Talia stood in place as the door shut behind her before sucking in a deep breath and letting it back out in a sad sigh. The entire upcoming experience shook the experienced warrior to the core, and she found herself shaking in fear for one of the few times in her life. What would it be like to be sexually assaulted, to have someone forcibly take what was rightfully hers?
The quarters was half light, shadows covering most of the area, which lead the processor to kick her visual acuity up a couple notches. Everything came into focus and she raised an eyebrow while trying to get the shaking under control. Classical far eastern paintings, copies no doubt, hung on the walls, giving the bamboo furniture an extra pop that it would’ve lacked otherwise.
Two items caught her attention as she scanned the room, and both caused her to smile slightly. A control panel, skillfully hidden within a table, was one and a small pistol sitting within another drawer in a second table was the other. Interesting that the Captain would keep both the controls to kill the slaves and a personal weapon in his quarters. Most slavers, she thought, kept the controls on the bridge where they could eliminate cargo if boarded.
I guess this guy’s different.
While knowing both the control and gun were within reach soothed her mind a bit, it still didn’t prevent what was going to happen. Was finding the conduit for the slaves worth being raped? The question raged in her mind as she started to move deeper into the captain’s quarters.
It wouldn’t take much for her to capture, or even kill, the man, but then their chance at following the slave trail would die. Yet, in twenty thousand years of living, no one had attempted to do what he wanted and the prospect terrified her. Yeah, there’d been times when a drunk tried to go too far in the effort to get into her pants, but none of that had been carried out with malice. This, this however, would be carried out with forethought and a desire by a man to get his kicks off a defenseless woman.
She watched the Captain emerge from the kitchen and a large shiver racked her body. The very sight of the man, and what he wanted, made Talia want to throw up, and she swallowed bile. Decision time. Would they go on, or stop right there?
I can get control of his ability to kill the slaves. That could give Steven enough time to cripple the ship to keep it from moving. But…it would also would end my chance to reach anyone higher then whoever’s awaiting this delivery.
Finding the truth, she thought, just wasn’t worth being raped-even if she could completely block everything out. The psychological scarring of what would happen wouldn’t go away anytime soon, and Talia didn’t want to carry its weight around with the rest of the guilt and pain twenty thousand years of living created. No, there had to be a different way available to use to accomplish the goal.
The man approached and motioned to a chair and offered her a glass. “Sit down, champagne?”
She shook her head. “Drinking never was my thing.”
He sipped at it. “Surprising. Most artists are party hounds.”
“I never saw the point in it.”
“What a shame.”
She folded her arms and then crossed her legs. “Nice uniform. Alliance Fleet, right?”
He raised both eyebrows. “You’re a very knowledgeable young woman.”
“How does a young artist know anything about Fleet?”
“I’ve had a few one nighters with sailors and marines.”
“You can say that.”
“Do you know why you’re here?”
“You’re rather aggressive for someone in your position.”
Talia snorted. “Rape comes easy for you doesn’t it? What’s wrong? Too many people turn you down? Tell me, Captain, what does it take to make a Fleet officer resort to raping young women for his kicks?”
The Captain sighed and then rubbed his forehead. “You’re going to make this difficult, aren’t you? Keep it up and I’ll just drug you and you’ll be able see and feel everything but not be able to move a muscle.”
She chuckled, a cold humorless sound that made the Captain look her in the eyes. Was that supposed to scare her? A weak threat? “Captain, I’m twenty thousand years old, and never been raped-even in Creoth or Sladen hands-and I’ll be damned if you’re going to be the one who does.”
He shook his head. “You’re one crazy girl, no wonder you went into art.”
“You still haven’t put two plus two together, or…” She leaned forwards in the chair. “You don’t know who I am, do you?” She chuckled. “My name is Talia,” Talia looked at the table where the gun was hidden. “De’Zahna, and if I were you, I wouldn’t try to reach that weapon. It won’t be pleasant if you do.”
His eyes grew wide and on instinct the Captain leapt up, his hand going for the drawer. Talia leapt to her feet, the move lightning fast, and caught his right arm in her grasp.
She clicked her tongue. Moron. “What is it about you humans? Hard of hearing??”
The Captain’s eyes grew wide as she started to squeeze his wrist in her hand. He cried out and tried to pull his arm free with his open hand, but she continued to increase the pressure. His cries became borderline screams as the bones snapped under Talia’s inhuman strength.
She grabbed his tunic, lifted him off the deck and then threw him onto the couch. “This sort of…unpleasantness…can easily be avoided if people learned to listen when I’m speaking.”
He held his wrist, eyes burning like coals, and stared at her. “What do you want?”
Talia walked over and flipped the switch to open the hidden control panel. “I want to know who you’re selling these slaves to. Ah, here we go.” She pulled the wires out of the controls that allowed the Captain to kill the slaves. “And why.”
“I only know who takes them off my hand and pays me.”
She crossed the room, opened the drawer and pulled the Sig out. “And…”
“He’s some crablike species. Calls himself Kleno Trube.”
Talia shook her head as she sat down, crossed her legs, and kept the pistol pointed at him. “Captain…you’ve gotten yourself in bed with a Mector, eh? Filthy species. They specialize in smuggling slaves, drugs, anything that a civilized society wants to keep out.”
“They pay well.”
“Oh they do that, at least while you’re useful to them. Once a person’s no longer of use, they either have them killed or let the authorities catch up with them.”