Chapter 1 -- Chapter 6

 
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Kyoko Sakoda
Leviathan


Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 2804
Location: Under an emu.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:44 am    Post subject: Chapter 1 -- Chapter 6 Reply with quote

Chapter 1: Proem

"I'm tired, mother..."

In melancholy fashion she brushed her raven hair into submission, but the wind was picking up. To anyone passing by her dress might have looked insane. She wore a characteristic, thin leather jacket, but the weather was much too frigid for even that. Here it was nearly the winter solstice, and the typically mild coastal climate had fallen into a cold snap the likes of which were only seen once a decade.

Her hands retreated slightly into the sleeves of her coat, the fur collar coming up against the back of her neck. Gazing into the burning yellow light in front of her, she might have felt some relief by the way the warm flame danced about with the wind, always moving, but never flickering out. She stared incessantly with a look of shame upon her face. Instinctively, her hand moved out to once again balance the joss stick she had placed in an offering of rice. She sighed as she had to do so, perhaps frustrated with her clumsiness, even as she'd come to this grave twice per year.

"I'm tired of fighting for causes I'm unsure of, people on planets far away, and leaders that don't deserve the name." Eyes closing in reflection she continued, "I figured that I could do some good. Become as respected as you were. Save some thousands of poor-fortuned Caldari lives from the wretches of pirate raids. Do the Achur a favor and help in their investigation. Promote peace. Be a god."

She scoffed.

"I don't know what I was thinking. I should have listened to you. And now it's too late. Your daughter has gone wayward and she's not coming back." A slight tear rolled down her cheek as she shook her head and sniffed lightly. "I know you won't look upon me kindly... but know this isn't an easy thing for me to do."

A short howl arose in the distance, almost on cue -- the deceased mourning her loss. The petite and cold looking woman in front of the grave choked up at the noise.

"I'll be seeing you shortly, mother... and you can berate me all you like, just as you have my Sisters." Sorrowful smiles came and disappeared on her face as she failed to appreciate the dark humor and only the pain of a strained relationship.

As she stood, a better dressed Civire man with a finger to an earpiece called to her from behind.

"Ms. Sakoda, the ceremony is being held in exactly one hour. If you are to speak--"

"Yes, thank you," she interrupted as she turned her back to the grave. "We must be going."
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Kyoko Sakoda
Leviathan


Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 2804
Location: Under an emu.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 2: Dreams

“Flowers. You brought him… flowers.”

Ever since she had started the Blue Pill regimen her dreams seemed increasingly real. They were standing a few meters away from each other. The speaker was an Achur woman known by many in the public arena for not being nearly as terse as her stature was short. She looked almost disgusted as she finished her sentence. The listener knew better, and perhaps that was why she was listening now, and why she had listened for the past year or so. But apology was not on her mind.

“Yes… and you should be happy for me. You’re the one who wanted me to wake the fuck up. You shot me in the stomach to prove a point. Now you’re upset that I’m happy?”

“That isn’t what I said, Kyoko. I’m concerned about what you’re doing here. It might cause an upset in our plans, the very ones we sat down and constructed together.”

The reply was a quick scoff: “Our objectives still remain the same. I’m entirely dedicated to getting you what you need. And I still can.”

The smaller Achur woman folded her arms.

“You cannot. We need to be crusaders, Kyoko. Our purpose must be solid and our justifications clear to the world. Neither of us can get what we are after unless there’s no doubt in their minds that we are one hundred percent behind the Cartel. How do you prove loyalty to the Cartel whilst you sleep around with him?”

“Damn it, Aria. It’s not like that!”

“Then what is it like? The best you can do in your current situation is to back out immediately. If the Dominations catch wind of this they’ll always look down on us with suspicion. They’re no Sansha, Kyoko, but they’re rivals, and if you can’t be clear cut on where your loyalties lie, there’s no chance in seven hells that we’ll climb up the ladder.”

Would she actually say this, she wondered. Maybe this was not her friend. Maybe this was a metaphor for her entire corporation, and everything she had built the past six months. After all, she had been a zealot in front of her peers, and they looked up to her. She needed their devotion as well. Some employees of the rapidly growing corporation they named Ghost Festival were now running the risk of becoming more fanatical than their own boss. Sansha’s Nation remained a grave threat in her mind, but she’d not seen such loyalty in her co-workers since before she had left the State. What was once pleasing was now almost frightening.

Kyoko stood before her friend, eyes now narrowing to form a piercing glare as she took a couple steps forward.

“I’ve suffered enough these past years. I have the determination, no, the right to fix my life and find peace once again. We will do everything in our power to make sure the Dominations take note of us Aria, but above all, I am loyal to those who are like family. That includes those outside our sphere. You are family. And so is he.”

The Achur shook her head. “What would the Cartel ever achieve by seeking partnership with the Guristas?”

“I’m not saying that’s where it’s going. I can still get you what you need. Just trust me.”

“You cannot have it both ways, Kyoko.”

“Trust me. I won’t betray the Cartel. I won’t betray you.”

“I’m afraid you already did.”

