had vowed never to give up while he had breath left in his body. His name, was Kazeraith.
She took her punishment, as ever, with a stoicism that would have made people wonder, if anyone cared. Here, on the hidden asteroid base far from the reach of casual observers, a woman and her guards could be found. The guards were all men, Amarr born and bred, created to see slaves as objects, things, and to use objects and things as they saw fit. There was not a man on the station who did not know her, and had not known her as often as they wished. The Master of the base, a Holder of impressive lineage was her own. Time and time again he had trained her, tested her, and reminded her of her place. She made no effort to escape, no effort to complain. All she did was obey and serve, perform and worship. There was no attempt to escape as she was knowledgeable about such things, for she was once a pirate, a warrior, a murderer, and a heretic. And yet here, she was just a slave. Her name, was Angelina.
As the last lash fell on her she made no attempt to move. Chained to the table of the overseer she couldn't have moved much if she wanted, and indeed she wouldn't have moved if she was not chained. They just prefered it if they thought she fought them. The three of them took her, one after the other. And all she did was look ahead, apart from one moment every time when she looked up at the camera. When she acknowledged that it was operational, that the computer system was watching her, and recording her, she remained passive.
Eventually they took her back to her room. Unlike most prisons, this one was richly furnished, no expense had been spared. If nothing, her Master was generous to his property. The hot water in the shower washed the stain from her, cleared her spilt blood and washed the tears away. Only then, when she was looking up at the shower would she allow her emotions to show. When she left the shower one of the minor servants was there, waiting with the medical kit, the ritual of the daily punishment and the healing was nearly over. Then she would have the rest of the day to herself.
"The overseer will be changed tomorrow. Hissar will be back."
She nodded and sighed, wincing slightly as the welts and open wounds were cleansed an healed. Advanced technology turned to a curse, so every night her back returned to it's pristine nature so it could be abused the next day.
"Hissar? You'll have your work cut out for you tomorrow."
"Are you not scared? Every time he hurts you more and more. His appetites are becoming worse, and yet he only takes you. His personal slave sees this rotation as a rest cure as he never touches her when he's here."
"I bet on the next rotation he takes what he uses and does the same to her. She deserves better."
"No. She deserves what she gets, she is a slave like you."
"You saying I deserve this, Miran?"
"Yes, but don't let that cloud your judgement. Do you want any extra pain relief for tomorrow?"
"No. He will not permanently hurt me."
She felt the cleansing stop and turned to him.
"Last time you spent half a day in the medical bay getting your skin regrown. Your screams were heard in the next region."
"But I'm alive. And he knows not to kill me."
"You have nothing to prove. Just tell the Master what he does. He can stop it."
"No. I can't explain it.. but no."
The servant sighed and helped her up, and then hugged her. As her door closed and locked she looked at the back of the door and looked at a certain camera out of the corner of her eye. The green light glimmered softly. Inwardly she smiled. Hissar was back.
Hissar was neigh on seven foot of true amarrian, lean and muscled. In one hand he held his sword, always on hand so he could use it in the service of his Master. In the other he usually had the leash to his slave. His armour gleamed and his guards were identical. She watched from the hanger office as their shuttle arrived and the garrison changed. Eleven men left, eleven more arrived. Hissar noticed her and barked an order, two of his men ran at the office. The technician looked up at her and backed away slightly.
"Looks like he's starting early this time."
"He is a monster..."
"And yet no one stops him."
The guards burst in, one of them back handing her, sending her sprawling then they grabbed her arms and dragged her out. They threw her down infront of Hissar and she pulled herself to her knees and kept her head bowed.
"Aaaah, slave. I must say I enjoy these rotations. And so do my men. Shall we begin here? Are you ready to serve your betters?"
"I will serve you as my Master requires, O Overseer."
He stepped back and kicked her, hard in the stomach. She flew back, coughing and choking but pulled herself back to her knees and position.
"Good. You remember your place."
He walked foward and kicked her again. And again. And again.
"You must remember your place slave. You are nothing....."
"Sir, our Lord is calling for you."
