Katie Override; Wormhole PI

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Katie. Katie?” ALLISON’S voice woke her from her sleep cycle.

“What’s wrong ALLISON?” Katie asked

“Nothing’s wrong.” the voice said inside her head.

“Then why did you wake me?”

“I was running a test.” came the matter of fact reply.

“But I didn’t schedule any tests ALLISON.”

“I was running a test Katie, a test to perform an unscheduled test.”

Katie was confused, “What? Why?”

To which ALLISON replied, “Please. Be more specific, Katie.”

Again Katie replied, “Why did you want to wake me and perform an unscheduled test?”

“Wanting is a human emotion, and not within my capability,” her semi metallic voice echoed again in the capsuleers head.

“I know that.” Katie sighed.

Maybe merging the ALLISON AI with the Aura ship’s AI was a bad idea.  System had done it and had reported good results, but Katie would have to interact more with this new hybrid to decide if it was really what she wanted.

ALLISON, Please warp to safe bookmark seventeen, run D-scan protocols and then engage the cloak.  After the ship is cloaked run diagnostic mode on yourself and maintenance cycle alpha three on the ship’s systems, then go to standby mode.”

“Acknowledged Katie,” ALLISON replied.

The ship surged into warp and moments later came to a silent stop.  Then the D-scan ping echoed in Katie’s head.

D-scan clear, the cloak engaged with a static pop sound crackling as the EM Nodes masked the ships signatures.

With a single thought the pod cracked and opened.  The pod goo cycled, half of it draining to the temporary tank. Katie’s feet touched to the floor of the pod as the sense of floating was replaced with the feel of the gravity plates pulling her down.

After disconnecting the neural harness, she dried off and pulled on a pair of tights and a soft silk robe.  Then she strode across the pod chamber, bare foot, to the hatch. Raising her hand over a sensor on the wall, with a snick sound, the hatch quickly opened allowing her to enter the passageway.

Halfway down the passageway she opened a cabinet set into the wall that contained an antique seeping kettle and glass beaker. She methodically opened a small bag next to it and scooped a few measures of an aromatic rough powder into the seeping chamber.  Then with a flick of an old rocker switch, hot water poured into the seeping chamber, draining its dark infused fluid into the beaker below it, a wisp of white steam rising from the beaker.

Katie enjoyed the antique object and its mechanical chemistry that produced such a splendid rough drink.  Some people like to drench it in sucrose, paladeen, or other opaque white fluids rich in fats and proteins.  That said, she enjoyed it black, in all its dark mysterious richness, unhindered by complication.

Katie carried on down the passageway to the Captain’s lounge. She had furnished it with rare, and possibly questionably acquired, Gallente Federation wood which came from the Ugamba trees found on Planet III in the Theruesse system of Verge Vendor.

It had seemed fitting for the old Epithal, and she really did enjoyed the feeling, smell, and ambiance the dark wood gave to the lounge.

She sat down at the console and placed the hot glass beaker on a stained piece of fabric next to the keyboard.

The routine of her life, clone after clone, had become, well… routine.

She did not mind it so much, in fact she found solace in its methodical sameness.

Its rhythm was a cadence of; Pod life – nourishment, sleep, activity… followed by her dry life – nourishment, sleep, and then activity.  Each event had a specific order, duration, and required outcome.

The only change in her cyclic rhythm that was allowed was once every 8,640 minutes.

She would warp her ship, Jane’s Revenge, from planet to planet in the J-hole system, to which she called home, collecting the supply of products her command centres produced from orbital customs quarantine stations.

After dropping the cargo into a contract to System Baud at the Astrahus, her responsibilities complete, she had the next 8,640 minutes to herself. Thus the next cycle of rhythmic routine would commence.

It was easy to not become bored when you are immortal, don’t believe what some would say. When you have forever and many clones, routine is not a bad thing.

She did enjoy a grand adventure, but one thing immortality had taught Katie was to savour the routine, be patient, and enjoy every simple thing you do.

There would be plenty of time for adventures when they came.

Jason Kepler; Location Agent

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The Ashimmu lay about 6300 meters off the Pacifiers cloaked hull. It’s beige hull speckled with red ‘blood’ like design that echoed it’s sordid past.

