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(18ASP- 2419) Empty Win (Running Part 2) PG-13
Gen was a remarkably successful pirate; he was among the few who knew when Vax and Jasen would strike. He even managed to rebuild his enterprise from nothing and reframe a profitable existence under competent commanders. Some stories hinted that Gen might have been a practical and loyal Klingon officer for a time.  The temptation of an empire in chaos would always lure the Orion out of a soldier.  He finally showed his convictions' strength when he was charged with delivering one-hundred and twenty bars of Latinum to a trade summit; he killed his men and stole the ship.   He made off with the money setting himself up with a crew who feared him in an unsuspecting system he could pillage.
         Today he was putting on weight and looked like he was ready to retire in luxury in this sleepy city on a lonely jungle world. He was just under 2 meters in height, having thick and enviable black hair with a smooth goatee that gave him a refined and practiced look.  His generosity won him support among the other criminal elements and some level of ignorance from the local patrols.   He wasn’t doing anything they could prove, so he was left alone to enjoy his wine, women, and games.

         Shavi walked through the downpour largely absent of attention. The rain beat down over her helmet and shoulders; the water-resistance of her armor kept her core dry, but she felt miserable in the cold collection of mist, and the heavy patter of rain against the resilient clothing was beginning to give her a headache.  The armor was designed to resist enemy weapons fire, not the lament of mother nature. That was a fight little could defend against as each step lent more to an unavoidable leak past the exterior armor's protection.
         The soldier this suit was made for might have been able to ignore the collection of moisture under their armor; she was not so ignorant of its discomforts.   After twenty minutes in the storm, the inside of her legs and torso were saturated with layers of backsplash, pooling, and small gaps in the armor, the likes of which only this torrent of rain could likely find.

         She had an image and tactical information on her target shimmering across the HUD that the helmet provided.  Her specialty was non-descript kills, especially in matters of political intrigue and guile.   As she passed into the center of town, passing the tavern “Ta Aeher,” she remembered the words well; it meant the state of peace.
         The lively music from inside the sizeable warm tavern barely traveled more than a meter into the thick driving rain. As she approached, memories of the laughter and a well-lived past with her sister welled up in her mind.  She wanted to be done with the chase if only to have what others did, but the darker aspects of her past and her current reality gave no quarter of peace. The wanderlust was always stronger than she was.
         She walked into the tavern with wet well-fashioned boots pooling excess water on the floor of the kempt and comfortable inn.  She was greeted by an older man appearing about sixty years of age, his hair was white, and his age was beginning to wrinkle across a weathered but pleasant Romulan face. His smile was kind, and his brown eyes were warm and inviting.  He looked like at one time in his life, he could have held his own in a fight, but years of civility left him happily negligent of his warrior training, and he seemed the better for it.   Shavi was nearly the same age; though her fitness and enhancements would never hint a day over thirty, she felt he was warm and far more comfortable in his skin than she was in hers.  Old eyes glistened, wishing she could have the peace the old man seemed to revel in was a temptation she did want, but she was still chasing something, or running from something bigger.

         A man near the bar welcomed her, and she returned the pleasantries as she smiled through her disguise. He could see her smooth red lips and smiled in return to the young woman showing Shavi to a table six or so meters from the game. She dropped a slip of latinum on the table and looked up at the kindly tavernkeeper.

        “Stew, and perhaps a towel.” She grinned, chuckling lightly as he returned a gentle laugh in return, nodding to her and retreating to the replicator behind the bar for some ale and warm stew.

        While she waited, she watched the game.  She had played before, and she had gotten quite good at it at one point in time, but Ferengi were tiring, and they gave up quickly when she purposefully teased their senses, distracting them while they played.  There was no definitive way to prove an Orion woman was cheating without testing her blood to detect her unique scent. The majority of Orion women had little control over their gift, so it was difficult to determine a player's aptitude based purely on their species.
         The Tavernkeeper returned with the stew and some pale blue ale, it wasn’t as strong and typical Romulan ale, but it kept even Klingons well lubed in short order.  Shavi smiled and the tavern and dropped another slip into his hand as he was grateful for the tip.  Traditionally most higher-level acquisitions used slips, bars, or bricks of Latinum, but smaller denominations were used for the more inexpensive needs of a person.  Pieces of eight were the standard below a slip; a set of silver coins would indicate one-eighth of a slip, while it wouldn’t buy much on a space station work in the fields often required paying for water or for the standard supplies one would encounter in a day if you worked for someone else. Pieces of eight translated to children often as payment for chores or mild games of chance.  Meals and the like were the most inexpensive products to barter for, given their prevalence and ease of preparation. Home-cooked meals were a different story, but replicator food was plentiful and fair enough, and the cost was typically one to two eights.  Shavi had given him two slips and gave the strong impression she did not want change.
         He left some fresh home-baked bread and fresh butter on the table for her and thanked her for her generosity. She smiled again under the helmet and pulled it from her head as she prepared to enjoy the meal.