"He asks you refrain from beating his slave without his permission."
Hissar scowled and turned to the two guards.
"Take her to the chamber. Prepare her. And bring me the security chief."
Clicking some connectors he let his armour drop and flexxed, letting his slave pick it up. She scurried into the base to place his armour in his quarters. For twenty minutes he talked with the security chief and then dismissed him, and his men. Slapping his sword against his leg he laughed and made his way in.
When he walked into the chamber he saw they had prepared her. She was naked and hanging from a bar in the ceiling, connected by her wrists, her toes just touching the floor. He selected a long thin cane and walked around her.
"I must admit, I enjoy our times together."
She looked around and noticed the camera. The green light was gone. He had had the security grid deactivated.
"Yes Hissar, you are a barbaric beast who loves beating helpless women."
He turned and lashed out, the cane hitting her hard and kept it up until her body was covered in welts.
"You... do not speak. You are hear for my pleasure slave. And I enjoy hurting you. I love it. It makes me excited. Gets me in the right mood to fuck your worthless hide."
She whimpered in pain and reached out, gripping one of her breasts and roughly squeezing her nipple. A hard punch came from him and he slammed his fist into her stomach, then her chest, then her face. She coughed and breathed in harshly, spitting blood from her mouth. He rammed his fingers into her mouth and looked in her eyes, watching the fear in her eyes.
"Better get this whore mouth of yours ready. You know what I want... beg for it."
"Use me... take my mouth... violate your Masters slave."
He pulled back and laughed, wipping his fingers in her hair and stripped down, his heavily muscled body gleamed. Pressing a button on the wall he let her down and she fell to a heap on the floor, then pulled herself to her knees.
"It never fails to amaze me how you serve, how you know your place. Open wide."
She gasped as he took her, her eyes looking out of the corner and looking at the camera. Still it was off. Now it's time to dance. She let him take her for a while, then pulled back and ran her tongue over him, worshipping him in a new way.
"Aaaah yes, that is good. Maybe this time I'll flay you alive. Cut the skin from your back bit by bit and hear you scream."
She looked up at him as he grabbed a handful of her hair.
"You want to hear me scream, O Overseer? Maybe you should be my Master... make me yours. Make me scream when you want...."
She took part of him into her mouth and looked up, he had closed his eyes. So he didn't see the anger flare in her eyes as she bit down with all her strength as she pulled his legs out from under him. The scream that echoed down the corridor was high pitched, and everyone who was listening mistook it for the slave.
She slammed the heel of her foot into his throat, crushing his larynx, cutting off the scream as his hands gripped his castrated body. His sword slithered out of it's scabbard and she walked, slowly, sensually over to him as he started dying. He held his hand up and her fist cut slashed through most of his fingers, a downward cut severed the rest of his manhood and she leant on the blade and watched him die. Taking two fingers she dipped them in his blood and drew on her face with it then walked over to the door, the sword in her hand. She took several breaths as what was coming would tax her to her limits, assuming it would succeed.
The guard on the other side of the door died before he could realise what had happened and his companion had enough time to shout out before the sword cut through his throat. She then reached up and removed the collar from around her neck and smashed it with the hilt of the sword. The security system had noticed and began the protocols that were setup for such an event. The voice of the computer filled the air.
"Slave Revolt in progress. Station is now in emergency Lock Down. All personnel report to the hanger bay. Decompression of station in T minus five minutes."
She ran through the station, taking the corridors she knew would not be heavily used. Several technicians were cut down where they stood and she burst into the hanger office. All the displays were showing the count down. Three minutes... it was enough. From what she could see the guards and the personnel were boarding the shuttle they had arrived on. It would be cramped, but if she remembered correctly, it was only for a few hours. Sitting at the console she disabled several safety sequences and opened an escape capsule bay in the hanger. Then she started the shuttles auto-refuel mode. Two minutes seven.
