The handcuffs bit into her wrists as she was led into the Commandant’s office. Before completing her capsuleer training, she often wondered why officials would handcuff capsuleers. She presumed it was a show of strength – a declaration to the non-capsuleer community that no-one, not even the immortal demi-Gods of the cluster, were immune to the laws of the Empires. No, she soon realised that it wasn’t to stop a capsuleer bringing others to harm but to stop them killing themselves and waking up in a clone thousands of AU away. She had done this many times before but the Royal Khanid Navy clearly knew what they were doing.
As she sat down, she wondered which particular moment of stupidity had led her here. Was it praising anti-slavers? Was it trying to create a public contract to courier slaves she could not have owned out of the Kingdom and to Jita IV-4? She cringed as that thought hit her. How could she have been so stupid? Or worse, how could she have been so arrogant…
Being forcibly sat in a chair by the guards either side of her brought her back into the room. She didn’t take in too much of her surroundings – looking about too much makes you look like you’re planning an escape – so she only saw the taser-like side-arm of one of her guards. There was no intent to kill – not yet at least – but easily could cause great pain and incapacitation.
She locked eyes with the older gentleman in front of her. His grey eyes, greying temples and large Romanesque nose gave him a gravitas and authority that his otherwise small frame would not have conveyed. But Ange knew from previous dealings with the Royal Khanid Navy that this was not a man to be messed with as torture had not been out of his remit for gathering information from Blooders and terrorists. In fact, Commandant Sertan was a man who very much enjoyed his work.
“So, Miss des Larmes… Sorry, perhaps should I call you Miss Allier?”
Ange’s eyes narrowed at the use of her family name. Clearly as she had been learning about the Kingdom, the faith and life within both, agents of the Kingdom had been doing their research on her. In all fairness, her arrogance - no, she reclassified her actions again in her own head… her naivety – had led her to putting key information about her past in public places like the Summit. Who in the cluster couldn’t have told you that she was born on Intaki V? She made a holoreel available to every non-capsuleer that told them her parents had been miners for goodness sake!
This is what happens to people who want to do what is right. To act authentically, you have to be honest and honesty lands you in a cell. Or an interrogation.
“I shall take your silence as a wish to remain on formal terms. A shame really, we have had such good conversations in the past. I should very much hate to have to have a conversation on different terms…”
The implied threat hung in the air. Ange knew what she had to do. It was her honesty in her intentions that got her into this mess. It sure as hell would be the only way out…
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
She came to with the feel of the cold slab against her cheek. As her mind came back to her, her back and hips began to ache as if to remind her of how stupid she had been trying to sleep on the black marble floor. As cells went, this one was grander than most she had been in. Of course, there were no windows or electronic devices – such luxuries were always denied in places like this – but the silver and black fresco in the wall dividing the ‘living’ quarters from the bathroom was a new one to Ange. She had ran her fingers along every edge and through every crevice of it the day before and it had been polished within an inch of its existence so there wasn’t even the slightest hint of roughness. The bathroom was gilded in silver and highlighted in gold but there were no plugs in the sink, no water in the toilet and no fittings high enough for purposes of the ‘capsuleer’s escape’. Ange presumed this was why there was no bed no bedding too but this could also have been to humiliate and dehumanise – powerful weapons in any prison officer’s arsenal.
She sat up and rolled her head from one shoulder, across her chest and over to the other shoulder. At least this way she could tell herself that the involuntary wince was due to the crick in her neck, not the actions of the previous day.
She had been honest with a man she once considered a friend. A man who had then been honest with her about his inability to see her as more than a tool. A tool for the Kingdom to wield to bring order back to the cluster and bring glory back to the Amarr Empire. No non-ethnic Khanid or True Amarr could ever be trusted to uphold the faith. She was nothing more to him than one of the slaves she had been, as he so delicately put it, attempting to transport.
Judgement was out of Sertan’s hands, however. As ever, he was to extract the required information by whatever means necessary, not to act upon it. It would, as he put it, impede his ability to do his job if he applied empathy or any other method of judgement on the righteousness of those in his charge.
Ange had two choices. Sit and wait for her sentence or try to go on the run. She’d been on the run before in her pre-capsuleer days and she’d probably do it again too. She’d just thought that this could be the time she was able to settle down. She’d seen a future and her own naivety – no, she was right with stupidity yesterday – had thrown any chance of having one into the fire.
She rested her back against the wall and slowly slid down it, sinking into the morass of melancholy she had started to feel like she was drowning in. Then the door opened.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
That was far too easy.
She was in a Malediction heading… who knows where? Anywhere that wasn’t where the Kingdom could reach? But where was that these days? Aga-Count Chakaid is on the Theology Council so that rules out Amarr space. The PKN and other Khanid economic reach into Caldari space ruled out a return to Sivala or getting to Intaki. Heck, even if she got there, there’s a decent number of Intaki and other Gallente that would not be happy to see a former Agent of the New Order claiming asylum on their doorstep.
But why was an unarmed guard sent to her cell? Why were there no other guards on the way to the hanger or near the ship? And who authorised her undock? The sickest joke of all was that the ship itself was called the RKN Deliverance . It was obvious to Ange that someone wanted her freedom but why?
She brought herself back to the now. She was in a stolen ship in the space of the people she stole it from and had no idea where she was headed. A stationary stolen ship. Questions could wait until after she wasn’t there anymore.
She checked directional scans. Nothing following. Not yet. Not that she could see. It would only be a matter of time. At least she hoped it would. Seeing your hunter is better than not seeing them, after all.
But if they didn’t appear? She had one of two options. She could hide in plain sight and be always looking over her shoulder. Or she could dive deep into the belly of the beast and hide somewhere no-one would be stupid enough to willingly go. Heck, if she went to Stain she might even become the slave Sertan already believed her to be!
She shuddered as she willed herself into warp.