Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dark Omen Chapter 4

Awkward silence followed us as Shae led me through the twists and turns towards her apartment. She seemed totally at ease with walking the station in just her thin Kimono, and that confidence eased my fear. Doubt turned to hope, hope that she was strong enough for what I was about to try and tell her.

We took one last turn and Shae stopped at a door just like every other door we had passed. She keyed in a pass code and the door glided open. A ginger cat seemingly appeared out of nowhere and wrapped itself around Shae’s ankles before cautiously walking over to my boots, taking gentle sniffs of the thick leather before bolting back inside the door. Shae motioned me inside and gestured towards a pair of comfortable looking chairs nearby.

“Make yourself comfortable I’ll be right back” she remarked over her shoulder while disappearing into another room I guessed was her bedroom. I lowered myself into one of the chairs. Looking around at the apartments furnishings, I realized how much more inviting and warm her apartment was than mine. Then my mind wandered to that soft face framed by those dreadlocks of hers, her friendly eyes and those lips giving that small smile... I find myself drifting off in a daze.

The door Shae had gone through opened and she entered dressed in her more usual accoutrements of Black Leather trousers, short boots and a loose silk shirt. Wordlessly she crossed the room to the kitchenette, filled and set a kettle to boil, then turned to address me. “So what’s on your mind, hon?”

Hearing her voice jerked me out of my daydreams, my face flushing like a Ni-Kunni altar boy caught peeping at the choirgirls. I pulled myself together, trying to bring up enough courage for what I was about to reveal. I had never been so open with anyone before, and it took all my strength to get the words out. “I am… not your normal Amarrian. I… never actually grew up with them. I… my parents, were… converts to Sansha's great dream. I was born into all of the psychological manipulation… I was….” I stopped, doubt cluttering my thoughts.

“Would you… would you mind helping me remove my cowl?" I blurted as I fought the urge to flee. It was too much, too fast. But I needed... to tell her.

Shae finished whatever she was doing in the kitchenette and carried what looked like a tea service over, setting it on the low table between the chairs. She sat on the sofa beside me with one foot tucked up and looked at me. “If that’s what you want. Are you sure?”

I said nothing but silently took her hands in mine and gently raised them either side of my head, resting her fingertips on the clasps. I nodded once, hoping she hadn't noticed the tremble in my hands. She returned the nod and popped the clasps, pushing my cowl back, revealing the scars radiating from my left temple, reaching angrily down my left cheek and across my forehead. They stood out harshly against my pale skin, I knew. They looked painful, but they weren't.

I see Shae’s eyes widen as she bit her lip. “Is that what they did to you? Or was that after?” Her hand made a movement towards my face but stopped abruptly almost as fast as it started.

“My parents were part of the original experiments but I… I was something else. From what I found out I was an experiment on what would happen if you gave a potential pod pilot the same kind of implants as the shock troops while still letting the subject have some form of self control. The scars were a result of those implants. I was 12 when they were hardwired in and I was forced into a pod to train."

Shae was quiet for a moment; her eyes searched my face. “It didn’t go well did it?”

I shook my head. Shae poured two cups of tea and offered me one. “What happened?”

“In their mind the whole thing was a partial success: they got a much better breed of pilot at the loss of total control over the subject. I was tasked with destroying a ship with slaves on it, slaves unwilling to be docile and pliable. I refused. I ended up shooting down and killing our Commander.”

I grimaced and unconsciously rubbed my stomach. “This didn’t sit to well with them. To cut a long story short I barely escaped with 2% hull integrity on my ship with my pod being damaged. I got hit with the pod shrapnel and in mid warp I passed out. I woke up to find myself in an Amarrian Hospital under Arrest. They forced a bargain on me: Join up with the Imperial Academy and tell them all I know about Sansha, his technology and especially his whereabouts. Or be executed as a Pirate.”

Shae frowned at me. “I thought pods self destructed when they were breached?”

I shook my head. “Sansha designed his differently. He thought that the pilots mind could still be useful even if the pod had been compromised.”

She tilted her head slightly. “Do the implants still affect you?”

I nodded. “Sometimes; mostly when I’m in ‘Darkness’, my Succubus. I go into this zone, like a frenzy, when I’m in that ship. I’m just scared… that I’ll lose control and hurt someone I really care about.” I raised my head and stared into those wide green eyes of hers. “I don’t want to hurt you, I.. I have feelings for you.” I sagged back into the chair not knowing how to say the rest.

Shae blushed slightly and slowly reached up, lightly tracing the scars with a fingertip. “You still fly a ship you can’t bear to fly… you still hold onto what you know best even though you don’t want to.” She touched my forehead. “You don’t even know what’s in here, let alone in here.” Her fingertips moved to my chest and rested there for a moment.

I felt an anger surge from somewhere inside me, followed by a deep feeling of weariness. “You're saying my feelings are for nothing? You’re saying just because I don’t know who I am that my feelings for you are nothing?”

Shae caught my hands in hers “No, honey. Its just, feelings are complicated things. I barely know you beyond what contact we have had in fleet, and what you’ve told me now. I’m not… trying to tell you its nothing." She squeezed my hands, her fingers surprisingly dry and cool to the touch.

After a moment I nodded curtly. “I should probably go, I… I don’t want to intrude.”

Shae sighed softly but didn’t let my hands go. "Jorge, you’re not intruding here. You know, you can talk to me." She flashed me a hesitant smile. “I can be a good listener, if nothing else.”

Placing the tea cup on the tray I pulled myself up to my feet but felt inexplicably unwilling to move. “I… appreciate the offer but I think I should go. I think I’ve put you through enough already today.” I feel myself swaying slightly at the effort on staying upright.

Shae uncurled herself from her seat and slowly wrapped her arms around me in a hug, warm and inviting. I found myself wanting her touch to linger, the pressure of her body on mine, her feminine scent. So badly I wanted to stay with her. I felt my body lean gently against hers, my arms moving to enfold her, and closed my eyes. “I’m so tired… Sorry…”

She held me close for a few moments longer before gently lowering me back onto the couch. “It's ok. You can stay here, I don’t mind…”

Staring at her through sleep-fogged eyes I sank deeper into the couch. “I… Thank you. So tired.” Thinking about her brightness and warmth amid a sea of darkness I felt myself drift into uneasy, fitful sleep.


Raxip Elamp said...

Uh oh, Shae. You've got a stalker =D In all seriousness, though. Amazing story.

Cain Jacobi said...

this was a really amazing story jorge. i really enjoyed it.

Mynxee said...

Great chapter, really interesting history behind Jorge. Makes me wonder what dark things you've done in your time. I suppose we will find out eventually.