In the hanger bay she pulled a large heavy chain and clamp and secured the escape capsule by it's moorings making sure it was tight, then started the internal heating. One minute ten. She made sure to throw an extra o2 cylinder in and ran over to the shuttle. The external lock was not supposed to be accessible, but as she knew, it was a feature on the shuttle class that it was revealed during the refueling cycle. With a few presses and then a severing of a hydraulic cable the exterior door opened, only a few inches, but it was enough. Thirty seconds. She ran and leapt into the escape capsule and looked at the bridge of the shuttle. Could see the faces looking at her, could see them trying to close the exterior door of the shuttle. Four... three... two... one... She slammed the door and sealed the catches, able to see the shuttle through the toughened glass.
As the magnetic field over the hanger bay flickered and died the atmosphere was sucked out, everything not nailed down was sucked out of the station. Automatic system sealed the atmosphere generators and the pumps that kept the station alive. She watched with amusement as the futile actions on the shuttle slowly stopped and then was quiet. Going by memory she had two hours. So she set an alarm and fell asleep.
When she awoke and looked out she could see the sheen of the magnetic field back up and saw that the atmosphere pumps were blowing into the room. She cracked the pod and felt the chill atmosphere rush in, cold and harsh. Opening one of the panels she took out a survival suit and slipped into it, then made her way to the shuttle. Repairing the hydraulic cable she opened the door and started to make her way over the bodies. She was not yet home and free, but it was the next best thing. Moments later the shuttle blasted out.
The laser blast when it came was expected. Two hours was more than enough time to get a responce team into place. That they didn't land she was upset at, it was a chance to kill more of them. But her skills only just manged to make it away. Smoke and sparks arced across the bridge and she looked at the cracked window. Half of the shuttle had simply been vaporised, but enough was left to fly and enter warp. Heads would roll, but not hers. As she pulled her hand away from her side she saw the blood covering it and felt the piece of metal that the attack had slammed into her from an exploding bulk head.
Several systems away Kazeraith sat at a table and ate. He ate with one hand under the counter, his eyes on several people who were sitting at a far table. It was possible he recognised them, but then, paranoia was good at keeping him on his toes. A beeping sound shook him and he dropped the spoon and reached into his pocket. The communicator! She was in range!
The shuttle came out of hyperspace and vectored away from the gate, heading towards a distance planet. Her voyage was rough, the shuttle was falling apart, but the navigational systems were working fine and she knew where she was, and how far from apparent safety. Too far, but then she knew of a place nearby, an old smuggers haunt and an old friend. At least, she hoped he was still friendly.
She crashed on the landing pad, but managed to get free of the wreckage. Starport authorities converged on the crash but she managed to slip through a cracked vent that the crash had opened. With one hand on her sword and the other on her wounded side she ran as fast as she could down the duct, stopping only to tear her survival suit to make a bandage for her wound. At the end of the duct she found a maintenance shed and kicked in the door, scaring the two guys inside. They both raised their hands and gabbered in amarri.
"Put your damn hands down. I just need your medical kit and comm unit."
They handed over her demands, but kept their hands up. She ignored them and patched herself up and activated the comm, dialing in a number she remembered.
"Max. It's Angelina."
"By the moons, what you trying to do? Get us killed? You know the bounty on your head?"
"Yes I do. Tempted?"
"Of course, I'd sell my own mother, you know that."
"Good, that's the Max I know. You still got that old clone setup?"
"Is this line secure?"
"Damn and blast Max, I've just escaped from prison and I need some help. I need to set up a clone and a scan and I need it now. Can you help or just make excuses?"
"Aayeeee, you know where I am. But hurry, it won't take them long to figure I am here."
Kazeraith landed his Cruor at the starport and his troops spread out, surrounding the ship. He looked on with amusement at the crashed shuttle and knew she was close.
"No one gets on board the ship without me. If they try, shoot them."
The guards afirmed and he pulled out his scanner. She was just in range, and moving away from him. There was no way he was going to let her get away! He beckoned over a taxi and dropped a bundle of cash in the guys lap showing him the scanner.
"Take me here. Now!"