In those of the Empire’s regions where naughty children are frightened into submission with tales of the Blood Raiders and their gallery of horrors, the terrible spear of the Ashimmu is known by all as a bringer of things worse than death.

Although the Zkill Guide to the Ashimmu on the GNet denigrates its abilities to be a good member of a fleet or fight against other pirates, alone and outclassed with an Ashimuu was enough to make any capsuleer soil their hydrostatic pod goo.

Not only could this beast of nightmare ship web you down to standing still, it could suck all of the power from your batteries and warm your ship’s hull hellishly with the gaze of its beams.

Jason Kepler was not new to staring down the gullet of evil, he was new to doing it so alone, so far from home, and with only a thin cloak between him and sudden death.

The Pacifier he flew was not his ship, but on loan from his childhood friend, ‘it’s complicated’, System Baud.

The ship was fit for speed and stealth, and only had enough tank to stand against an alpha attack from gate or roid rats, or inexperienced capsuleers.

Monitoring the local coms channels here in E-EFAM he had discovered that this capsuleer was in fact Arachne Daemon, who was responsible for the death of Systems parents.

Jason had been following her down this dark alley in Cobalt Edge for 3 days now, and was sure she had now noticed his ship’s gate transponder as it appeared repeatedly listing amongst the other capsuleers using the gates.

He realized she had singled him out as she started staying longer and longer before warping off gate as if challenging him to break his gate cloak sooner than later.

He had tried to appear as an explorer; scanning, warping, and lingering in Relic sites, but that façade fell when he had not hacked any of the nodes, and she had noticed this upon closer inspection.

“Pilot,” Aura interrupted his thoughts, “The Ashimmu is moving off and has activated gate protocols for SBEN-Q.”

Jason had wisely warped to 10 km off the gate and had stayed cloaked while the other vessel had orbited the gate, snooping him out unsuccessfully. Now with a flash and a blink the Ashimmu had disappeared into the gate portal.

Jason, engaged the gate protocols as well, dropping his cloak.  He did not like speaking with Aura at all and often just did what needed to be done without comment.  Her voice was a shallow echo of a real woman and he did not like fantasy women, he like real flesh, warm reality.

“Pilot,” again interrupting his thought, “There are four ships on the directional scan entering the gate grid.”

Aura’s thoughts in his head dimmed as his little ship crossed the gate horizon and fell into the subspace warp field.  Blink, flash, and he was light years away now in SBEN-Q.

Four ships entering the gate grid in E-EFAM only meant one thing, Arachne had friends and he was trapped in this dead end system with only one gate out.

“Aura, full Scan, send the result directly to my Neural Hud.”

Information streamed directly into his brain in a matter of seconds he understood the entire circumstances he now was in.

The Ashimmu had taken up, by luck probably, a position directly in between himself and the only gate out of the system. A glazed white static filled bubble, some 30 km in diameter, had swooped online engulfing any warp escape he might enact. Two flashes from the gate indicated two of the four ships had jumped in behind him and were de-cloaking as he thought of what to do next, still secure in his gate cloak from entering the system.

The other two ships were probably in a similar position back in E-EFAM securing any escape if he made it back to the gate and was able to return there intact.

His best option now was to de-cloak and attempt to outrun the Ashimuu to the edge of the warp disruption bubble and warp off the grid.

He willed the ship engines to maximum thrust and then overheated their manifolds getting another 38% thrust.  That might give him the slight edge he needed, but would destroy the drive system if left too long unchecked.

The Sunny Hill shimmered and started to move.  He engaged the covert ops cloak, but before it fully engaged the sound of a lock perimeter began to chime and then instantly a lock claxon went off in his mind.  How had she locked him so fast? With no cloak, he checked the range of the Ashimuu, it was only 8200 meters off his back left quarter.

This was it.  The scram strained the ship and he watched his micro warp drive just stall completely, then the ship slowed to almost a crawl as the blue light of web stasisfiers grabbed hold of its fragile hull.

He had no time left, he quickly open a subspace com channel and began, “Aura, send message immediately while I dictate to Tristan Override, sudo auth one nine seven bravo victor nine. Commence.”