         Her red and blue hair was straightened, and longer than the holovids would have suggested.  It splayed over her shoulders like a waterfall of color, highlighting every positive aspect of her beautiful face.  Her green skin and delicate features gave resonant contrast to the bone structure and strength in her face; she knew how good she looked, which was part of the problem.   It was helpful that her hair color choice had caught on among some women in the city and the sector at large.   She could more easily fit in without having to seclude herself entirely.  Her helmet’s holo emitter gave her face a more familiar appearance.  She was still beautiful but less recognizable than her holographs.  She gave herself less definition to her cheeks, making her cheekbones droop slightly, and she aged herself to look more like her natural age.  Her disguise wouldn’t fool the keen-eyed observer, but a lazy, quiet night would grant her the extra anonymity she was hoping for. While at the same time, she could consciously fit in with the environment by listening instead of acting.

          Gen was smart for an Orion.  He knew what it meant when an Orion woman traveled alone. So when he noticed the striking woman eating by herself, the green tint of her skin and sharp contrasting hair made his senses tingle with possibilities.  She was wearing the band of Lysiv’ on loan to Ge’kor Son of Haran, the Third Officer to General Fuk’or.  Ordinarily, she would be traveling with guards and potentially a band of slaves herself. Still, she was alone, and this was an opportunity that would scarcely come again in a lifetime.

          On paper, men controlled the businesses, the trade lanes, the military, and the people. In reality, they were just as susceptible to an Orion woman's wiles as most of the species in the beta quadrant. Women ran the Orion syndicate, the slave trade, and most importantly, the houses that governed those organizations.  Shavi had been trained as a slave but not in the traditional sense.  Once she was forced into service to the Federation, she learned pheromone control from one of the other slaves, a “Daughter of Ru’Kani,” one of the pre-eminent masters of the pheromone arts. 
It was said that Ru’kani, the first Matron of the Orion slave academy, could kill any man or woman with a look.  Her careful gaze meant nearly nothing but her ability to control the mind of her victims was a treasured secret mostly unknown to this day.  Few Orions and even fewer outlanders are aware this subculture existed, and even those who hated the Orions and knew of their ways either didn’t live long enough to share their secrets or kept them as a wilful homage to Ru’kani. The superstition was that she was so powerful, she could kill you from her grave. 
Gen knew Orion women were among the most prized slaves in the galaxy, they were critical to negotiations, and they were often far more useful than a phaser in tense situations.   Gen had known one who was an interrogator; she made Romulan agents look like hapless children.

          Very few Orion women were unowned; this was partially by design.  They were expensive to maintain, in part because they were extraordinarily animalistic.  They slept in cages when they weren’t working, not out of punishment but, on the off chance a girl took offense to something minor and lost control of themselves, manslaughter wasn’t uncommon before they calmed down.   Additionally, Orion women were polyamorous. They often preferred each other's company than those of their clientele and would often fight to remain with other slaves if given free access to each other.   Proving yet again, you could never tame an Orion woman entirely; they simply couldn’t be trusted without significant oversight.
         Women on their own were rare and even more untrusted than the men. Without an armlet or crown of ownership, they were often captured or driven off from trade ports.  The fact this woman was alone and didn’t appear to be waiting for someone was at the very least unusual and more than a little suspicious.   Even if a woman were owned and wore the proper regalia if they were not close to their master or someone of the house, the girl was either exceptionally well trained and they were meeting a client, or they were on the run, and someone was chasing them.   

          Two exceptions were rarer than a pool filled with latinum, and they were legendary.  They could be the leader of a house that had needed to involve themselves in something personally, or they were an ex-pat, a woman who had gained her freedom and earned her way in the galaxy.
Gen knew of Shavi, of course; he knew she was a devastatingly powerful slave girl of the Gorn Captain Thraak. Generations of slavers trained her; he had never seen a more capable fighter in all of his time in the corps or his time raiding.  Shavi could have pulled off the independent trader look, but she loved her master and would never stray off on her own.
          As Gen watched the woman eat, he motioned for his Lieutenant. A burly Jem’hadar named Freman Second came, bent to listen, and nodded to what Gen was whispering.  The Lieutenant walked obediently to the short Romulan, emotionlessly relaying the information he was given in a whisper, and returned to his master without waiting for recognition.
          The man at the bar nodded and lifted an artisanal bottle filled with amber and blue liqueur inside. Every movement of the bottle caused black reactions to bloom and fade between the two colors.  The Tavernkeeper poured a small tumbler halfway with the expensive alcohol as the sound of ringing crystal echoed lightly off the side of the glass when the fluid collected at the bottom.
He carried to Shavi’s table as an iridescent mist gathered near the surface of the glass.  Placing it down in front of her, he smiled and spoke.
“Master Gen Rian would like you to enjoy this with his compliments, and if the desire compels you, he would have the pleasure of your company at his table.” The Tavernkeeper replied with a smile, never leaving his lips.