Angelina stopped outside the building and looked around. The back streets of the starport were a mess of different styles and shapes. Shapes lurked in alleys and few vehicles traveresed the wide road that meandered around the buildings. Stopping at one of the buildings she read the signs and found the one she wanted. Taking a moment she stepped back into the shadows and watched. Her senses were telling her something was wrong, and her senses were rarely wrong. Then she heard it, a hover car being pushed to the limit and pulling up down the street where some men had waved it down. Armed men, local militia it looked like. No! She recognised the armour, the style, and above all the emblem. House Pitojee! By the moons, she screamed in her mind, he followed me already. Two shots rang out and the guards fell back, she watched as a robed man leapt out of the taxi and stepped over them adminstering a shot to the head of each. Then he pulled back his hood and shouted out.
Her heart jumped, Kazeraith! She walked into the middle of the street and looked at him, tears, emotions a whole years worth welled forth and she whispered, the longing in her eyes.
He heard the shot from where he was standing and turned around to see Angelina slump to her knees then fall flat on her face. Behind her a paladin, one of Esna's. He screamed, raising his pistol and running, firing. Shots rang out as troopers appeared from doors and windows. His second pistol came into his hand and he fired on the run, the automatic fire slamming into buildings, windows, doors and men with reckless abandon. He slid along the floor by her and ejected his clips and slipped in new ones, firing at everything and everyone moving until there was no one firing back.
"Angelina... Ang... it's you.. its really you!"
He pulled her up and felt the blood seeping into his hand. She opened her eyes, a trickle of blood coming from the corner of her mouth.
"What... took... you...."
Crushing her close to him he picked her up despite her cry of pain.
"Where? You came here for a reason!"
She pointed, he kicked in the door and was met by the barrels of three heavy rifles. Max lowered his when he saw who it was. The shock on his face apparent.
"Now her I was expecting, but you?"
"We can fight old battles another day. Right now I need to know why she came here."
"She needs a scan and a clone. I have both here but we need to hurry."
Max and his guards led them down several flights of stairs, each time a heavy steel door slammed behind them. They ended up in a large laboratory with an annexx containing a dozen clone tubes of dubious vintage. Kaze laid her down on a table and watched as Max hooked her up.
"How long will this take?"
"Not long. But it's the clone transfer that will take the time. I got all the stuff here, but it'll still take about ten minutes for the overlays to take effect. Luckily I got one here that is the basic pattern for her race. If you don't mind the fact that she won't look like herself for awhile."
"I just need her backed up and running. If you need ten minutes you got ten minutes."
"It'll cost. You know that, right?"
"It'll be paid. Take me to the clone bay."
They walked over to it, the last one of the twelve. They could see inside one of the generic clones, genetic neutral. It looked like her, but only in the generalisation.
"These tubes are archaic. Will they work?"
"Probably. But that's not your main problem You forgot that you started a firefight out there?"
"I don't care. She'd do it for me."
"And need I remind you, once you set up the clone she needs to transfer into it. Preferably sooner rather than later. She's dying. My boys are stabilising her, but it needs to be done quickly."
"You made the backup?"
The screen on the tube flickered and started to whine softly as it activated. The view pannel into the chamber opaqued as the process started.
"There... ten minutes and she's ready. I can't guarentee the clone, usually I need more time, but this is the bare minimum."
"She's worth it."
He pulled a shimmer field from his belt and pinned it to the tube and activated it. The tube all but vanished and he nodded. He could hear the sound of explosions as the doors were blown through and went back to Ang, grasping her hand and smoothing her brow.
"How you feeling?"
"I don't want to die. I don't want to end up back at his prison. Please."
"We're cloning you, if you die... well you'll end up here. But it's better than nothing."
"Promise me. If it comes to it, you'll end me before they capture me."
"You got my word. You always got my word."
He leant down and kissed her, tasting the blood on her lips. For a moment he looked at her. He didn't see the pirate, the murderer, the heretic. He saw a scared woman, dying. His resolve was made and he picked up the sword she had dropped.
"Max, put this by her clone tank. Make sure she can see it when she gets out."
"Okay.. what are you going to do?"
He checked his pistols and opened the door.