A shot rang out, echoing across the hall. This time, instead of feeling the pain, Kyoko’s neck snapped back microseconds after the woman pulled the trigger.

Waves crashed against the shoreline, sounding her collision with the ground, accompanied by the squawk of seabirds overhead. Night had fallen and even as Kyoko opened her eyes she realized she couldn’t see far without the light of the closest moon to guide her. As she sat up, wiping her face with her hands, a concerned male voice spoke up from behind her.

“Hey, are you alright?”

Placing her hands in her lap she tilted her head downward and looked over her shoulder, the crease of a smile forming as she took in the Gallentean’s face.

“Yeah. Just dreaming about our future, sweetheart.”
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Kyoko Sakoda
Leviathan


Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 2804
Location: Under an emu.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 3: Payroll

Hasateem VI - Moon 12 - Thukker Mix Factory
June 9, 110YC


Foremost above the clatter and chatter of the bustling Thukker Mix station’s entertainment district, a pair of footsteps clicked in synchronization against the laminated floor, coming to an abrupt stop just before two, heavy steel doors. Each door had a small square window in it, positioned just about where she could see if she used the tips of her toes. Kyoko looked through each small pane of glass, a wave of impatience sweeping over. Coming back down on her heels, she turned around and sighed, consulting her ocular implant’s internal clock for the time.

16:22

This was most peculiar, she thought. Owned but not operated by her corporation, The Skyhook was the main watering hole for all types of unsavory characters. The bar’s crude, bald-headed Civire manager was not the least of these, but he managed to keep a tight schedule and always served the clientele with an acknowledging nod, if not a thin smile. He had smiled a lot more recently, ever since Kyoko presented him with the keys to a spacious family apartment onboard a Trust Partners station in Yuzier. After all, what was a couple ten thousand ISK to a capsuleer worth billions? Plus, his increasingly cheerful attitude the past couple months had allowed him to do his job better.

But today Sarii wasn’t doing his job. Kyoko didn’t understand why this was, expecting to slip in for a coffee twenty minutes earlier. As she looked around she saw some faces, mostly Minmatar, which were similarly curious as to the closure of this particular venue. Every other shop, restaurant, and nightclub had begun accepting an unusually high amount of traffic for late afternoon hours.

This only agitated her further. Despite her weekend vacation and highest spirits in years, fatigue weighed her body down even as she kept reminding herself she had three entire days of reports to catch up on. She thought she might go somewhere else, forget about it and assume Sarii had some emergency he had to attend to, but if that was the case, where was the assistant manager?

Grumbling, Kyoko slid a keycard through a reader next to the door and rested the tips of her fingers on the same device to be read. Sounding a loud click, the lock was released, and the small Caldari woman shoved open one of the massive doors, allowing it to fall back into position and reengage the mechanical lock once inside.

Beyond the long row of bar stools and the cold steel construction of the dance hall stood a bright blue door where she thought she might get an answer. Her feet aching from all the travel she had done thus far, Kyoko trudged along the elevated platform of the bar area, a wandering glance catching sight of the stage to her far left. She remembered fondly the time she was dared to sing in front of a hundred customers, completely plastered. Smiling, she also remembered that there was, contrary to expectation, applause afterward.

Stepping up to the door, she repeated the security routine at the front entrance. Inside was a brightly lit service corridor and T-junction, her destination being on the right. Continuing all the way to the dark and vacant business office, the executive was petulant. It wasn’t until she moved to the manager’s desk that she found her answer, her eyebrows furrowing as she caught sight of a long, white feather lying alone on the desk.

Over the wireless, her simulated voice was sharp and choleric. Demetri, are you there? I need you to bring in every non-capsuleer on the corporation’s payroll that isn’t residing in Hasateem. Get the last known whereabouts of all Skyhook employees. One of them was a hostile agent.

She kicked the desk over before swiftly exiting the room, sprinting down the other end of the junction where she would be met by security.
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Kyoko Sakoda
Leviathan


Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 2804
Location: Under an emu.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 4: Despair

Blue-white static cast its flickering glow upon Kyoko’s weary, black eyes, interspersed with sharper images of unfathomable destruction and cruelty. There was no audio. She didn’t need to hear the prattle of brainless anchors and commentators as the world collapsed around her. All she needed to see was that damn flag being hoisted before her, above a field of wreckage on a planet she’d never set foot on.

To make any sense of what she was seeing was impossible. After years of fighting for what she thought was right, entirely diametrical rhetoric was bringing her race closer to ruin. It only made her feel more justified. It only made her miss her long supposed nemesis even more. As the dark flag waved violently in the wind, she envisioned in her mind the abyss, an appetite of nothing expanding over the world.

She had narrowly escaped the gravity of this abyss, confident now that if she had stayed in the State her radical but perfectly rational ideas would have seen her killed. Torn between multiple worlds, the dual-blooded Caldari woman held no pride anymore, all of it having been shaken forcibly out of her in recent weeks. Mourning for the time when she could have intelligent conversation with other Liberals at her office on New Caldari, she remembered something that her old boss once said: “the Caldari, perhaps above all other races, have the potential to become whatever they want to become.”

