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It's a dirty business, part 1

Saw your face last night on the tube
Strong fine snake in a sucker's vacuum
15 clicks and it's time to say bye
15 trips and a love that won't die

Me and myself killed a world today
Me and myself got a world to save
Broadcast dead revolution don't pay
Strapped up freaks on the Lazarus plane

I can tell just by the climate, and I can tell just by the style
I was born and raised on Venus and I may be here a while
Cause every supersonic jerkoff who plugs into the game
Is just like every subatomic genius who just invented pain

I will deny you
I will deny you baby
I will deny you
I will deny you baby
I will deny you
I will deny you baby
I will deny you
I will deny you baby
Yeah yeah, yeah, wow

Oh baby, I'm lazy
Oh baby, introduce me to God
Oh baby, I'm lady
Oh baby, set a place for the dog, for the dog

Yeah, Oh

Shut me off 'cause I go crazy with this planet in my hands
Shut me off 'cause I go crazy with this planet in my hands
Shut me off 'cause I go crazy with this planet in my hands
Shut me off 'cause I go crazy with this planet in my hands

I can tell just by the climate, and I can tell just by the style
I was born and raised on Venus and I may be here a while
Cause every supersonic jerkoff who plugs into the game
Is just like every subatomic genius who just invented pain

I will deny you
I will deny you baby
I will deny you
I will deny you baby
I will deny you
I will deny you baby
I will deny you
I will deny you baby

Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, wow
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

-Monster Magnet, Negasonic Teenage Warhead

February 17, 2412, Independent Vessel Cruel Desire, Corsair-Class Cruiser...

The Cruel Desire looked much like any other ship of its kind as it cruised through the vastness of space. However, unlike most, the ship, her captain, and her crew were not subservient to anyone. The Captain may have been the youngest daughter of a minor House, but she had long shed her ties to her home, and had no ties to the KDF, either. Instead, she acted entirely on her own, to satisfy her own desires. Like most Orions, she dabbled in the Slave Trade a bit, but only so she could maintain a source of income to help satisfy her desires. It wasn't like she didn't have a use for excess slaves, or that selling them was her only source of income... but it did help bolster her income on occasion.

At the moment, though, she was busy in her quarters, a Female Human Slave with her as she indulged in her preferred... hobby. Crew members and slaves walking past could hear the moans and screams of pleasure from their Captain, coupled with the screams and whimpers of pain from the slave who had been chosen to satisfy her this time.

A male Orion came and sounded the door chime. The screams within paused. "Yes?" the Captain asked.

"Sensors are picking up a contact a couple of systems ahead, Mistress Kran," the Orion reported. "Judging from what we can tell, it seems to be an outpost of some kind. We'll be there in about three hours."

Inside the room stood a female Orion standing at 5'7" with dark red hair done in a ponytail, dark green eyes, a slender build, and an ample bosom, her front and loincloth splattered with blood from the slave chained before her, as was the knife she held in her right hand. She sighed. "Understood," she called. "I shall be on the Bridge momentarily, once I finish up in here."

"Of course, Mistress," the male replied before walking away.

Larea Kran, Mistress of the Cruel Desire, sighed as she glanced at her victim once more.

"It seems we have to cut this short," she said, as the silver-haired slave raised her head slightly, opening her hazel eyes to look at her tormentor. "A pity--I had wanted to drag this out, make it as agonizing as possible."

Walking over to the slave, she brandished the knife as she said, "Still, I don't need to get ready for another hour, at least, so it's not like I have to end you now." She dragged the knife along the slave's left leg, causing another scream of agony. "We still have some time to...play..."

Half an hour later, the ship shuddered and rang like a bell, causing her to miss a minor stroke. The miss drove the knife into her toy in a vital spot--the slave bled out in seconds.

Larea screamed in rage. "I WASN'T DONE WITH HER YET!!!" could be heard throughout most of the ship.

Over the comm, her Second reported, "Mistress, we're under attack!"

Larea snarled. "I will be on the Bridge momentarily," she replied, anger coursing through her voice. "In the meantime, return fire, aim to cripple them if possible. I will claim all of their crew as slaves, and the highest-ranking female will become my next... toy..."

The ship shook again, and the lights flickered as damage alerts sounded.

When she reached the bridge, everything was on emergency lighting and the crew were frantic. On the viewscreen, a malformed, office-building shaped alien ship loomed. Flanking it were ships very much like the KDF's newest carrier--the Kar'fi, but these were clearly not those.
Twisted shapes flitted, and she knew what she was seeing.

"Fek'Ihr..." she breathed. They're real!

Like all properly raised Orion girls of a higher caste, she knew the myths of the Good Masters, and she heard, before going 'independent', of the rumoured connection between the Klingons' mythical demons, and the Masters--and she'd seen, for herself, Orions proclaiming the return--hard to avoid that, even SHE got subspace network news...

But she had discounted all of it as ignorant superstition and wishful thinking. "Battle stations, and get us out of here. Helm, Ninety degrees to port, all ahead full. All weapons fire when you have targeting solutions."

"Shall I launch the Slaver Ships, Mistress?" the slave in charge of Flight Ops asked.

"No," she replied. "If this were Federation, Romulan, Klingon, Ferengi, or any other known race aside from the Borg, I'd say yes, but these are not from any of those races. Plus, we're outnumbered--all we can do is escape, though I definitely intend to bloody their noses as much as we can for attacking us."

The ship began turning left, seeking to move past the attacking ships and onto an empty escape vector, even as the ship's Disruptor Beam Arrays lanced emerald fire at the enemy ships, and four Mines with Quantum Warheads deployed from the rear of the ship.

The Fek pursued her for another 12 Light Years before breaking off. Whatever else, it seemed almost like they had a 'leash to run on', and no more than that.