White beams glazed across the Pacifier’s hull sparkling the shield.  At that same moment the capacitor battery claxon went off as his batteries dipped below the 30% threshold.  Then a loud cracking vibration rang out across the ship as a roaring sound engulfed the hull as its atmosphere began to gush out into space.

He quickly looked at the ship reading and saw he had lost all of his minimal shields and hull armour, leaving about 20% of his hull weakened.

This was it, now or never.

Tristan, are you there?  Can you hear me? I have found the Thukker Assassin and the Krusual capsuleer,” another claxon began to scream in his mind.

“I am sending their coordinates now.  I don’t think I’m going to make it out of this scrap,” he sent the system coordinates and the complete log of his last three weeks with a single thought and then continued.

“Tell System she is flying an Ashimu and she has also been seen flying in these parts in a Gila with Geckos as well. The Krusual capsuleers name is Arachne Daemon. You’re not going to believe this but…”

White light.

Warm while light.

The sweet scent of Vlanian beans.

Thoughts of his childhood raced through his new fresh clone cerebrum.

Then his cerebellum started to fire off electrical impulses.

His arms and legs, he could feel them.

They were stiff, but they moved when he wanted them to.

Instantly, full on, his mind raced with thoughts.

He had been sending a message to sweet Tristan.

Her face hovered in his mind as he thought fondly of her.  She was his kid sister, well, adopted kid sister, but some bonds transcended space and time.

“Ah,” he thought, finally piecing it all together, “New clone.  Now I need a new ship.  I also need to tell System I am sorry I got her half billion isk Pacifier blown up.”

So much to do in this new clone.

 

 

Tristan Override; Location Agent

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Tristan hit the enter key on her Keres’ console.

The two weeks she had spent speaking with location agency’s across Great Wildlands, Cache and Insmother had finally paid off with one of the Thukker Assassins finally being found hiding deep in the dead end system of KS-1TS which was currently controlled by the Triumvirate Alliance.

The fact that the assassin was a mortal being, and not a capsuleer, had made his ability to find passage in to the back waters of Insmother a remarkable feat indeed.

The information of his location was guaranteed to be accurate within 12 hours, which should give System plenty of time to catch one of the criminals who had killed Aurthrian and Victoria Baud.

Tristan had been an integral part of the Baud family since she was 12 years old and owed them so much more than any financial exchange could repay.  Her twin sister Katie and she would have been left to die on Ertoo VI if Aurthrian Buad had not found the Industrial Facility that the Blood Raiders had destroyed after the Orion Syndicate had abandoned it. The orphaned twins were the only survivors of the twenty three families that lived in that Facility that produced BioFuel for the Syndicate.

When the Orion Syndicate had left Ertoo they had stranded over 2100 people on three planets that were producing resources like Water, Biofuel and Oxygen.

For Tristan, the trauma she had witnessed as the hands of the Blood Raider Covenant had slaughtered and bled out her family and childhood friends would live with her for the rest of her eternal life.  The Baud’s had help with that healing of that trauma, not only by bringing the twins into their family, but by paying for the expensive and time consuming psychological neural therapy that was needed to give them back their minds, free from its damage. Even so, Tristan would always be searching for ways to destroy the Sani Sabik Cult.

The twins had also benefited the familiar ties being granted access into the Amarr capsuleer program alongside of System.

Now that one of the three criminals had been found, Tristan set her sights on finding the other two.

Little did she realize how short a search it would be as her ships Aura spoke out, “Pilot, Incoming transmission from, Jason Kepler – Location SBEN-Q, Cobalt Edge,”

“Put it through Aura.” Tristan softly thought into the fibre Aura channel.

Tristan, are you there?  Can you hear me?” Jason’s voice was half drowned out by ship hull damage claxons wailing and the roaring sound of atmosphere leaving a ship.

“I have found the Thukker Assassin and the Krusual capsuleer.  I am sending their coordinates now.  I don’t think I’m going to make it out of this scrap.  Tell System she is flying an Ashimu and she has also been seen flying in these parts in a Gila with Geckos as well. The Krusual capsuleers name is Arachne Daemon. You’re not going to believe this but ….” His voice cut to static.

