Today... was way, way too much for me...
Well, it wasn't that bad at first. I stopped by the Gate tonight on a whim, and ran into none other than Hitome and Aurora. I spoke briefly to Hitome about the things that had happened over last day or so; apparently someone set off a Vitoc-dispersal bomb in the Quaesitor yesterday in the morning. I was very worried about Aldrith, Hitome, Leo and Math'ra... I hadn't heard back from Aldrith after I'd sent him a message when I heard what had happened, so I was afraid he'd been caught in everything, but Hitome reassured me that no-one had been killed or severely injured, and I felt much better. She commented that the culprit had been in and out of the Gate a few times, and that she wanted to do something particularly nasty to him. I agreed... told her if I saw him somewhere I wouldn't get in trouble for starting a fight, that I'd take a swing at him myself. She said to make sure to get a picture if that happened... I couldn't help but laugh and promise I would.
We also talked a bit about having to get together with Aldrith and putting on a little jam session; Hitome on the piano, Aldrith on his leteth, and me on my violin... Mr. Roche came by, and Hitome decided to leave with him, I think she said she was going to the target range for a bit, but in any case it left Aurora and I sitting at the bar by ourselves.
It was really awkward.
Both of us apologizing to the other for how we'd acted... telling the other that it wasn't their fault...
We both gave up after a few minutes of that... then she offered to get me a drink. Of course I said yes... but I wanted her to just pick anything she wanted and surprise me.
Oops. Back to the good old indecision cycle. By the time I decided to end it and just ask for another glass of wine, it was about time for her to sleep. I really need to keep better track of time when I'm around her, I am always forgetting that she sleeps a few hours off from me. I bid her a good night, and she left after giving me the wine.
I watched her leave, then people-watched a bit. It's always interesting, the sorts of people you find in places like the Gate. As I found out in a rather... well, unexpected way.
A young Brutor girl came out of one of the private rooms in the back of the club and sat down near me at the bar. Bright red and orange hair, like a flame, almost. She seemed a little bored, so I decided to be polite and start a conversation.
Her name was Amaterasu, which I admit was a little amusing to me, as it was the name I had given my first cruiser-sized ship, a Thorax. She seemed like she was looking for someone, so I asked if she was; she mentioned Mr. Roche and Mr. Verone... and a third person who I didn't know. Apparently she was bored while waiting for the third person to return and decided to wander around. She offered a very colorful fruit drink to me while we were talking. It was extremely sweet; a good thing that there was no alcohol in it. Judging by how she seemed to be bouncing in her seat a bit, and by the ten or so empty glasses on the tray that she'd given me the drink off of, she'd probably have been passed out on the floor if it had.
We kept talking. Apparently Ama used to be a slave, but she was emancipated about twelve years ago. Since then, it seems that she's been doing freelance mining on her own. Aldrith came in at some point and was talking to some Sebiestor woman behind me. While Ama and I were talking, I saw Marius -- the man who Hitome had identified as the person who set off the vitoc bomb -- enter the bar again. I admit I panicked a bit and might have overreacted in my attempt to make sure he didn't do anything stupid... but after he calmed down, I introduced him to Ama. While explaining to Aldrith that Ama had been emancipated, someone remarked that her former owner had attempted to "recover" her earlier that day.
In the split second it took me to turn towards that person to ask them what happened, a young Khanid woman dashed into the Gate and had grabbed Ama by the arm. Before I could even react, she had dragged her off of her stool and was pulling her violently towards the club's exit. Ama was screaming at the top of her lungs, Mr. Verone was shouting at the woman, guards were rushing to block the exit, people were running all over ... it was chaos. And Ama... she was in the middle of it, and she looked more frightened than I've ever seen someone, and I panicked and started running after them.