She sighed as she watched the Fek'Ihri fall back. She wasn't about to tell her crew or slaves about the danger they'd just faced, but she definitely didn't want to get into a scrap with Fek'Ihri if she could help it. Still, it almost seemed like they'd been defending a certain area ahead of her previous course, which was something to note for later. "Damage report," she said as the last of the Fek disappeared from their scanners.

"Minor damage to the portside antimatter containment pod, hull breach in Deck seven, six or seven sensor clusters portside aft are fried...about Thirty-six million Quatloos worth of repairs and we'll be Battle-ready--but Mistress, we don't have all the parts we need."

She sighed once again. They were a bit far out from Drozana at this point, and as much as she disliked dealing with him, the closest 'port' was run by... "Set course for Nimbus III," she ordered, a grimace on her face. "Hopefully we can trade favors or services with Hassan to get the necessary parts."

"Yes, Mistress," the Helmsman replied. "Setting course for Funworld now," he said with a slight twist of his lips. The Helmsman's last trip to Nimbus had cost him most of the toes on his right foot and a number of teeth, and that was with a narrow escape from the extremely offended Ferasan he'd attempted to cheat the cards with.

"Girha, I'm returning to my quarters," Larea addressed her second as she stood up. "Be sure to let me know when we reach Nimbus. Also, send another 'toy' to my quarters--I have some stress to relieve, and the attack caused me to prematurely break the last one."

"Very well, Mistress," replied a green-haired Orion woman with black eyes. She'd been Larea's Second ever since she first claimed the Cruel Desire several years ago, and was well aware of her Mistress... habits. "Your next 'toy' will be escorted to your quarters shortly."

Larea nodded as she strode out of the Bridge.

Prisoner hold...

"...Mistress is NOT going to be happy about this." Girha said, shaking her head. The merchandise was damaged. "Which one is in the best condition?"

The guard grunted, and pointed at a sullen looking fem, human with raven hair and a pronounced epicanthic fold over the eyes. "That one has no broken bones," the Guard enunciated.

"Bring her to the Mistress' quarters," Girha said. "I have to bring down the veterinarian to see if any of these can be...salvaged."

The fem wore a ragged remains of a uniform--she'd been taken in a raid in the Eta Eridani sector, and so far, had been a difficult prisoner--she had to be force-fed twice daily and refused to respond to verbal commands.

Unlike the usual 'toy preparation', the Guards had already learned not to unlock her binders. She'd sent two thugs to the infirmary, one of whom needed a new right eye and would be healing from a septic bite-wound.

At the Mistress' door, the guard shoved her in. She stumbled over the leg-binders. The door slammed closed behind her.

"Ah, you must be my latest 'toy'," Larea said as she walked over.

"Bạn c? thể đi đến địa ngục..." it was the first sound she'd made since she was taken. she accompanied it with a lob of spit.

Larea wiped the spit off of where it landed on her cheek. "Feisty, aren't you?" she asked, dragging the woman over to the chains in the corner of the room. "Explains why the guards didn't unlock you..." When they reached the chains, Larea secured chains to each arm, activating a mechanical retraction feature before unlocking the wrist bindings. The woman didn't have any opportunity to do anything before the chains hoisted her slightly into the air, her arms being pulled straight out, then upwards at an angle.

"bạn thật sự l? một người h?n nh?t," the woman laughed...and Larea got the strange feeling she was laughing at HER.

Internally seething at that, Larea repeated the process with the woman's legs, securing her ankles in chains and starting the mechanical retraction before undoing the leg bindings, causing the legs to spread about as much as the arms were. She then went over to a nearby table and retrieved a small pocket knife. "I like the feisty ones," she said. "Do you know why?"

She just stared, her expression was unreadable.

"Because even if it takes a while, they let out the most delectable screams," she said, answering her own question as she began, starting rather slow by carving a rather shallow line along the woman's left arm.

Blood leaked out from the cut, but the muscles didn't even tense. Her toy was being totally silent.

The silence was to be expected--it was rather early on in the session--but the fact that the muscles didn't even tense was strange. Larea shrugged it off, and decided to turn it up a bit. This time she did the right arm, digging down a couple inches as she carved a line from elbow to shoulder.

Larea heard a crackling sound, and suddenly, there was a bloody, broken hand wrapped around her throat. "You think that hurts?" her Toy spoke...SPOKE!
"Feel THIS."

Minh Shared.

Larea suddenly felt almost as though she was on fire, pain erupting across almost her entire body, even as the hand wrapped around her throat was cutting off her oxygen supply, causing her to choke slightly.

Welcome to my every-day. The hand spasmed and Larea could breathe again--the Toy was...it was a seizure hard enough that she could SEE the joints dislocating.

The agony faded for Larea.

"You... you have to deal with that daily?" Larea asked, incredulous.

The seizures slowed, and her victim opened bloodshot eyes. "Sometimes it even gets bad." Minh smiled showing newly broken teeth. "Sometimes...you pray for death--but god doesn't work that way."

"I...I see..." the Orion remarked. "I...I guess death would be preferable to that level of pain... I know that many of my 'toys' end up begging for death after I'm through with them, but given how much I just felt... I doubt I'll be getting any screams out of you."

"Airlocks work," Minh said. "I put a pirate through decompression--he even screamed after he was dead."

"Unfortunately, I don't work like that...to impersonal," Larea replied. "Something about the feel of a blade in the flesh of my victims, the knowledge that I am the source of their screams of pain..."

"The power, you mean--I read you," Minh said. "It's impossible not to when you 'share'." Minh spat out a broken tooth. "I didn't scan deep, your secrets are still yours, but the surface emotions and their associations were pretty strong."

"Hmm..." Larea mused. "That ability does sound like it could be useful..."

"Actually, it sucks--imagine getting something invading your head every time you touch an object for the first time, knowing what someone's really thinking when they bump into you...Telepathy is a curse, Larea, a curse one spends what's left of one's life learning to block out."

