It had been a long time, I thought to myself as I pushed against her again, her feet lifting from the ground. A small moan, followed by a giggle, escaped her lips. Rank had its privileges. She was gorgeous through and through. Long dark hair, smoldering brown eyes and a smile that could melt the hull off a frigate. I turned her to me and kissed her forcefully. She returned the kiss with equal passion, grabbing the back of my neck, her hand gently caressing the metallic interface port at the base of my skull. I hadn’t felt this alive in months. Trying to drink yourself into oblivion could do that to you.
My monitor beeped, a specific tone I hadn’t heard since leaving …
“Out!” I yelled, immediately throwing her to the side, my attention completely diverted.
“What?” she asked sheepishly, standing there naked and confused. I was already pulling my pants on.
“Out!” I barked with more authority this time, ignoring the shock, confusion and hurt on her face. I had no time for these attachments. Sex was sex, nothing more. “Did I stutter? Get the hell out!” I said again, using physical intimidation to drive her from the room. Sometimes it was easier to be the douchebag than to leave them confused and wondering. False hope was a dangerous thing.
I sat down in front of the monitor, watching as it flicked and came to life of its own accord, like many viruses I had seen previously. I recognized this security protocol. Well, I hoped I did anyway.
A moment later, a bloody fist icon appeared as a small icon in the bottom right corner of the screen. I sat straight up in my chair, and activated the icon.
A small pulsating cursor greeted me with the message “Input password”. Without hesitation I entered in the 256 encrypted password to receive the incoming transmission.
The screen turned black and was replaced by the face of an old friend. StarCasher looked fresh and young, clearly a new clone.
Sorry for the virus but as you know, staying off Amarr security feeds tends to suit our needs. I have news, Ushra’Khan has been away from the Republic too long. We are returning from 0.0 space and are now to offically aid our brothers in the Tribal Liberation Force.
Masuat’aa Matari tribe would love to welcome you home if you wish to fly under our banner again.
End of message.
I collapsed back against my chair, and took a deep breath. I had only recently left Ushra’Khan, due to a failure to communicate the importance of bringing the considerable force of our alliance to the aid of our very own Republic in this continuing time of crisis. Our leadership had deemed it “not a priority”. The ensuing verbal backlash and rage that I retaliated with had left me with little recourse but to resign from the Alliance, one that obviously had askew priorities. There was no celebration, no goodbye messages. As had come to pass every time I had ever trusted or invested myself in a person, belief or cause, I had been discarded when of no more use to a higher agenda, left to fend for myself once again, left to be alone.
I was sick of being someone’s lap dog. Master Cho, Shakor, Mynxee, Ushra’Khan. There was always someone pulling at my strings. Perhaps it was time to sever the connection and truly serve the people of the Republic to my full capacity.
Then again …
I brought up a new screen, following a similar security protocol to the one I just interacted with, and waited for the other side to respond. I didn’t have to wait long.
“Colonel.” she began, her short black hair cropped close to her head. Her brief greeting was as social as we would get. I appreciated that about this woman. All business, no childish sentimental attachments.
“Just received some interesting news, but wanted verification. What have you heard lately about Ushra’Khan?”
She blinked once, recalling every tidbit of relevant information she had on the subject I had presented. Most capsuleers had some form of eidetic memory, but hers was something far beyond what most could achieve.
“They are collapsing from within. Their leadership has burned out. No more passion for the cause, no more energy for what they perceive as inactive and ungrateful corporations that boast the name Ushra’Khan yet refuse to respond to the call to action, to spill their blood, to expend their resources when needed. Already many corporations are splintering from the main, spreading their seed across the universe. The alliance will be no more.”
Interesting, I pondered quietly, my chin resting on my hand. She didn’t question my silence. She didn’t seem bothered at all as I took the time to let the information she had presented digest. She was an infinitely patient woman; another quality I admired about her.
“And Masuat’aa Matari?” I asked, my gut uneasy at what the potential answer could be. Still, if I couldn’t handle the answer, I shouldn’t have asked the question.
“Masuat’aa Matari remain fiercely passionate and loyal to the cause of the Republic. Prosper or Perish by the People. They are already making aggressive plans to return to Republic space and enlist with the Tribal Liberation Force.” She stated this all of this matter of factly, as if it were common knowledge of no particular interest.
“Thank you. And thanks for the dailies on my investment dividends. Maybe we’ll both be rich again one day soon.” I smirked. She ended the transmission. A sub-routine purged the interaction from my system. To any that might be looking, it had never happened.
Hmmmm. Ushra’Khan collapsing. Masuat’aa Matari still full of Matari pride and honour. Given the right arrangement, I could be in control of my own destiny.