She stopped at the door and turned towards Mr. Verone, starting to argue with him as she pulled Ama in front of her, grabbing her by the throat. He wanted her -- the woman -- to let go of Ama and come up to his table. She threatened to kill Ama right there... snap her neck. Things kept heating up... someone entering the club saw what was going on and pulled a gun on the woman, putting it against her head... Ama was still shouting, Mr. Verone was moving towards them from his table... and I...
I was standing there, no more than four or five paces away, just watching. Frozen in my spot. I couldn't move. I felt so helpless... and then... the woman said something to Mr. Verone, and out of the corner of my eye I saw him move his hand down to his waist and pull it back up, pointing a pistol at the woman.
I saw a bright yellow flash, and heard a loud crack.
Then time seemed to stop for a moment as... as I saw something so... so horrible I can't even think of words to describe it. Mr. Verone... he shot that woman... right there... in front of everyone. Without a second thought.
She... she crumpled to the floor, dragging Ama with her, not even making any sort of sound... Ama yelled as she fell, and I suddenly could move again. I ran over as fast as I could and tried to get Ama loose from the... the remains...
Ama was sobbing, and struggling to get herself loose. It was hard, but she must have realized I was trying to help her, and she stopped struggling and latched onto me. I started walking over towards one of the restrooms to start cleaning her up, and we were most of the way there when an older Civire man came over to help.
He introduced himself as Reimei and asked me to tell him what happened. While I did, we cleaned Ama up and brought her over to the bar to sit down. I gave her one of those fruit drinks to help her calm down while Reimei went up to talk to Mr. Verone... not sure what about, but it's none of my business.
I don't know... what really was happening. It felt like my body was on autopilot. I tried rubbing her shoulder to calm her down a bit... she picked up a drink from the tray and went over to the host's table where Reimei was talking to Mr. Verone. She gave him the drink, and then came back with Reimei, sitting down next to me again. Ama still seemed stressed... so I asked her to turn her back towards me so that I could try and help her relax a bit. I didn't really expect her to actually do it when I asked, but she turned without complaint... so I started massaging her shoulders and back, idly listening to the conversation around me. Reimei had started talking to Qing Jao -- she prefers to be called King -- a young Jin-Mei woman that I've spoken to a few times over the past week or two over FTL comms. Today was the first time I think I'd ever seen her face to face, but I didn't really get a chance to talk to her for more than a minute or two.
Ama seemed to be feeling better, so I asked her if there were any spots she wanted me to try working on in particular. I was a little surprised when she asked for me to work on her neck, given what had just happened, but I did as she asked anyway. I started talking quietly to other people while I worked on Ama's neck, and turned back to look at her several minutes later only to find that she'd fallen asleep. She looked so peaceful in that state, it seemed hard to imagine that she'd been through so much today.
It was about that time that I received an urgent message from Age, who... well, I guess the best way to describe her is as King's personal secretary, but she's more than that... she's this highly sophisticated -- arguably sentient -- holographic AI that she uses for information gathering among other things... and often Age will be present in some holographic form or another to converse with people if King herself is unable to or otherwise busy.
Anyway... Age said that Koro... that he was saying he wanted to kill himself, and... so, after Reimei took Ama back to his ship so she could sleep better, I left the Gate and was supposed to go to where Koro was and try and talk him out of it...
I was talking to him on the way on private comms... and he... he scared me with the way he was talking... I didn't know what to do. I panicked. I searched through all the names that I knew of people who worked in Ghost Festival, people who could get there in time to stop him from doing something rash... I took the first name I found -- a miss Inara Subaka -- and sent her a quick message asking her for help.
Koro... he... he got very angry when he found out. He... he didn't yell at me... but I could see the anger in his eyes. I.. I started to cry, and then he just said "goodbye" and ended the call. He wouldn't answer when I tried calling him back. I've kept trying to reach him, but still no answer...
Age said it was my responsibility to keep Koro alive... but I think I failed... I hope he didn't... I don't want to think about that.
I need to sleep... maybe I'll feel better in the morning... maybe... just maybe... Koro will pick up and he'll be okay...