Aura’s voice chimed in, “Pilot, the transmission ended.  The subspace hyperlink has disconnected.  Waiting your orders pilot.”

Aura, set a destination to the closest entry to Thera and then add a way point for the Paleo station.  Also, open command com again and send a copy of the last transmission from Jason Kepler to System Baud.”

Tristan closed the pod link to Aura and prepared a sleep cycle. It was going to be a long night again and Tristan would need the rest for what was coming.

She reopened the pod fibre connection to Aura, “Aura, only wake me with critical communiqués. I am going to sleep for the next 4 hours.  Engage cloak and run maintenance cycle Alpha Two Charlie. End Line.” Then she closed the link again, and slowly drifted off to sleep.

A Sombre Coquetry Of Death

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The sound of the funerary violin was a sombre coquetry of death.

The single pitch split becoming two tones and held for nearly 4 minutes, then faded to silence.

Then the lone horn of Aurthrian sounded a long single tone.

The sound seemingly echoed throughout the Birch forest.

System stood as still as she was able to.

There were only forty three people encircled at the centre of the ceremony.  Another one hundred and eighty six were in the outer circle some 220 meters outside of the inner circle.

The two Athra sarcophagi, at the centre of the ceremony floated half a metre above the woodland floor, which was in the centre clearing of the Tra’vein forest that was deep inland of the Island.

The black surface of the sarcophagi seemed to be devoid of light, perpetually resisting any reflection or edges. Only the red and gold Amarrian emblem and the House Baud emblem were visible across the top surfaces of them.

The sarcophagi looked as System’s heart and spirt felt; cold and dark, but in full control by the sigil’s of her house and society.

Then the House Cleric, and childhood friend of her father, stepped forward and spoke. His long dark robes neatly pleated and his hood drawn down around his neck so his silver hair and full stature was seen and known.  He began solemnly,

“In the beginning all things were as one.
God parted them and breathed life into his creation.
Divided the parts and gave each its place.
And unto each, bestowed purpose.

The Amarr people came into the world and the world came into being.
Our illustrious ancestors freed their souls from the evils of the old world and created a new one.

The great Amarr Empire was founded to cultivate the spirit of man.

To do so the enemies of the outside had to be defeated.
And the enemies of the inside controlled.
The Lord gave our Emperor the power to harness the Good and punish the Evil.
Ever since, the Emperor has lived the lives of his subjects and breathed the air of authority.

The Wrath of God is Immense.
His Justice is Swift and Decisive.
His Tolerance is Limited.

Be Careful.  – Pure Thought is the Instigator of Sin.
Be Watchful.  – Free Thought is the Begetter of Disorder.
Be Respectful.  – Uniform Thought is the Way of Life.

The Mercy of our Emperor is Limitless.
His Rule is Benign and Righteous.
His Love is Perpetual.”

Then there was silence.

System looked up, and slowly, as not to draw attention, began scanning the circle of people close to her, making mental notes of who was in attendance.

The usual close family and friends were there.  Three of the people standing in the close circle had hoods cloaking their identity.  They were likely very high in power politically and were as anonymous as possible for security reasons.  They had, even though, been screened and cleared to the area by an Imperial security detachment that had been deployed by someone close to the top of the Amarrian government.  The security team was not there necessarily to guard the Baud House, but all those in attendance.  They did not want anything happening while such important people were here.

Other than the three cloaked visitors, System made mental note of the other forty individuals.  Six she would have to visit at a more fitting time in the weeks and months to come as a responsibility of now being the new leader of the Baud House. Twenty two of them she would send a gift to thanking them for their attendance.  The last twelve were close family that also lived on the Island.  She would have to postpone visiting them until a later time.

Then Tru’nar the Cleric looked her way and said, “System, as eldest daughter to Aurthrian and Victoria Baud, and now Heir High Matriarch of the House Baud, it is now time for you to address the funerary.”

The formal title Heir High Matriarch had never been utter out loud in regards to System and it shocked her a bit to hear it uttered.  A flood of memories filled her mind and she immediately tightened her lips and pushed the memories back.

She strode forward at an even pace until she was standing alongside the two sarcophagi.