Larea frowned. "I take it a job offer for you is out of the question, then?" she asked.

"I don't see why not--Last diagnosis said I have three more years before it hits stage three, and your work probably isn't any worse than what I was doing on contract before," Minh told her. "But let's not shake hands on that--your mind is nauseating."

"All right," Larea said, reaching down to unlock the ankle chains first, causing Minh to slightly swing downwards until her feet touched the ground, before unlocking the other wrist restraint.

"Just to be clear--I lost the genetic lottery--mom was Moabite, dad was a Betazoid who fought for the Maquis, I've been doing...work...for interested parties since I was thirteen," Minh told her. "Mostly interrogations."

"Makes sense," Larea remarked, already seeing the potential ways she could use Minh's abilities. Capturing a high-ranking officer for any government, having Minh rip the secrets from her mind as Larea did her standard routine, and then selling those secrets to the highest bidder... oh, the quatloos she could earn, or even the Latinum!!

"I work without a bit, and without chains," Minh stated, rubbing her damaged wrists, "and I call nobody 'master' or 'mistress'."

Larea quickly modified her plans for this slightly, even as she said, "Of course, Miss," she said. "You may call me Miss Kran, if you prefer--only those who I trust can call me by my first name, and I don't like using the title Captain."

"That suits nicely." Minh said, "Now, soap, and hot water would be a good idea--these rags stink."

"Of course," Larea replied. "I'll have a guard show you to more proper quarters and a bath." She then turned on the intercom on the wall. "Girha, can you send me another toy?"

Minh snorted. "She sent me, because the rest were broken already," she stated. "A couple are going to probably die of their injuries."

Larea swore. "Another thing I'm probably going to need to pay the Fek back for, I guess," she muttered. "Oh, well, I'll just need to ask Hassan for some more in addition to all the repairs..." She sighed. "I can only imagine what services he's going to ask me for in exchange..."

Minh shrugged. "If you have leverage you can usually negotiate a better deal," she said. "What does Hassan the Undying, brother of Melani Di'an, want more than anything else?"

"Power and money, I'd imagine... most men do."

"Power and money are a given--it's WHY he wants it that is important," Minh said. "Figure that out, and you have true leverage."

"Thank you for the advice," Larea replied as she lead Minh to the door. "I might bring you along when meeting him, if in secret so you could read him."

"Reading's never the hard part--it's understanding what you're experiencing--He's an Orion, your people tend to have plots within schemes. It should be an interesting exercise--much like reading someone for a business advantage usually is--you can't restrain them, and you have to leave them alive." Minh stripped off the ruined shirt, and rolled it up under the deep cut on her left arm as a bandage. Larea could see a complex tattoo wrapping around her lower torso, leading down to...she stopped at the beltline.

"Right--but I have a bit of an idea..." Larea found herself staring at the ink-work. "Who did that?" she asked.

"I did," Minh told her. "I wouldn't let anyone else touch me there."

"I see..." Larea remarked, having newfound respect for the woman. She was definitely a looker, too... she mentally shook herself. 'You've only just met her, for crying out loud!!' she thought to herself. 'True, she can take more pain than you usually dish out, but you don't know her that well!! Not to mention most of your normal relations with other women are one-night stands!!' "Perhaps you could give me a tattoo, sometime, if I find a design I like."

"With good gloves," Minh said. "The sensations...carry. I never fully mastered distinction discipline--the Vulcan that was teaching me suffered an...unfortunate event."

"I... understand," Larea remarked. "Anyway, let's start planning for the meeting with Hassan, and everything we'll need to do before hand."

"You have a replicator capable of making clothes. I need clothing that hasn't got...residue," Minh said. "It should be professional-looking--Hassan is a Boss, he would see any attempt at covert--so being overt works better. Show him what he expects to see, and he will not look deeper."

"Right," Larea replied, starting towards the replicator before pausing. "I just realized that I never asked your name, and I don't think I got it when you shared."

"You've already called me 'minh' twice," Minh said. "Albeit, you were in more pain than you've ever known while you were doing it...formally, I am Minh Van Cohen, but I prefer you just call me Minh--especially in front of strangers--it reinforces my public role as an assistant."
"when you're out of Birds of Prey, you're out of ships."

I play KDF, because being a genocidal maniac works better with Klingons, than explaining it as a member of Starfleet.
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 570
# 2
09-29-2013, 10:17 PM
Very nice.

I look forward to working on this more with you--and it's a good chance to introduce Larea to the Forums.

*subscribes to thread*
Originally KiraYamato before the Account Linking - True Join Date August 2008

"Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins." - Maxim 4, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 570
# 3
10-04-2013, 05:41 PM
OK, here's the next piece:

Paradise City...

"...you brought one of...of...Those," Hassan gestured at Larea's 'companion'. "Do you have any idea how dangerous those are?"

"She's just a human." Larea said.

Hassan Laughed. "JUST a human...no, dear Larea, that one is not 'just' a human...are you?" He directed his attention to Minh. "You're not 'just' a human. Is it Moab? New Saigon?"

"New Saigon." Minh said.

"Why are you working with--not for, with, Larea here??" he asked.

"Our interests align at present," Minh told him.

"We disgust you, don't we?" Hassan asked her. "Orions, I mean...you find us repellant."

"To be honest, yes," Minh stated. "However, I am...somewhat used to working with people I can't stand on a personal level--I have my professional standards...and at present, my interests align with hers."

He turned his attention to Larea. "You haven't tasted her yet?" he asked, then answered his own question. "Of course not--she's still alive."

A tingle ran over Larea's skin. Welcome to my every-day. "...No...as she stated, our interests...align."

