This is chapter 9 of “Redemption” a fictional tale set in the EVE Universe. Please see this page for more background on this story.
Voices through a fog, far away. Under water maybe. Like when Mum bathed her and she got water in her ears. Rested. Floating. Feeling good. Voices through the fog, slightly closer. Amarr. Lydie did not want to wake up. She decided against it. It was nice where she was. It was warm. She was not hungry. She was not in pain. Just everything seemed muffled, like packed in cotton balls.
Amarr voices. Speaking louder. Beside her. Light on her eyes. “Keep them closed”, Mum would say when she washed Lydie’s hair. “or soap runs into them”. Mum. Soap. Where is Mum?
Lydie opened her eyes but it didn’t work. More light but no image. Something bound tightly around her eyes. And her entire head. Lydie couldn’t feel her face. But she could hear the Amarr voices. A man, speaking with authority to a woman without. Not loud but firm. Lydie translated in her head.
“1,500ml lactated ringer push, 150 units antibiotics per hour. Keep on ventilator. She has 40% 3rd degree flash burns, face is gone, eyes are likely intact, she covered them with her hands. Cranial structure intact, no fractures, maybe a concussion. Spine compacted, 4 ribs shattered, pelvis broken in 2 places – clean fractures. Lacerations on her skin, probably went through a window backside first. Legs are fine apart from right ankle, compound fracture. Arms and hands badly burned but superficial. Flash burns are like that. A lot of tissue destruction but largely confided to the dermis.
The problem is internal bleeding. Bruised kidneys, ruptured spleen and some damage to the liver. We had the robots do an initial clean up but there are some seeping wounds they can not cauterize. She will die if we don’t operate today and we do not have a suite open until tomorrow. “
“Tell her father? “
“He isn’t her father. And yes, tell him. “
“He brought her in, barging though the door with her. Practically kicked security out of the way to get her on a table. Madman. Not her father?”
“Nope, she is Gallente. Don’t stare at me. Bloodwork came back, pure, 100% Gallente. Unless Dr. Themas has some weird story to tell, this is not his daughter. “
“Why was she dressed in a school uniform?”
“Beats me and I am busy. I have 15 more victims like her. Daughters and sons of Amarr citizens. I already spent too much time on this creature. Tell her “father” to come pick up her body tomorrow night. And make sure that you inform the religious police. This smells fishy and I know why this Dr. Themas is on his station. Some funny business, was sent here in exile. So, its worth letting the authorities know.
Unless of course he decides to pay a “special admission fee”. He is said to be very, very wealthy. “
Lydie decided that it was not worth waking up. She heard all but understood nothing. Who were these doctors? Who were they speaking about. She needed to see. Lydie tried to move her arms only to find out that she couldn’t. Her effort was noticed by the second voice in the room. The one who asked questions.
The voice of the woman:
“Your arms are tied. This is for your protection, they are badly burned. Can you hear me? “
Lydie tried to speak only to realize that she had a tube sticking out of her throat. Ventilated. She moved her head.
“Your father – well, the man who brought you in, found you in the main corridor after the explosion. Do you remember what happened? “
Lydie moved her head. It was supposed to be a shaking.
“There was terrible explosion in the cargo bay, it ripped 4 bulkheads out and destroyed 2 full levels, several hundred are dead. You were very lucky. Were you on your way to school? Well, cant be. I am silly. You are Gallente. What were you doing there? “
Lydie tried to clench a fist. The words “terrible explosion” and “several hundred dead” chiseled themselves into her mind. She could not remember why but she felt a wave of panic and guilt washing over her. She had done something terrible. But what? She tried to remember. Jumbled images: Her sleeping mother. The refugee camp. The lamp. The sack with ballbearings. The Samovar. The feeling on her hand when she tightened the screw cap. The wait in the corner window. The guards walking through the door. The halo of light around the door. The heat of her face.
Lydie’s memory assembled the puzzle in same instant as she tried to scream. But she was immobilized on a burn bed and only only her torso arched upward. Her breathing tube violently jerked to the side. A searing pain flooded through her body – her damaged internal organs, burned skin, the sensation ripped through the heavy analgesics.
Mum. She had killed her. She had killed all those refugees and who knows how many more. She murdered the school children that she so admired.
But now she would die herself. The doctor had said it, she would slowly bleed out. It was fair. She deserved it.
Lydie’s muscles relaxed. Her mind wanted to cry but her eyes didn’t work. Her chest wanted to heave but the ventilator pushed the air in whatever she did. She was not in charge of her death. Not even of that.
“Who are you”
Lydie woke and knew she was in pain before she even felt it. Her entire body was one open wound and her mind was dizzy with the conflicting signals that it received. She was not dead but she deserved nothing else. Why was she alive?