The circle of people faded out of her perception as she reached out her hand and placed it lovingly on the cold black cylinder that contained her father.  She ran her fingers across the House Baud emblem feeling the edge between the cylinder and the paint.

She froze, feeling like every muscle, all at once decided to stop responding to her mind. Then a solitary Hue-gatal bird cawed out from a nearby Birch tree drawing System back to the physical world around her.

“My father…” she began her voice cracking and faltering just slightly. She drew in a deep breath and started again.  “My father, Aurthrain, … papa … da … was a man, an Amarrian that broke free from the constraints of society and forged a path of his own destiny. He was a loving father and husband, a tribute to our ancestors.  The legacy of the Baud House will be felt for many generations, though that is not why he chose the path he did.”

She paused, looked down at the ground below her feet, and again everything faded and she was 8 years old again reaching up holding her dear pa’s hand on the shore in front of her childhood house. His hand was warm, inviting, strong…. yet soft.

She blinked and drew in another deep breath and receded from the memory.

“He loved his wife and partner of forty two years, my mother Victoria, like no love I have ever seen or heard of.  He was a model to many, a safe haven for a few, and my first love.”

She stopped, a lump rising in her throat.  ‘Not now… no, not now,’ she thought.

Then like a broken cask, tears began to stream down her cheeks.

“I…  he… mumfth, “ her mouth seemed to stop working and her face become bright red off setting her blond white hair.  She had told herself this would not happen. She had chosen not to display emotion to these people, most of whom did not deserve to be inside her defences. And now, here she was, crying like a little girl who had lost her beloved stuffed fedobear.

Then the horn again blew.  A single low note bellowed out covering her sorrow. It went on for several minutes.

Unwavering and steady.

Mournful and solemn.

She was thankful for the distraction, but unhappy she could not continue with a few thoughts she had for her mother.

She strode back to her place in the circle.

Over the next 40 minutes many of the forty three stepped forward and each shared a story or two about her beloved Mum and Da.

Then the horn sounded a third time, long and rumbling, shaking the ground.

A space opened below the sarcophagi, the temporary sliding doors grinding to a halt. Then the two cylinders lowered gracefully into the ground.  The doors then lifted and floated to the side of the area. Another small platform, with a 2 metres high pile of soil, then floated over and tilted pouring half of the soil into the grave site. Then two small pods the size of a Bathran melon floated over to Systems side.

She reach down and pick them up, one in each hand.  She solemnly and slowly walked over to the half-filled grave and dropped in both pods. Each one settled over the top of where each cylinder was buried.

The pods would grow over the next few months, their roots going down into the buried sarcophagi, its sapling nourished by her parents, and in the years to come would grow into another pair of Birch trees here in the forest of their ancestors.

The platform tilted and the rest of the soil filled the hole completely, then it floated away to the side.

One last horn sounded for about twenty seconds, then immediately followed by nine short blasts, in sets of three cadence, of the Amarr percussion cannons that were stationed just outside the forest.

The funerary was over.

The attendees slowly walk away from the fresh grave, toward where the secondary service was to be held.  System would not be attending that service.  Her duties now complete, she was free to proceed as she wished.

She stood silently at her parent’s grave until all had left.

Then allowing her full emotion to ebb and flow; sorrow, regret, loneliness; feeling, thinking, remembering, she began to cry.

The tears and sobs were so healing to her damaged soul.  She had held back for the last three days and now with abandon she allowed them to reign freely unrestricted.

This was the final purging confessional of emotion, she was now ash in God’s hands, ready to rise and become his holy flame of purification.

She was now free to hunt.

 

The Spark, Reni Brahk

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The Carthum Jubilee Confessor floated a mere 2 meters off the Baud House hanger floor. The MPSR system barely noticed its mass, passively levitating the ship’s 2 million kilograms while simultaneously locking down any lateral vibration that might affect the ship’s 300 meter station in the hanger.

System stretched out her hand and let it run across the metallic surface for a few meters until she reached a placard embedded in the hull. She stopped and turned her eyes up and found the familiar words etched into it’s surface in stylized Amarri script.

