The Indefatigable was home; back where she belonged. The final flight of the Inde would live forever within the hearts of the men and women that served on such a mighty vessel. She was built in Thakala as a custom order for Tigerfish Torpedo, and throughout her working life, she’d caused fear and death to many a space-faring adventurer. It therefore seemed fitting that the location of her demise would be that very same system; the system where she was lovingly put together and nurtured for over seven years.
During that time the Inde had played host to many an occasion – be it social, political or military. It was on the same ship that Tiger introduced himself to, and entertained the mother of his first-born child; Lami. It was also the same ship that Tiger proposed to his beautiful wife – the adorable Evangeline – who had left him to seek happiness in the arms of another. Had Tiger really been so intolerable that his desire for bloodshed and political advancement within the Sani Sabik should have cost him his marriage?
Then there was Shalee. How he loved Shalee, despite the way their relationship began. In the beginning he was a Sani Sabik officer and elder – a man to be truly feared. He’d caused so much destruction to the Amarrians that during peace talks between a young UPAY officer and the leadership of CVA, his proposal had been laughed at – a typical example of CVA hospitality and respect. The offer for peace was made without Tiger’s consent, but naturally, he had an interest to find out how a former mortal enemy would be treated over a genuine request for peace. It all seemed so much simpler when the Shiras was ruling the Sabik. Tiger knew where he stood with her, and despite her dark and mysterious ways, he knew she cared for him.
It was during a meeting of UPAY’s directorship, the night after the meeting with CVA, that a comment was made – completely in mirth – about installing a spy within the leadership of the Amarrian militia. This idea held little interest for Tiger, for he was all about the big, bold statements of political conflict. No cloak and dagger infiltration would be sufficient. If he truly wanted to get at the militia, he’d do so directly. He could almost imagine how sweet the smell of victory would be if the once powerful Sabik Elder infiltrated the Amarrians personally. It beggared belief. No one would ever allow him to get close enough to an enemy that had lost millions of men and women to him and his kin. Or would they?
She had invited him to a party to help him get over the loneliness of having his wife leave him and the torment of suffering an excommunication from the Sani Sabik. She was a target, albeit a pretty one. He met her at the Mercy’s Keep and she looked so sweet and innocent in her costume. It was a masquerade ball, and she had these silly little wings on her back that made her look like an angel. It actually reminded him of the winged tattoos on Evangeline’s back. He knew from that moment that he couldn’t hurt her. She wasn’t the tough, evil militia pilot he’d been brainwashed into expecting. She was a young lady, living life to the full amidst a loving group of friends. Tiger never really had any friends. Not real ones. But there she was; Shalee Lianne – a genuine friend, turned lover.
Their relationship had flourished over the course of two years, but recent antics had pulled them apart. There were other lovers involved, a great deal of jealousy, some stupid misunderstandings and now it was at breaking point. She’d already moved on, or so he thought. She never returned his mails and whenever he could speak with her, he seemed to infuriate her further. She wanted space. She wanted time alone – time away from him. He knew he wasn’t able to simply grant a request like that, so in a foolish moment of jealous rage, he instructed a loyal soldier within UPAY to abduct a dozen or so Amarrian nobles. It was a foolish move and one that he put right within thirty minutes of having them taken, but that didn’t matter. The fact that it happened was enough to rip him and Shalee further apart.
So there it was. If he returned to the Manor, Shalee’s friends and peers would undoubtedly rip him to pieces. If he stayed away, she’d never return his mails and eventually they’d drift apart – just as Aldrith had tried to explain. Once upon a time they’d been the talk of New Eden. The hottest, most desirable woman alive, together with the ageing Sabik Elder and former Fleet commander of so many anti Amarrian campaigns. What their union couldn’t achieve, wouldn’t be worth having.
Tonight he would know. Tonight it would happen, one way or another. He’d updated his clone to cover everything he was, everything he knew, and had saved the information to a data chip that he now held within his hand. This chip was the only thing that could bring him back should anything happen. Placing the chip within a small box, he handed it to the waiting courier and gave instruction that it should be delivered to Shalee Lianne at Cerra Manor. The instruction was simple; make sure it was handed directly to her and no other soul. His future depended on that.
He would go to Cerra Manor, and he would face Shalee. He’d sent her a message saying that he’d be there, but naturally she’d not responded. If she cared for him at all, she’d be there to meet him despite her continued silence. If not, her peers would kill him and then she’d be free of him. The data chip would probably arrive a day or so later and then she could decide whether or not to bring him back. Her desire for space and time alone would be easily guaranteed.
Fastening up his jacket, he threw his trustee Sani blade and blaster on the bed behind him and left his suite, bound for Huola.