He gestured, and a male dancer came over to the table, and poured drinks. Minh stared at hers for a moment, then reached out with a gloved hand, and took the cup. The Dancer stayed by Hassan, and the Orion crime-boss ran a finger down his thigh. "Larea never visits her good friend Hassan unless she needs something--a job, or a favour," he said, stroking the dancer's thigh. "You know that, right, human?"

"She's told me that much," Minh replied. A bit of a half truth--what Larea had really said was she didn't like visiting him, and only did it under extreme circumstances.

"My ship was attacked," Larea mentioned at that point. "Who it was, I don't know." A lie, but she didn't want to tell Hassan that she was attacked by the Fek'Ihri. "But they dealt my ship thirty-six thousand Quatloos worth of damage, along with damaging a large portion of my merchandise and 'toys'." Indeed, several of her 'toys' would be in the infirmary for weeks, if not months, and a few had to be disposed of, and the merchandise wasn't much better off. "I felt coming to see you for repairs and a restocking of merchandise would be... prudent..." Drozana was several Sector Blocks away, and the only other 'independent' port close enough to effect repairs was Nimbus III... and Hassan.

"What are you offering for such a generous sum?" Hassan asked.

Minh met his eyes. "What do you want?" she asked. "Everyone wants money, success, power--but those are means to an end," she continued. "So...what do you want?"

Hassan laughed, and seized his slave by the groin. "You won't catch me that easily, little human," he said. "That question never has a good answer." He pulled the slave down onto his lap. "But I do have a job that could pay enough to cover your ship's damages, Larea--and provide a small profit." He tossed a holoimage onto the table, and it opened up to reveal a rather intricate cube.

"This was stolen from my personal collection, I want it returned, and the thief--or thieves, punished," Hassan said. "It is worth the price of the repairs to your ship."

"Do you know who stole it?" Minh asked.

"If I knew that, I wouldn't need YOU," Hassan said, busying his hands under the table. "I think we're done with business here," he added. "You can show yourselves out to the public room while I...take care...of?"

"Ah..." Minh 'accidentally' brushed Hassan's hand as she took the imager. "We'll be in touch."

"Indeed we will," Larea remarked as she stood up. "See you again once you have your artifact, Hassan."

The two women strode out of Hassan's private room, and into the public room. They continued walking, until they were in the streets of Nimbus III and less likely to be heard. "What did you get?" Larea whispered to Minh.

"He knows who has it," Minh said. "He's afraid of them. You want to explain to me about the worship of the...umm...I think it pronounces as 'Gallau'Su'? Apparently he's VERY worried about their having his little objet' d'art...but he's apparently convinced of his own powerlessness to retrieve it...also, he won't mind if we get killed getting it out of their hands--so long as his sister doesn't know he lost it to them." She pulled a Rajpa'fruit from her jacket pocket, and bit into it. "Also, he knows I'm a telepath."

"WHAT?" Larea stopped in her tracks.

"Hassan. Knows I'm a Telepath--we had a very interesting conversation," Minh said. "He sensed me before we entered the establishment...apparently the gene linking for Orion telepaths is linked to the same combination of genetics that results in Orion Males preferring to pleasure with Orion Males." She chewed, swallowed. "I'd rate him around a p3 or P4. Good sensing, empathy but weak."

Minh spat out the seed-cell of the fruit, it hit the ground and the worms crawled out. "He hopes I'll let you die...of course, I won't--my interests don't trend that way--but he doesn't know, and you shouldn't tell him."

"Why are you telling me then?" Larea said. "You've already made clear you dislike me."

"Because you're my client," Minh said, "and our interests align at present. When they don't, and you're no longer my client, I won't feel any compunction about lying to you, or just not speaking up."

"How long will THAT last?" Larea asked.

"Until you've gotten full value for not killing me," Minh stated. "I am keeping track of relative value here--when the relative value equals out, we will renegotiate."

"I see..." Larea remarked, silently reevaluating the woman at her side once again. "Anyway, I suppose I should tell you about the cult worshipping the 'Good Masters'." She spat after saying the name. "Bunch of idiots, those cultists... Basically, the beings called the 'Gallau'Su', or 'Good Masters', were a race that predated even the Iconians. According to the stories I was told, they ruled over a very large portion of the known galaxy--Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta Quadrants. The Orions were one of their 'vassal' races, and they helped make the Orions the way they are today." She paused for a moment. "In Orion Society, every individual is another individual's property--the higher a position of power you have, the more 'property' you own. For example, every member of an Orion Ship's crew, slave or 'free', is technically the 'property' of that ship's Captain--in those terms, you would have become my 'property' the second you came aboard my ship." She paused once more, giving off a bit of a sigh. "Anyway, the 'Good Masters' supposedly set this system up, and at the height of their power, the entire Orion race was their 'property'."

"Lovely--Kleptocracy encoded not only into law, but into traditions."

"Pretty much," Larea admitted. "Young Orion Girls, especially the daughters of the Trade Houses, play with dolls just like young Human Girls, only our way of playing with them is a way to instruct those Girls in how our society works--just like with people in our society, they can be bought, sold, and even traded, and the more dolls you have, the greater your prestige among the children your age." Another brief pause. "Anyway, the cult treats these 'Good Masters' like gods, and preach that they will return someday to 'reclaim their property'. Recently, I've heard rumors that the more radical members of the cult have actually started attempts to help these 'Good Masters' make their return."

Minh frowned. "We need to find where they're meeting," Minh said, "Find one that knows something." she looked to Larea, "So...you had a lot of dolls huh?" Minh stretched like a cat, "What was it like, to play with toys? I used to wonder what it was like for kids who had toys."

"Ah, what did YOU have?" Larea asked.