“Your first duty is to purge yourself in the flames of your confession before God. You must become ash in God’s hands, for only then may you rise anew to strike the adversary down.”

-Apostle-Martial Zhar Pashay; Battle of Rahdo, Amarr Prime AD 20538

The Confessor, a one-of-a-kind prototype, had been given to Aurthrian Baud by Empress Jamyl I in YC111. It was a gift of honor for the Baud House’s role in working with the Empress’ Declaration Emancipation Decree of that same said year. This did not go unnoticed by System, and the purpose for which she was to use it was very fitting to the nature of the circumstances that had recently unfolded on the Baud household.

System’s father had fit it uniquely with a Coreli c-type microwarp drive, a Sentient type-a sensor booster, four Imperial Navy beams with each having it’s own Draclira heat sinks, and an Estamel cloak.

System recalled what her father had proudly told many guests to the hanger.

“She’s a mean raging fire of God that can burn 800 dps out to 25 kilometers all while traveling over 2500 meters per second. With the Tobias Deca warp scram, the ship, though highly unstable, can lock, snare, and destroy any ship under 25,000 Imperial tons before you can mix your Rum into your coffee.”

The fact that her father was prone to bouts of exaggeration, though he was not far off from the truth, stirred feelings of both sadness at his passing, fondness for him, which inevitably was followed by a dull vibrant anger for those who had murdered him and her mother.  She wonder if this constant wave of emotions would ever subside, if there would ever be peace in her soul again.

Just as with her inner emotional turmoil, the problem, System realized, was in how to control such a beast of a vessel.

If not piloted by a capsuleer with very rare and hard to acquire set of implants, the Reni Brahk would itself become an eternal blazing flame. For this reason it was mostly an ornamental vessel and hence why System initially did not consider it as a viable ship for her needs. But that all changed when she had gained access to her father’s personal vault.

Inside the vault she had found, among other things, a small black glass case that contained 6 small cerebral implants. They looked like most any normal implant except for the red and gold symbol on each one.

The symbol was one of legend, and System did not believe what she was holding until she scanned them with her Trexel Mark VII analyzer confirming the content of each implant.

The symbol on each implant was a combination of a Genolution Core logo, and an Implar Vipre crossed with a Veni Da’ Gar.

Her father had held many secrets throughout his life, and it appeared that some of his secrets, had secrets as well.

It took her nearly 7 hours of searching until she found her father’s personal hand written diary in the massive vault and deciphered the mystery of the implants.

These implants were the key to being able to successfully control the Carthum Confessor, Reni Brahk.

Now all she had to do was warm up the vessel, install a fresh install of ALLISON, install a Zendaine rigs for solo flight, and store some provisions and gear for the trip.  She had a long night ahead of her, and commenced with determination.

Tomorrow she would attend to her parents funerary before leaving Oris.

 

Hot Quafe, Cold Hearted

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System sat reclined in the J-cluo chair in the East Lounge. She was looking out over the ocean contemplating it’s depths, and it’s ability to keep a balance, trying not to let her imagination engage in what was to come.

Mr.Pinn strode into the room carrying a tray in his left hand and clutching a satchel in his right it’s strap over his shoulder, the House Baud emblem stitched across the satchel.

The tray had a large silver frosted bottle, an empty glass tumbler, and two pipping hot cups of Quafe.

He set the tray down on the table beside System and pulled a large leather chair up to it.

He then sat down and placed one of the hot cups of Quafe next to System’s arm, “I do not know how you can drink that stuff hot, Little Miss.”  The term of fondness warmed her heart, recalling memories to her childhood momentarily.

System grabbed the bottle by the neck, twisted off the cork, and poured a short shot into the cup of Quafe. She set the bottle down and then picked up the cup and carefully blew across it’s surface.

“It takes some getting used to Mr. Pinn, but 125 year old Donny, sure does take the edge off the Quafe.”

He grinned a bit, there it was, the old Mr. Pinn she remembered was still in there.

“Dear old Mr. Pinn, Please tell me now what happened to mum and da,” her voice faltered and cracked on that last word.

“I am unsure how to say this wisely, so I beg your forgiveness.  Let me just tell you the circumstances blatantly.” he said while picking up the empty glass tumbler and pouring himself a generous pull of Donny straight.