          Shavi smiled and nodded, lifting the glass and smiling with a nod to Gen.  She moved the glass to her nose and could smell the faint scent of Julanberry, an expensive treat from the Risian homeworld.  The drink itself tasted like a cold winter evening, warm in front of the fire.  The flavor was coating her tongue in the sensation of chill, then a flood of warmth accented with the faint scent of fire embers in the air the longer she savored the taste.   Shavi had experienced something similar to the drink before; it was initially a synthahol blend created in the Federation.  A scientist paired the olfactory and taste centers of the brain into drinking experiences. This variety was called ‘Embers on a winter evening.’  The drink in her hand added Romulan ale, isolating it from the synthahol blend to give the unique cocktail an experience all its own.

           She finished her drink and savored the flavor descending her delicate throat. Privately she envisioned her target to be arrogant and mindless, as many Orions were.  However, Gen Rian was cautious, slightly paranoid, and knew how to keep those around him happy.  A cursory tactical evaluation of the tavern told Shavi that other than the Jem’Hadar and a few crewmen around him, Gen was what he appeared to be, a retired smuggler.  It didn’t excuse what he had done, and it wouldn't slow her blade when the time came, but there wasn’t anything in the air that made Shavi nervous or apprehensive about her plans.

            She stood and swept her hair out of her face, pulling it back into a ponytail as she looked over at Gen and his table. She paused a moment to remove the thick over armor from her shoulders. Now that she wasn’t dripping from the rain, it served little purpose.  The stocky warrior garb lay against her seat as she revealed the uniform that had won her so much favor with the Klingons.  It was hard not to stare; her bare midriff and laced v-neck crop top clung to her like a second skin while her low riding leather leggings rose and fell with each step exposing the top of her hips and navel.  Slim knee-high boots hugged her legs with the last hints of water still dripping down the sides.
             Gen was a little nervous, given the magnanimity of seeing an Orion slave on her own was a special occasion, to be sure. Just his presence with her could gain significant support in future dealings.  As she approached the table, it quieted down, and Gen’s group separated to give her space to join them.  She sat without ceremony, never taking her eyes off of Gen, though all eyes were undoubtedly on her.

             Gen straightened his tunic and sat more upright in his chair.

“I am happy you chose to join us. No one deserved to be alone on such an inhospitable night.” he started.

             “My plans fell through, Lord Rian. I didn’t have an opportunity to make it back to my ship to beat the storm. This inn seemed a fair stay of the downpour.” She replied, implying the awareness of the company someone of her station kept and how she should be acting before such an audience.
              He lifted the last few tiles of his claim in the game she interrupted, he was set to walk away with two bars and seventeen slips of latinum, but a single night with this girl would have cost him triple that amount.
              The slave trade was not as chaotic as the naysayers claimed.  Training, breeding, and generations of expertise went into every person the High houses put on the market.  The house of Lysiv’ was considered one of the best training breeders in the quadrant. Slaves were often treated better than masters because merely losing them would cost more than most could afford in a lifetime. 

              Gen had bought and sold typical commoners, ordinary people without training to fill a need in some backwater.  There was money in it, and it had been a significant source of his wealth, but years of hard work and careful dealings couldn’t match a breeding line of even modest achievement. Gen was awestruck because the girl in front of him was worth more than his entire operation, an attribute the girl was acutely aware of, or so the illusion appeared to show.

“May I ask what your plans may have entailed? Perhaps we can help facilitate your needs?” He offered.  “We don’t have much, but we can surely make your stay comfortable.” He responded as the stress hormone cortisol built up in his bloodstream.  He knew properly trained slaves, did not use communicators or transporters. Their visits were supposed to be pre-arranged, and in adherence to ancient custom, a girl would submit herself before her charge as others had done for millennia.

              Offending the girl could bring the weight of her master down on top of him.  The house sigil of the third represented more than forty crews of influence,  enough to make his life short and painful regardless of his protection, for even a cursory insult of his property.