"Daddy started me on knives when I was four. By the time I was six, I was his 'helper'." Minh told her, "Install the entertainment units, sharpen the knives, clean the clubs, I helped dispose of my first body when I was ten-the guy was a pedophile on work-release who owed Mister Thanh money--the bribes that kept him out of prison, jerk didn't want to pay--he was really surprised when I wrapped his feet up before we fed him into the chipper--he was so surprised he actually let me know where he was keeping two little girls he'd picked up for...fun...he thought of THEM as 'dolls' too...hell, he thought of ME that way until Daddy let me push the power-on button."

"I was the youngest daughter of a minor Trade House," Larea remarked, eyes growing slightly distant as she remembered. "I had a few dolls, but not as many as my older sisters." She paused. "I accidentally broke one when I was five--grabbed its legs a little too hard when picking it up and snapped them right off. But instead of feeling sad or horrified at how I'd broken the doll... I felt... good..."

Minh flashed a grin. "And this is why we can't have nice things," she said. "You shouldn't ever feel good about breaking the tools of your trade."

"I know that, and my mother admonished me for it, but I couldn't stop the good feelings that came when I broke my dolls. So... I started keeping two collections. One that was public, to follow the 'game' that came with collecting and trading them... and a second, smaller one that I kept hidden, and every so often I would go to my hidden collection, take one of the dolls from it, and break it."

"Yeah, you're messed up. I couldn't imagine deliberately breaking a lockpick, or a nice knife, or...but I guess those were just toys to you," she said. "Sometimes the white kids would have their toys out--and they broke them a lot..." Minh stopped by a locked door, and finessed it open. "Let's have a drink, we can leave him a tip when he shows up."

"It's a wine-seller?" Larea looked around. "You just broke into-"

"SO?" Minh shrugged. "He had a really crap lock on this door, no Tong marks or Gang protection signs anywhere, no lookout, no guard, and no sensors--he wants people to rob him." she smiled. "If he didn't, he wouldn't make it easy."

'You can't know that!" Larea argued.

"Sure I can--check it out--terminal!" Minh hopped the counter and, in a few deft moves, was inside the proprietor's system.

"Insurance," she said. "See? He's got his stock insured about three times it's actual street value, so Captain, let's have a drink and do this guy a favour." Minh opened a bottle, and poured two glasses. "Besides, Hassan's mob is big, but the people we're looking for, their mob is bigger--the way to find them, is to have them find us..."

Larea picked up her glass, taking a small sip. "Right..." she muttered. "And you're definitely right about 'bigger'--last I heard, the cult consisted of 15% of the Orion population... so, how do you suggest we have them 'find' us?"

"Well...you deal in slaves. I am willing to bet this guy's a fence on the side--Slaves are a limited property--hard to make profitable with the restrictions on all sides of the border--so how does our theoretical big mob make their day-to-day dough?" she asked. "MY guess is contraband. Like this fine vintage we're sipping...you ARE only sipping, right?" Minh asked. "See, Mobs are territorial. This guy obviously has pull or he would HAVE guards...and sensors...and good locks. we're pissing on their territory."

"Yes, I am only sipping," she replied. "Never did much more than that with any kind of alcohol--it dulls the senses."

"Given your hobbies that makes sense--now, if our little wine-and-snax party doesn't get some attention, I guess we could go down and see how many other-people's-slaves you can rough up real good before the owners show up," Minh said. "I prefer NOT doing that--it's expensive and often fatal, but it's the logical next step...this way, they'll either try to kill us, or try to hire us, depending on how smart the enforcers they send are." Minh sipped at her wine. "Hope for SMART."

"A decent plan," Larea said before taking another sip. "How long would it take to get attention for this?"

"In a place with good LEO's, about fifteen minutes ago. Rough trade neighbourhood like this, I estimate...thirty more minutes for the rumour mills to go, plus the time for their bully-boys to get organized and cross territories, unless the mark's upstairs...which he isn't because there isn't an upstairs...so, you like some cheese and crackers? This stuff's Earthie made?"

"Never tried Earth-made food before..." Larea remarked as she took a small cracker and a piece of cheese, putting the cheese on the cracker before putting both in her mouth and chewing. "...this is actually pretty good," she said after a moment.

Minh sliced a piece of pepperoni, and the sound of shouting outside the door drew her attention. "Well...sounds like they're not half-bad organized."

Three Orion males barged in, disruptors levelled.

"Please tell me one of you has some brains...you're early." Minh greeted them.

They looked at Minh, then at Larea...then at Minh...then at Larea?

"Take a picture-" Minh started to say,

"It will last longer-why are you?.just sitting there?" a smaller, female Orion stepped out.

"Oh Ghu! someone with some brains," Minh remarked. "Wine? Cheese?"

The Orion woman wore a polished spiked headdress and intricately looped polished brassiere of a SubMatron. "You have just had a very, very expensive snack," she sneered.

"Price list says it's only worth...120 Darseks," Minh commented. "Roughly eighty six Quatloos...that's cheap."

"The door lock?"

"Cheaply made, and it's not broken-come on, I have SOME professional pride....I'm looking for your boss," Minh said. "Actually, my client here, is looking for your boss, I'm just having a snack. while you two work out how she's going to meet with my client, and what she'll pay for the unique products and services we offer."
Originally KiraYamato before the Account Linking - True Join Date August 2008

"Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins." - Maxim 4, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 570
# 4
10-09-2013, 02:42 PM
The house of Slua, an Orion establishment...

"Your pet is endlessly amusing, Larea," Sub-Matron V'gera said, "So delightfully unrestrained, yet with a demure exterior."

Minh delivered a rabbit-punch to the lower abdomen of the Enforcer that doubled him over. The other Orion captains here cheered as the large, green man retched. Bets passed around the room, and a servant poured Larea more wine.

"Thank you," Larea said graciously. Minh was beating the downed pit-fighter with a table-leg. Orange blood spattered. "I suppose as entertainments go, she has some talents I had not anticipated."