He tipped the glass tumbler back, the cool intoxicating beverage tantalizing his tongue, and slipping down his throat.

“It was the Minmatar.” he said, an edge in the tenor of his voice.  “Two Thukker assassins and a Krusual bitch.” he spat the last word out revealing the deep hatred he held in check.

Anger welled up inside her chest, her stomach tightened and she felt herself beginning to bare her teeth.  A flush of blood and adrenaline surged across her face.

Thukker?” System queried, the word had mixed emotions wrought from the roof of her mouth. “They are a bit far from the Great Wildlands aren’t they? Why did they do this? Why…” her voice trailed off.

“That’s not all dear princess, the Krusual bitch was a capsuleer.” and again the disdain could be felt when he uttered that word, bitch.  System winced when he said it, but hoped he didn’t notice. She could not remember a time of ever hearing Mr. Pinn using impolite language.

“The house authorities think they know what happened. I’ll leave the details of their attack to you to read as I cannot bring myself to put them to voice. The why is what we should discuss dear one.”

He continued, “the Thukker’s had scrawled in Helio nano paint across the walls of your parents chamber five words, ‘Slaver Pish. Blood Vi Cunt’.”

System’s heart sank, she knew exactly what it meant.

They were Retributionist.

A growing problem on Oris in the last decade was the number of politically motivated terrorist ‘revenge’ killings for Amarrian slave owners, at the hand of alien Minmatar assassins.

As it is with many activist and terrorists, misinformation, and the gullibility to believe without verifying, these three must not have known, nor took the time to find out about the Baud family history.

The House Baud had done away with the practice of slave ownership nearly five generations ago. Forsaking passages from the Book of Reclaiming, and the prophecies of Gheinok the First they suffered politically and socially. After several generations they had found a peace with it managing to abstain from the practice completely without drawing to much attention.

Later, System’s great grandfather started an abolitionist movement, underground at first, but by the time her grandfather and father had come to power they had moved the abolitionists movement, though in minority, into the modern Amarrian civilization’s collective consciousness.

Then her father’s life’s work was honored and recognized when Empress Jamyl I proclaimed her Emancipation Decree in YC111.  Hundreds of millions of slaves were freed, although a large number of slaves, Minmatar and otherwise, remain enslaved with in the Empire, even here on Oris to this day.

System had grown up in a house where slavery was not taught as a right, and that the freedom of all sentient beings was the highest enlightenment to attain to.

Proving being first was not always being correct the Baud House was considered by many, even to this day, as heretical to traditional Amarrian religions beliefs.

Her father had worn this general Amarrian disdain toward himself and his House as a badge of honor.

Every Minmatar that had worked for the Baud’s over the last 135 years, had been free to leave if they wanted.  They were treated fairly and paid well.  Even if they left, they had the protection of the House Baud, which came merely by having been in their employ.

The Bauds had many enemies in Amarrian society, but none were physically dangerous.

Their enemies had always resolved themselves to wield their enmity toward House Baud with political power and with the manipulation of social medias against them.  This was not that kind of enmity.

This attack was guttural and intimate.

She spoke with Mr. Pinn for the next few hours asking him many questions, many of which he was able to answer. They both cried, and at one point they just sat quietly enjoying each others company in silence commiseration.

Then Mr. Pinn had pulled out of the satchel several data links and some official linen paper documents for System to sign and blood stamp.

The beginning of the legal transfer started, Mr. Pinn excused himself to freshen up a new brew of Quafe and grab a couple more bottles of Donny.  Dusk was beginning to fall, as the evening sun light began to ebb.  They would be up late into the evening sorting things out.

While he was away System sat quietly thinking.

She had set in her mind firmly that she would have to hunt down these two Thukker mortals and their Krusual capsuleer and bring the holy justified might of Amarrian punishment to them.

They would die by her hands, slowly, and painfully she hoped.  She knew it would not bring relief to her or her House’s grief, but it had to be done to send a message to other Retributionists, and to sate her anger and rage.  Until this was accomplished she would not find balance in her immortal life – she could not fully begin this new chapter in her life, until…

Mr. Pinn entered the room with fresh provisions and sat quietly not speaking.