Max placed the sword where he requested and went back the consoles, checking everything. From beyond the door he could hear the sound of a vicious gun battle, the screams of the dying getting closer until there was a dull crump. He checked his console. One minute. He needed to delay...
The door opened and man walked in, behind him two guard carried the disarmed Kazeriath. They dropped him on the floor and stood behind him. The officer sniffed and looked around, taking everything in.
"You and you, search this place. You, check her status. You, destroy those clone tubes. Max Varishell, you are under arrest for various things which I'll make the authorities aware of later. If you resist I will shoot you out of hand."
He held his hands up, just above the console. His head jerked around as he heard the sound of gunfire, the guards destroying the tubes. He counted as he looked at the officer. Eight... nine... ten.. eleven. No twelve!
Kazeraith laughed even though it hurt and got a boot for his trouble.
"Sir, the woman is alive. We can take her into custody."
"Good. Chain her tightly, we've been warned about her. Though given how easy it was to capture her I'm at a loss to see why."
Kazeraith looked at Max, the pleading in his eyes. Max looked at Angelina and remembered that he owed her. Owed her his life. He lowered his hand and picked up the pistol by the screen and nodded at Kazeriath. He stood up, pointed the pistol at Angelina and fired, then was thrown back by the concentrated fire of the guards. The officer stamped over and looked at the body, even in death Max was smiling.
"You fools! We wanted them all alive!"
He turned to Kaze and lowered his pistol.
"All alive, or none. That's what he said."
"Who? Who wants this?"
"The Lord Esna naturally."
"I spit on his grave...."
"Sir.... you might want to...."
There was a hissing sound from the annex as the clone tube opened and steam was vented from the tube. A sound of metal scratching against metal could be heard then a gutteral cry.
"Guard.... what's happening?"
The officer picked up Kaze and placed the pistol against his side and watched in amazement as a naked woman holdling a sword walked into the room, her head was lowered, looking at Max's body.
"You... will put my husband down... now."
Angelina Ballentyne looked up and flexed, her hand gripping the sword in one hand and the pistol she had taken from the guard. The officer hesitated, his men were unsure as to what threat a naked woman could be. It was all the edge she needed.
She knelt down beside Kazeraith and held him in her arms.
"Oh kaze, what have they done to you?"
"Ang my darling... you are alive.."
"Yes, and once I get out of here I'll make sure I look as you remember me. But for now, we need to get out of here."
"My ship is at the starport....."
"To risky. I have a better idea. Don't you die on me. Or I'll be really pissed."
She leant down and kissed him and darkness covered him as he passed out.
Kazeraith awoke in a low bed, the sound of wind chimes could be heard, and far off someone was playing a musical instrument with a considerable amount of skill. He could also hear women laughing and talking. Sitting up he groaned as he felt the pain in his side, and noticed the bandages wrapped around him. Ignoring his nakedness he walked over to the window and looked out. Memories flooded back as he saw the great expanse of ocean, the gardens and the heavy forest. The Geisha House! He turned and stopped, there standing at the door were three geisha, one smiling blind one and two that look for all the world like images of Angelina's sister.
"Aaaah, you are awake I see. She asked if you could be brought to her once she had awoken. I think this is the first time in a week she has not been by your side. You know she really loves you?"
"I know. I thought I was rescuing her, I guess.. I was wrong."
"You saved her more than you realise, though she may need you more than you know. But please, come. She is waiting on the beach."
Angelina sat on the end of the pier, her feet in the water just looking. So much abuse and horror had passed, things she couldn't bare herself to think about. And now to sit here, at her sisters house and just be free.. and not have to worry about anything other than her man, it just didn't seem real. And for a moment she wondered, is it all real?
She heard the sound behind her and saw Whisper and Kazeraith and her face broke into a smile and she laughed and got up and ran to him, wrapping him in her arms. Whisper simply smiled and left them too it, as Angelina cried on her husbands shoulder and embraced his tightly.
"You never gave up on me...."
"You came for me...."
"I promised I would..."
"All for love?"
"Yes my darling, all for love. You are free now.... we are free.."
She looked at him and laughed and held him close, and wept openly for the first time in a year.