A corner turned

“Stupid dumb bitch” Ta’jun muttered as the last ragged breaths left her body, her once wild and wide eyes glazing over as the veil of death lowered over her. Her face was white, a patchwork of blue veins creating a marbled effect on her skin. One of her eyes was blackened and the blood from her mouth that had been smeared across her cheeks was now drying from bright red to brown. He could taste that blood in his mouth where he had kissed her in  the cruel mockery of passion that had been her rape.

Spent and shaking from his exertions he released the tight grip of the headscarf he had strangled her with, mopping his brow with a loose end before dropping it over her face. She had a name, he didn’t recall it, didn’t care. He hated her and had found a multitude of names to call her during the struggle. He looked at her body, old bruises next to fresh cuts and abrasions, she was not well treated in the past and he considered that perhaps he had done her a favour.

They had met in a bar of an outpost. Ta’jun was drinking heavily. Drinking along because he had screwed up and nobody wanted to talk to him. He had cost the life of one of the gang. He was meant to keep an eye on the scanner as the gang pulled apart a freighter that someone had probed-out deep in the outer fringes of the system. Only when a combat probe had warped to a point 2km off his ships port side had he spotted something, and even then only because it had momentarily caught the sun. In his panic he had locked and opened fire on the probe instead of shouting and a flight of Caldari Navy Ravens, two assault frigates and an interceptor warped in on their party. The CNRs had warped in at cruise missile optimal range, some 75km away from the pirate gangs position, the assault frigates at 20km and the interceptor right on top of one of the gang. The gang members drake was locked, webbed and warp scrambled preventing any escape. The Hawk and Harpy had opened up on the other members of the gang who were all hastily aligned to safespots. One destroyer class ship from the gang barely escaped and was trailing debris from a number of gaping holes in its badly compromised armour as it left. Ta’jun had watched, dumbstruck, for what seemed an age, only coming round as the Hawk aligned to his position and began targeting him. He had managed to warp off just in time, the first set of cruise missiles impacting on the Drake’s formidable shields. It would only be a matter of time, with no support they would slowly be pounded down until the warheads quickly ate away the scant armour of the ship and then the very structure of the hull. The pilot inside would be dead within minutes, he had sealed his fate.

The girl had approached him full of energy and boldness, tugging his sleeve before introducing herself and jumping up onto the stool next to his like they had known each other for years. He had not been in the mood to talk but she had persevered, finally making him smile and making him forget about the sight of the drake as it sat there waiting for death. They had talked for hours and eventually gone back to her place, pretty squalid but made nice with personal touches like a small posy of flowers near one of the small, dirty windows. He didn’t remember what she had said but he knew he had gotten angry, very quickly. He remembered the shock in her eyes as he hit her and the weak struggling as he forced himself on her. But now she would struggle no more.

“Stupid bitch”, he said again, but this time less certain.

“Fuck!”

He scanned the scene and the alcohol haze momentarily lifted and the full impact of what he had done suddenly struck him. A frown came over his face, a face that was now almost as pale as hers. Pulling on his clothes first he dragged her body to one of the couches, lifting her onto it, surprised at how heavy her slight form was. He stared unblinking for a few moments and then hurried to heap cushions, the rug and her clothes over her. He threw the first candle at the bundle only for it to bounce off, extinguished, on the stained bare floor. The second candle he held to her light shirt, which quickly caught. The shirt burned fiercely giving off the smell of burnt fibres, smoke from the bar and a faint hint of her perfume. It quickly spread to the rugs, burning with a thick acrid smoke mingling with the sickly smell as her dark curly hair burning on her head. He fled the room vomit boiling from his mouth, sprayed across the walls of the corridor outside, the smell of second-hand alcohol and his half digusted meal making him vomit again, bile burning his nose as he coughed and spluttered.

He awoke in his Merlin frigate. The autopilot was an standby meaning it had been used since he undocked. His throat was sore, his head ached and his eyes felt raw. His puke strained clothes stank worse than before and a water mark on his trousers testament to the fact that he had pissed himself some hours ago. The sun was behind him shining brightly onto a field of Scordite asteroids, the wrecks of three bantam mining vessels. In the wreckage of one of these small craft lay a fragmented pod, complete with the broken and frozen parts of a capsuleer, surrounded by its own mist of frozen red ‘roids.

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