After a few minutes, System spoke, “Let us attend to the final official legalities and ceremony of my Heirship and the power transition as the Heir of the House. I want to get the House in order so I can leave as soon as possible.  We must also plan and attend the burial rites in 3 day, after which I plan to leave Oris.”

She realized she was going to have to leave the Pacifier behind, in more ways than one. She would leave it docked at the station orbiting Oris and acquire a more suitable ship for the task at hand.

System would also have to keep her plans quiet.  Any word reaching the Enclave’s ears might raise too many ‘Creedo’ compliance questions, and at this time she could not afford to have anything hindering her.

She would deal with Mynxee and Splunk later if she had to… for now she was going to become invisible and stalk her targets, learn their ways, and bring to them a slow raging death.

This phoenix had teeth, and would bring fire and anguish.

She felt the power of her ancestry pulsing through her veins, and desperately tried to keep it in check and balanced.

To Everything There Is

lionesse-father-daughter-bonding-activities-walk

The door slid open and System found a tall thin man in his 70s standing in its opening. He had a tightly groomed mustache, silver hair, and wore glass spectacles that perched low on his nose.  His dressed denoted one that was in charge of many responsibilities,

“Oh Mr. Pinn,” System let out, her voice trembling so slightly.  She felt 13 years old again in his presence.

“I am so happy…” her voice trailed off as she stopped herself, “I’m… I .. I ..  I’m pleased to see you.“

Miss System, the misfortunate passing of your father and mother this last week have weighed heavily on the House, and we are all very glad that you have finally arrive.  Please come in,” he continued, “This is your house now.  I will bring refreshments to you in the East Lounge. We can talk more then and proceed with the pressing legalities.”

System stepped forward and almost embraced the man as her emotions welled up, but she restrained herself and placed her hand warmly on his shoulder lingering as she stepped past him from the portico into the entry passage.

Mr. Pinn, thank you, thank you. I need a few minutes.  I’ll meet you in the lounge in 20 minute.  If you would be so kind, I would like 2 hot Quafe’s and a bottle of old Donny.”

She stepped past the prefect house scribe and into the estate.

She took the stairs up to the sleeping quarters and passed down their long corridors until she reached a door, painted red with white letters neatly scrawled in an artistic, though childish script.  It read “Princess System” and below that “of the House Baud” with little hearts intermingled between some of the letters.

With a raise of her hand the door slid open, recognizing her bio signs.

System entered the room.

The bed was tightly dressed and had been pushed to face the great window that stretched out to a view of the ocean.  A few of her belongings had been left around the room making it feel personal and occupied, but it was obvious no one had used the room for the last 10 years or so. Then the smell hit her.

The smell of her childhood, the linens, the ocean, the fresh rain… it all started to bring to mind intense memories.

Memories of her and her father walking along the beach, memories of him reading to her at bed time, of her mother brushing her hair.

That one guy that hid under her bed when they thought her father was coming to ‘catch’ them… and how he had fallen backwards out the window and into the pool below. She smiled slightly at the memory of how fast he ran in his wet cloths.

The ‘girls only’ slumber parties she had had with Tristan and Katie.  The many long nights they had stayed up talking about life, boys, and the latest clothing styles.

Her sullen teenage years…  the Manji weed she secretly smoked on the balcony with the twins and thought no one else knew about.  Yukie, … little sweet Yukie – her so fuzzy Ketteh she had from age 9 until she had left home.

That time her mother angrily threw her suitcase across the room smashing the mirror to bits and pieces. The time her father yelled and screamed outside the door cursing at her mother and then smashed his fist into the wall.

He hadn’t known she was listening, hiding there in her room.

He had not known.

Her father…

Her father’s consoling hugs, his arms warm and tight, embracing her protectively.

Her father’s arms.

She sat down on the end of the bed.

Her father’s freshly shaven face.  The smell of his shave after oil.

The lump was back again in her throat.

A moment passed, then she stood up and strode across the room.

This was not the time for self-indulgent emotions.

She made her resolve again, straightening her back and tightening her shoulders.

Then she left the room heading for that cup of hot Quafe and the answers she sought.