"She's done well enough," V'gera said, and stood, clapping her hands for attention. "You can stop now - I don't want him dead." she announced.

Minh put the improvised club down, while attendants took the male to be treated. V'gera walked down the steps from her dias, and examined Minh more closely.

"Human... mostly," she said. "Decorative skin tone, good hair... clear eyes... how are those teeth?"

"Get your hands close enough and she might show you," Larea commented, joining her hostess.

"A biter?" V'Gera looked to Larea. "I'm surprised - your reputation as a trader says you usually muzzle them."

"This one has... more useful talents than entertainment," Larea said. "As she demonstrated breaking into your client's wine-shop."

"Oh... of course... so she's not YOUR entertainment?" V'gera asked.

"Not so much... she is a... useful pet," Larea stated. "Un-altered. Her conditioning is the minimum necessary in order to keep her useful to me in her other roles... among other things she is of great use in obtaining... items for clients, or for finding holes in security arrangements so that my own property is undisturbed. She is also, as we demonstrated here, quite useful for dealing with personal security situations where a larger, more intrusive guard would be... counter-productive. I have found in the time she has been with me that she can also be a good sounding board." Which was true as far as business matters went - Larea hadn't quite tested whether she was a good sounding board for personal matters yet.

V'Gera nodded. "She has the mark on her," she said. "You must have connections to the Moabites..."

"The mark?" Larea asked.

V'Gera looked surprised. "You didn't hear about the incident at Drozana? Oh, my dear, you may have put yourself in Terrible danger then... some of their people were brokered to a submatron with large-family connections. The response by them, was to hunt her, and five other Factors, including some very influential and powerful factors - they killed them and mutilated the bodies, leaving calling cards... cards displaying the same symbol your girl has tattooed on her neck - just under the ear-see?" she pointed.

There was a six pointed star tattooed below Minh's left ear.

"The word is out - don't touch the ones with that sign," V'gera stated.

"Oh... that... yes, I have a standing arrangement," Larea said. "As I said, minimal conditioning, Minh's a contract indenture."

"Ah... that would explain it, then," V'gera said. "Still... quite a prestigious coup you have there."

"Can we stop talking about me in the third person, Ladies?" Minh said, relaxing into a more casual stance. "I don't think my contract includes being treated like furniture."

"Of course not, dear," Larea said.

"Good...so, we pass interview?" Minh asked. "Or do I need to beat someone else to a pulp."

"Let's say you definitely impress on some levels," V'Gera said. "I am now very, very interested in what sort of service you're offering - and the terms of the contract."

"How do you want your rivals served up?" Minh asked. "Do you want them disgraced? Impoverished? Killed? Humiliated? We can provide those services in a deniable form, for an appropriate price, along with enhanced training to your own security forces that I guarantee you would not find on the open market," she said. "We can clear your path all the way to the Matron's throne if you want, or we can bring down another trading house - and I mean all the way down... and it won't trace back to you."

Larea watched Minh advertise with a little inner awe - she was definitely a good acquisition, and silently thanked the traders that gave Minh to her as a 'gift'.

"That sounds... grandiose," V'Gera said cautiously.

"It's all a matter of answering two questions - 'What do you want?', and..." She slid a finger across her gloved palm. "What will you pay to get it?" Minh paused. "Recall, however that discretion requires time, so the faster you want something done, the more expensive the service will be."

V'Gera considered the offer for a few moments, even as Larea mused on it herself. It was very true that discretion required time - the more delicate your touch, the longer you would take to get whatever needed done done. The same principle applied to when she was playing with her 'toys' - she could just brutalize them right off the bat, or slowly carve into them - and taking it slowly always produced the best screams.

V'Gera considered for a few minutes in silence. "Evil," she said. "You're offering... your service."

"That would be the concept," Minh said. "After all, 'good' is so ineffective."

"You don't even deny it," the Young Orion woman stated. "You offer me power... power to strike at my enemies from safety... I accept it, but to keep this way clear between us, it is an evil thing you offer."

"And you accept it," Minh said. "Let's draw up a contract - once the contract is signed, I can not go to your rivals with the same offer until the work is done."

V'Gera nodded. "Come, then, let us draw up the contract, and then I'll point you to your first target."

Larea nodded. "I look forward to a profitable partnership between us, whether it is short or long," she said. Who knows, this might also grant her some more toys if they matched her criteria...

V'gera led them to a back office. "I have several rivals for control of this quarter of Paradise city, but my largest is L'denna of the O'ghea Syndicate. I would surely like it if she were to suffer... difficulties that put her into my debt."

Larea nodded. "Do you wish for us to dismantle some of her activities? Render her security such that she has to call on you to provide security for her?"

V'Gera smiled. "I want her kneeling before me," she said. "I don't care how you do it, but I want her prostrate, and my brand on her back."

Larea nodded. "I think we might be able to do that," she said. "However, I have another question: does she employ anyone... questionable? Women who kill for the sake of killing, or who have questionable backgrounds, or even former Military officers who were discharged for what could be considered 'war crimes'?"

"Not that I am aware of, but she is a thorn in my side..." V'Gera said. "If you were to FIND such individuals, I don't see the harm in... well, you ARE infamous, Larea."

Larea nodded. "Thank you," she said. "One of the reasons I ask is that my collection of 'toys' is rather low at the moment." She didn't mention that most of her 'toys' were injured when her ship was attacked by Fek. "I am hoping this will give me a chance to... restock."

"Give us what you DO have on her - her territories, her businesses," Minh said. "We will... do the rest... the starting budget will be eight thousand quatloos, and no questions, up front. Another eight when the work is done, no questions... unless you want to join Larea's collection of toys."

V'Gera quickly shook her head. "I am not suicidal," she remarked. "I agree to your terms, though I might throw in a bit of a bonus depending on how badly L'denna's operations are crippled."