She rubbed her forehead lightly with a pair of fingers, a dry whine escaping her lips.

“You’re fucking idiots, every one of you.”

Collapsing into folded arms on her desk, Kyoko began to cry.
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Kyoko Sakoda
Leviathan


Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 2804
Location: Under an emu.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 5: Edge and Pearl

At the fluttering of her eyelids the sensation was no more than that of a chilly gust sweeping over. Gasping in awe at the strength of the breeze, her head tilted backward instinctively. In between long lapses of coherent thought, she thought it was Cold Wind himself, bestowing his approval upon this intertwining of fates. She thanked him with parted lips, the words they formed inaudible.

Micro-beads of sweat coalesced into larger droplets across her body. Her own arms encircled and guided in another presence she could barely feel. She wanted to feel more but she couldn’t. It mattered not how hard she brought this comforting company towards her breast with her arms, because it would simply slip away. Groaning at the unfairness of such harassment, her vocal cords were silenced by an intrusion beyond her lips.

This was fair enough, she thought, her hands moving upward to discover a thick head of hair which became like mittens worn by children in wintertime. The tongue sensed a like presence and reveled in its reunion with its mate. Eyes open briefly, she caught glimpse of the intruder, the one she was supposed to call enemy, but catching sight of the criminal did not make her jolt in disgust. Instead, she snickered.

“How do you tell one man from the other? How do you know which man to kill?”

Identification did not matter in this time, or in this place. This entity, this person meant her no harm. He was guiding her along the path, and she was prone to follow. Two spirits sought each other out, beyond the illusions of finiteness. Her heart thumping hard was a signal that her spirit had nearly broken free, on the verge of ecstasy and the freedom of its release.

It just so happened, that for a few moments, she felt above herself. She felt unity she had not felt in a very long time, a connection with the spirit world that she had longed for. She asked Cold Wind if this was the way things were meant to be. He told her that it would be, in time.

As the wintry breeze passed over her skin once more, her self whole once again, she managed to open her eyes. He hovered over her, a mix of happiness and concern on his face, shadowed by ruffled hair. They stared at each other, slight smiles communicating they had come to terms. His hand moved to her cheek, brushing a few strands of hair away from her eyes.

“Trust your eyes, you will kill each other. Trust your veins; you can all go home in peace.”

She thanked Cold Wind a second time for his guidance, waiting as patiently as she could for his promise to come to pass.
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Kyoko Sakoda
Leviathan


Joined: 07 Mar 2006
Posts: 2804
Location: Under an emu.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chapter 6: Addiction

Lodged in her throat, she felt the corrosive liquid well up into the back of her mouth. Despite every tocsin in her mind that warned her against doing so, it was swallowed. Her stomach, sensing it could not expel the acid and bile, twisted at its return. She groaned in despair, turning over on her side.

For hours she had laid down and for hours she had felt cold, shivering even under the sheets of her bed. It seemed like a violation of the laws of thermodynamics that she wouldn’t be feeling warmer. Instead of adding more blankets, she held her arms around herself, crying in between the worst pangs of pain. She wanted to kill herself then and there, maybe get a clone and try again, but she was convinced it would be of no help. She needed to feel the pain, the dysphoria, and the distance from him. She didn’t particularly like the last one, but wanted it to be a reminder that if she got drugged up again, it’d only be worse.

Her eyes fixated loosely on the small orange bottle of pills sitting on the end table. Shutting her eyes immediately, she murmured to herself, cursing under her breath. Words of confidence were whispered, but they didn’t whisk away the pain. The cold sweat was like a hundred tiny needles stinging her skin. It was torture. She had been trained to not give into torture, but she couldn’t negotiate with her body. It wasn’t under her control.

He wanted her to give it up if she could, this much she knew. She wondered if it was even possible to do so, combat boosters being so widely used by capsuleers these days. They offered no edge anymore, because everyone had a drip at the ready in most combat situations. She wondered if she would be in constant withdrawal if she let go of the pills, only to return to the pure, intravenous stuff every so often.

She feared the rebound effect, and wondered if it might continue for the rest of her life. Blue Pill was known to have an advanced dysphoric effect on advanced users who discontinued use. Such deep depression was not something she ever wanted to experience again, not even if such a feeling was intermittent. She had a man now, someone she wanted to spend the rest of her life with if she’d be so lucky. Would he feel affronted if he could offer no relief? At the same time, he didn’t need to see her going through this.

As the pain subsided for a time, she was able to think these things through more clearly. She glanced again to the bottle of pills sitting next to her, tears flowing slowly across her cheek. She checked the time: 0900. She had been awake for far too long. Grabbing the bottle she forced herself upright in the bed, twisting the cap and dumping three shiny, dark blue capsules into her shaking hand. She slipped one back in, and then another, until one was left in her palm.

Twisting the cap back on the bottle, she set it again on the end table, where it tipped and fell to the floor. Clutching her fist with the pill in her hand, she wiped her eyes with a finger.

Tilting her head back she swallowed the drug, her face falling into open palms.
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