              Behind the act, Shavi was known as ‘grub-born.’ Slavers had trained her, assassins taught how to kill and control the intricacies of her pheromones.  Through careful negotiations, Maru, Thraak, and others enrolled her into these slave academies, where she earned several levels of prestige in esteemed houses. Still, she wasn’t born a slave; her family were simple colonists escaping a hard and uncaring universe.
              When the Federation “rescued her family,” she was under the impression life would be the same as most Federation citizens. It wasn’t until she was thrust into the darker side of the Federation that she realized life was about perception, and nothing was real unless it was more valuable than a lie.   She could act the part of a slave princess, but she had no lineage of servitude, so if Gen shot her and left her for dead, there would be retribution, but not because of her presumed station.
              “Your consideration is well received.” She smiled and nodded her head to him. “I am seeking to entreat an opportunity with Mayor Therox’ Former Premier of the colonization efforts in greater Heia,” she responded, knowing Gen had a personal rivalry going with the former governor. “I will ensure your hospitality is well regarded in the summation of my report.” Her eyes glittered with a practiced level of catching the light in just such a way as to give special attention to her facial features.
             Gen was flustered.  If she was asked to meet with the mayor, it was feasible that a military agreement might be arranged to rid the city and the surrounding inhabitants of the private mercenary components that considered this planet still their domain, but he hid his discontent well. 

“I will contact the mayor at his home,” Gen quickly replied.   “His office is rarely open at this hour, and it is unlikely he is prepared to discuss official business in his private residence,” Gen responded with a practiced sense of a false appreciation for his rivals. “Romulan protocols are so laced with eccentricities it’s a marvel they get anything done!” He joked, watching her reactions to gauge his own.

             “Your continued expression of concern for my convenience is gratefully enjoyed and appreciably noted in the optional conditions of my directives for the impressions laid upon me.” Practiced notes of favor in her musical voice further enhanced her hold over him as she smiled and kept emerald eyes transfixed in his, as her control was slowly pervading his senses to more readily accept her story.  A Klingon or Ferengi would already be drooling, but a kinsmen had some resistance to her appreciations.

              He smiled broadly at her response and visibly calmed himself across from her. He motioned for his Lieutenant to come closer as he whispered something to him much the way he did earlier; the sizable Jem’hadar nodded and left towards a less populated area of the tavern, making a call assumably to the mayor’s home arranging the meeting.

“Done, I’ve arranged for you to meet with the mayor in the morning,” He bragged.  “Until then, I would be honored to show you the hospitality of Skeme, as my guest in the very lodging you found your way into,” Orion men were trained to be acceptable to most species in close proximity, using doublespeak to say different things to disparate parties based on the audience.  In this instance, he was attempting to gild his niceties upon her.  In one part, to convey his hospitality and accommodation to the mayor.  On another, he was inferring his viability as a trading partner.   “May I refill your drink, and we can discuss the practicality of Orions?” Gen jested.

             She simply nodded as her smile warmed further, sending shivers through his body.

             Shavi privately knew High Praetor Vax’s ambitions led her to exterminate nearly all of the pirate guild that once called Dorados home.  More than six thousand individual engagements in eight years reduced a once-formidable criminal occupation to a sparse disorganized collective of raiders and saboteurs; something Vax was tirelessly trying to finalize. 

             Gen was one of the lucky survivors of a notable battle in the Beta Dorados system; he was a pirate commander in charge of his own cutpurse fighters' squadron.  He led the first advance against one of the supply and support fleets, preparing Hoq’ia prime for colonization, one of the same fleets that eventually colonized Cerim IV.   The battle seemed one-sided in favor of the pirate fleet, but Vax had laid an ambush for just such an opportunity.  Four scimitar class heavy dreadnought cruisers were cloaked around the main command ship of the Romulan fleet.  Two carriers with twenty-four fighters each patrolled alongside the heavy cruisers waiting for deployment. The six capital ships were overkill for this kind of operation as they alone could have invaded a star system decimating a modest to reinforced defense profile. 
             The battle was over in a matter of minutes; with little chance to escape, Gen opened fire on his own vessels to use the chaos as an opportunity to go to warp.  Vax was a brilliant strategist, but she did not assume anyone would open fire on their allies simply to save their skin.  Vax hated betrayal, but it was not a reason to give chase.  Gen was a renegade, but anyone who knew the truth was dead or in prison, so his cowardice was not well known.  The mayor was the commander of the support fleet; it was only a matter of time before he realized who the pirate-lord in his town was, and if that became public knowledge, everything Gen had would quickly disappear.
             Slaves were explicitly trained to read the room and respond accordingly. Shavi immersed herself in the role if for no other reason than to provide a false sense of calm with the reinforcements Gen had surrounded himself with.  Two hours passed, with pleasant conversation passing back and forth. She invented a past of being a harem girl for ten years before entering the academy.  Her presumed life outside of instruction was closer to that of a tomboy; getting drunk and getting into trouble was her true passion.  Being a slave was the hand she had been dealt, so living it to the best of her ability was something she would always hold in the highest regard.