"I presume with her prostrate before you, you will want her operations as intact as possible for your own use?" Minh asked.

"That... would be nice, yes."

"We can discuss bonus payments when the work is complete," Minh told her.

"Very well," V'Gera replied. "I would say, 'I wish you luck,' but I doubt you would accept it."

Outside the V'Gera establishment...

"Eight thousand," Minh said, handing the bag of coin to Larea. "Now, we visit L'denna and offer her a deal." Minh smiled, "You asked if her rival had anyone of 'questionable' character - these are local mob-lords, they ALL do, after L'denna, we'll visit the Satra matron... then, we'll orchestrate the gang war - each one will pay us for, effectively, destroying them."

"And in the aftermath, we find Hassan's artifact, give it to him, and leave with a repaired ship, many more Quatloos than we had when we first came here, and hopefully a completely full 'toybox'," Larea mused. "I have to say, I'm impressed, Minh."

"What you do with your slaves is your business, I don't want to know more than I already do about that... but yes, in the essence - each one we visit is a lead on the Artifact - as for aftermaths..." she shrugged. "once we've broken the local girls, their bosses will be interested - and we can use that..."

"Very impressed," Larea remarked. "I'm definitely glad that you managed to come into my employ... though I am rather curious as to why you were 'gifted' into my 'toybox' in the first place."

Minh shrugged. "I lost a bet," she said. "Mind you, when I get back, Jerry's going to lose a lot more than a 'bet'... in the meantime, the manner in which our interests align is thus: someone has been taking my people, dealing them. Jerry's on one end, I want to find the other... then, I shall make them a lesson to others."

"I understand," Larea remarked. It was sort of how she worked, too - if a woman she was working with double-crossed her, they instantly ended up in her 'toybox'... only unlike most of her toys, she might record her 'playtime' and send it to the woman's next of kin, as an object lesson. However, if Minh double-crossed her she doubted she'd do the recording and sending, given what she'd just heard from V'Gera.

"It's study-time," Minh said. "Let's go back to the ship, I need to review these files and determine our next angle."

"Very well," Larea remarked, stealing a quick glance at Minh's figure as they walked to the shuttle they had taken to get down. And she had to mentally shake herself again - she didn't do long-term normal relationships.

The last few times she'd tried had ended up in 'play' sessions that brought Larea much less pleasure than normal... and a fair amount of sorrow, as well...
Originally KiraYamato before the Account Linking - True Join Date August 2008

"Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins." - Maxim 4, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries
Career Officer
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,664
# 5
10-09-2013, 07:01 PM
Minh fascinates me.
"Everybody Chill Out!"

"I'mma cold-blooded killer... Ha ha! get it?"

The Masterverse Timeline / Ten Forward Fanfics
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 226
# 6
10-09-2013, 07:30 PM
Originally Posted by sander233 View Post
Minh fascinates me.
same, though I can picture her singing this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzj_56UoQGo
"It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier."
Starfleet Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 570
# 7
11-06-2013, 01:02 PM
(Sorry for the delay on this one, but here's the latest chapter)

Three years ago...

Larea had just finished chaining up her latest 'toy' - an Orion just like her, only with slightly more bluish skin and jet black hair. "We had such a good thing going, Narta..." she whispered, sorrow coloring her voice.

Narta looked up at her, her ebon eyes pleading with Larea.

"We had such good times playing together when we were younger..." Larea continued as she walked over to the rack of knives she kept. "United by the feelings we experienced when breaking our dolls..."

Narta didn't speak, but her eyes were glistening with unshed tears.

"When I claimed my first ship, you were right there as my second... We would often take turns playing with our 'toys'..."

The tears began falling down Narta's cheeks as Larea selected a short, sharp knife, before walking back over to her.

"I cared for you deeply... I loved you..." Larea admitted. "But then you turned on me, tried to seize the ship for yourself and have me Gelded... why?"

Narta finally spoke. "I... I'd been promised..." she said. "Masaana Di'al promised me a prominent place in her House if I gave her the ship... it... I just couldn't pass it up, but I knew you wouldn't agree..."

"So you chose prestige, and prominence in one of the Trade Houses, over your closest friend?" Larea asked, tears falling from her own cheeks.

Narta nodded, unable to say any more.

"I see..." Larea remarked, her expression hardening. "I guess I know who to send the video of your session to..."

Narta's eyes widened in fear.

"As much as I love you, and would love to just let this pass as if nothing happened..." Larea remarked, ghosting the tip of the knife across Narta's body, "...a message still needs to be sent. But... I doubt this will give me as much pleasure as it normally does..."

Narta's screams echoed throughout the ship, long into the night. However, Larea did not add any screams of pleasure to the mix... If anything, the slaves and crewmembers who passed by Larea's chambers could hear her sobbing, even long after she had finished, and had sunken to her knees in front of Narta's lifeless corpse, torso covered in her former lover's blood...

Present Day, Cruel Desire Meeting Room

"New Plan," Minh announced, laying out the information they were given by their mark the previous night. "You're going to need a boy for this, she's painfully hetero. Her entire organization's only got her, and her daughter. Everything else including the contractors she usually uses is male."

She laid out holos. "Some of the boys look good in a full bikini," Minh added. "So she runs for 'exotic' tastes."

"So... we need... what?" Larea asked, rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

"You need me to draw you a diagram? She likes men - she likes to sleep with them, employ them, and watch them getting it on with other men. Ergo, to compromise her, we need a man with loose morals... VERY loose morals... or we need to rethink our core strategy - this one's smart enough not to trust other women."

"How are you getting that read?" Larea asked, and sat down to examine the information.