The voice repeated
“Who are you”, this time in fluent Gallente. Accented. But fluent. Educated, warm but clearly Amarr. Like the not-so-secret police who used to interrogate her mum. They asked about Dad’s ship designs. If she could remember any details of his dreadnaughts, even had blueprints, pictures. There would be extra rations, extra blankets if she remembered. Mum didn’t never had a technical bone in her body. She made an honest effort to describe the ships them but her description never went more technical than “they were very big”. And then the visits stopped.
Amarr secret police. Must be. They would execute her if she confessed. Or worse, sell her into slavery. Don’t say a word.
Lydie stayed motionless. Not so hard to do where every movement caused agony. She realized that she was breathing on her own. No ventilator.
“I don’t know if you can hear me or understand me” the voice continued. “I thought you were my daughter. I heard the explosion and knew in my heart that she was in trouble. I ran down the corridor and saw you laying there. Your uniform. Your hairstyle. You looked like her. I am a doctor. I looked at your face, pulled you from the rubble and ran to the emergency room. There were many others, I saw so many, I could have helped. But I carried you. I couldn’t stop. Only when they took you in, I ran back. I have seen war, I have seen disasters. This was worse. I held it together since I knew that you were safe.”
Lydie slowly caught up. She was alive. This man saved her life, whether he had intended it or not. She owed him. She killed his daughter. She must tell him now. He will kill her and all will be well. Lydie opened her mouth to speak when the voice continued.
“They found out what happened. The guards at the refugee camp had an old Samovar. It was against regulation. It must have exploded, it happens, I have seen these things in the war. Very dangerous when they are not maintained properly. It would have killed the foolish guards and that’s that. But on the other side of the wall was a storage unit, rented out to some Planetary dealer. Caldari. He had several crates of Industrial Explosives, illegal. Stored it there. Where our children go to school. Stored Industrial Explosives.”
Lydie heard the voice trail off. There was no anger. Just deep sadness.
“They never found the trader. I guess he found his way to his god. God of Money. Whatever he prays to. May that god have mercy on him.”
Mercy? Mercy? Lydie wanted to die by his hand. Right now. She killed his daughter. The man was wrong. It was not the Caldari trader. She killed his daughter. She alone. She deserved no mercy.
“I will go now. I have to talk to the police. They want to know why I rescued the one Gallente among the hundreds of Amarr. I don’t know if they believe me. But you need to stay alive and better have a good story to tell, I will be back later”.
Lydie heard footsteps and a door open and shut.
Lydie opened her eyes and took in the featureless white of a ceiling. Someone else was in the room, Lydie heard sobbing. A woman. Lydie moved her head, tried to locate the source of the sound and the woman came in focus, seated by her feet, traditional Amarr dress, hunched over, her hands covering her face. A tall man standing behind her. Trying comfort but barely holding back his tears.
“You are awake” he said in Amarr – she recognized the voice. “This is my wife. After I got you to the hospital, I called her and told her that her daughter was safe. Then I had to tell her the truth”.
Lydie did not say anything. What possibly could she say? She should have been dead, their daughter should be in her place. The man spoke again: “we paid the surgeon a personal fee.”. A smirk. “He operated on you and fixed organs. I assisted. We also grafted your face back. You will look almost the same.”
Lydie cleared her throat. “Why?”
The woman looked up. “you are someone’s daughter”.
The next time Lydie woke up, another man was by her bed. She instinctively feared him. He was too close. He leaned forward, he touched her hand. His face was too small for his eyes. His massive shoulders moved incessantly. His pupils swam in his enormous white eyes like fat on a soup. He saw nothing and everything. Police.
“Hello Lydie. Yes I know your name. I also know the name of your mother and your brother Orv who currently studies to supply our enemies with new bionic weapons, I know a lot about you, little girl”
Lydie was afraid. A few days ago she desired death, was looking for it. And now she feared this man. What could he do to her?
“the Doctor who saved you, honorable man, honorable. Surely. But why did he save the one Gallente girl from the explosion scene? Was there something going on between the two of you? He is not voluntarily on this station, you know? Exile they say. Shame on his family, they say. So, anything a cute Gallente chick wants to do to get better food into the refugee camp? Consort with an older, wealthy man? No? He said it was all a case of mistaken identity. He mistook you for his daughter. Suure…. Anyway. I just came to tell you that we know about you and your heroic rescuer and will keep a very close eye on you. And once you leave this hospital, I will be standing at the front door to bring you in for questioning. You may want to start enjoying your stay here, your protector’s bribes won’t last for much longer.” Like a snake he leaned forward and kissed her wet on her lips before throwing her a wide grin, a mock salute and left the room.
Bill of Sales.
This is to certify that Lydie Signoret, property of the Amarr state was sold to Dr. Themas for the total sum of ISK 35,000. From this day on, she is rightfully his property to do with as he pleases, has no nationality or personal rights and is subject to his judgment only.
Dated and Signed