"How do Orions seal business?" Minh asked. "You were practically inside the mark's skirts last night. If I didn't know what you liked doing in your playroom, I'd have been thinking you were going to sleep with her. She practically radiated 'sit on my face and ride'm herdgirl' at me all night last night. Half her surface thoughts were about whether we'd be fun in a three-way."

She pointed at their target's holo. "THIS one, she won't react that way. She's got the muscle to own lower downtown, but she's only interested in a small slice of the local trade, relative to the capabilities she's got. Ergo, she likes dudes, and she likes dude-on-dude action."

"How would you know that?" Larea asked.

"Because you're still wondering if you can make me scream while you skin me alive, and what kind of faces you could get me to make with your knife," Minh said. "Don't pretend you weren't. Half the Empaths in the city probably picked up your 'sexy' dreams last night."

Minh opened a packet and took a pill. Larea could see the shakes subside after a few moments.

"That?" she asked.

"Antisiezure meds," Minh told her. "I'm tapering off the pain meds again, Life may be shorter, but that's no reason to turn into an addict. Tapering keeps the same narrow range doses effective for the longest period while I'm in this stage. Based on progression, I've got five years if I don't burn it out with narcotics."

Larea nodded, then turned back to the data. "So... we need a male..." she muttered. "One with rather loose morals, at that... Probably also a smooth talker, so my Security Guards won't be able to help... and I'm loathe to ask Hassan for any more assistance on this matter, given he dislikes me about as much as I dislike him..."

"We're not going to be able to use the seduction plan," Minh said. "So..."
she started typing up something in her PADD.

"What's that?" Larea asked.

"A 'get list', we can't seduce her, so we'll have to scare her...it's not quite as elegant as the normal 'let's you and him fight', but..." she finished typing. "It has the benefit of being visible and clear."

"...Petroleum jelly? Aluminium dust?" Larea looked at the list. "What's this formula?"

"Gasoline," Minh said. "Gunpowder, gasoline, and matches." She smiled, and it looked twisted and freakish. "The things I love have one thing in common - they're cheap... there are always low-rent hoods, unaffiliated and envious. We're going to do some creative recruiting in the areas of town NOT considered 'orionville'... oh buck up, you'll get to kill people - I'm pretty good at picking potentials... but there is one more little thing I need."

"Which is?"

"I need your doctor to do a bit of... surgery for me." Mnh said, "I need to look the part, see? and makeup-white makeup with red lipstick... and it's got to be something I can remove when the scam is done."

"I still don't understand..."

"That's because you didn't grow up in a culture with Halloween." Minh told her, "see about getting the costumes too - they're on frames five and six...this town deserves a better class of criminal, and we're going to to give them one. Acting references are on files nine and eleven."

Larea looked... "The Joker?" she asked.

"Yeah," Minh said, "A human with a classical education will pick up the reference and recognize it as a scam, but I'm betting even Hassan isn't into anything THAT obscure... much less the Joker AND Harley-Quinn." She frowned. "We'll still need a Batman. The con is an old one - the inside/outside con."

"But... the Joker in the reference is male."

"Thus, why I need your surgeon," Minh said, "and something to wrap these with - but that's the easy part."

Larea continued analyzing the references. "So... you'll be the 'Joker', and I'll be 'Harley Quinn', I'm assuming?" she asked.

"You don't want to miss out on the fun, do you?" Minh asked.

"Of course not," Larea replied. "Just trying to make sure I understand everything." She paused. "We could send a shuttle to Drozana, see if anyone there wants to play 'Batman' to us... unless you know anyone?"

Minh looked thoughtful. "As long as the mask is on good, any decent operator with kit can be 'batman', but it helps if we can find someone who really, really hates the local mobs, and can be disposed of afterward," she said. "See, we need our 'Batman' operating first."

"Have them work on disrupting the actions of the local mobs, then swoop in and 'rescue' them all?" Larea mused.

"Batman chews up their street-level, the Joker starts robbing the mobs, then when the mobs group up, offers to rid them of this 'batman'," Minh said. "It's dirtier than just getting them to fight each other, but it's actually a viable strategy...and if our batman dies too early, we just drop another one in his place."

"Hmm..." Larea mused thoughtfully. "Do these roles have to be male?" she asked. "Could they easily be adapted to be played by women?"

"Batman can be adapted... but to do the JOKER, one doesn't wear a mask... or visible armor," Minh said. "I suppose we could run a female version, but half the pranks don't work that way... and at least one of the marks wouldn't buy it because she doesn't trust females. the important part is to get them seeing the 'costume' not the person inside."

"Right," Larea replied as she nodded. "That works... and if we can do a 'Batwoman', that would be good - if we're disposing of them in such a way as they can't tell anyone afterwards, I want to be able to have some fun with the disposal."

"Just remember - they have to be able to pull it off - that kind of talent's valuable," Minh told her. "So it's not cheap. You have a candidate in mind?"

"Hmm... not personally... but I have a decent business relationship with Belan over at Drozana, and he might know someone..."

"Okay, you wrangle up our batman, or batwoman, I'm going to spend a few days building the Joker's 'organization' around town - finding freelancers and small-timers who want to score. Great thing about those, is that done correctly I'll be taking some dangerous criminals off the necks of the commoners. During this 'prep phase', I'll be representing 'Mister J' out in humantown and around the Romulan settlements, you score our 'Batwoman', we'll put her into operation before 'Joker' starts peeling the local mobs. Joker ALWAYS appears AFTER Batman in the stories. Oh, and next time, maybe we'll just shortcut to the Marquis de Carabas."

"Possibly," Larea remarked. "And you'll need to tell me about the 'Marquis de Carabas' later."

The two then left the meeting room, Minh to return to the surface of Nimbus III, and Larea to head to the comm station to open a channel to Belan over at Drozana.
Originally KiraYamato before the Account Linking - True Join Date August 2008

"Close Air Support covereth a multitude of sins." - Maxim 4, The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries

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