              By 0200, most of Gen’s men went to their rooms. Only Fremen Second remained stolid and at his post.  Gen was quite enamored at this point; the combination of ale and manipulation had made him quite pliable and suggestible. 

              “One would think that you have responsibilities on the morrow, and I am quite certain I do, but I do have the pleasure of offering my services for the evening.” She let her words linger in the air.

His attention was peaked. “How so?” he seemed nervous even to ask.

               “It is custom to show thanks to a welcome host,” she began. “You have offered lodging, entertainment, and security this evening.” Shavi gestured to the Jem’hadar still at attention nearby.  “A girl such as myself is empowered to use “the rite of ascension:”  A token of payment for the willing host.”

The ale glazed his eyes, but he seemed interested if not eager to know more. “I’ve not heard of this rite before?”

                She smiled and stood stretching and catching his attention on her every curve. “Come, I will show you.” She winked and offered a hand. “It’s likely not something you will experience again.” She nodded as he began to reach out his hand.

                Fremen moved to stop their hands from meeting.

“My Lord, this woman is not familiar to you, and her intentions are unclear.” Fremen Protested. “I insist you require her to explain the rite within your sphere of protection.” He glowered at the girl. It was at that moment that Shavi realized her pheromones did not affect the Jem’hadar physiology, potentially complicating things.

“Fremen, “ he slurred slightly. “You don’t have women where you come from,” He chided his lieutenant. “You look out for the things you do understand, and let me deal with the things you don’t.” He stood with her help and clapped his guard on the left shoulder.  “It’s always worked out for us in the past.” He took a final drink of ale and turned to his trusted friend. “I’ll be careful with the seventy-kilogram dangerous animal here.” His words sobered up a little while he spoke with his confidant. “You’re a good friend. Take the rest of the night off.” He clapped his shoulder again as he was led toward Gen’s room.

              Fremen seemed conflicted, but he understood the order and nodded, making his way out into the rain without another word.

              Once the door closed to Gen’s room, he stood with his heart breathing faster in expectation of what he thought was to come.

              Shavi placed a smooth hand on the middle of his chest and used her martial discipline to push him forcibly back towards his bed much more powerfully than he would have assumed she was capable. The room was neat and well kept. Trophies and stacked bounties prizes lined the walls and tables of the suite.  Shavi noticed dozens of datapads strewn about a desk in a cluttered fashion, but she was sure Gen knew every word on them.  The smell of rose and lavender scantly scented the air; Shavi found it interesting that a kinsman would prefer federation fragrances rather than more local varieties.  The bedroom was back behind a black curtain made of spider silk harvested from some extinct species making it all the more valuable as the exact molecular structure couldn’t be replicated. The warm wooden floors muted the feeling of cold the driving rain blanketed the inn with, and to his eyes, the company set his loins on fire.

              “The rite of ascension is a traditional way of showing thanks to those that have engendered a positive mark in the world around them.” Her eyes met his as his breathing got heavier unable to take his attention off of her lips and body. “Often, leaders have a difficult time sleeping, so much lingers in their minds, and the stress can do real physical damage if not attended to effectively.” She moved slowly towards him, exaggerating her hips with each step. “Some would say it can even cause premature death.” She was close enough for him to reach as he made a move to paw at her breasts and grab at her waist. She deftly deflected his hands and used the movement to encourage his unsteady gait to stumble closer to his bed. “The technique is said to offer complete release for the leader, but for a lesser man, it can cause their heart to stop, their blood to boil, or even their mind to leave them.” She smiled, moving close enough for him to touch again.
“That sounds like a complicated process. It must have taken you years to learn.” He stammered, finally losing his footing and falling back on his luxurious bed. He couldn’t take his eyes off of her as her pheromones had taken all of his resistance away from him.
              “Indeed.  You are worth the training, are you not?” She replied huskily as her pink tongue lingered across her lips.

              She moved where his knees hung off the base of the bed and placed a shapely thigh between his legs, brushing her knee against his manhood and grinning lecherously.  She leaned back and lifted her arms above her head as though she was reaching back to reach the clasp on the crop top, keeping her naked torso from spilling out.  She did not release the clip. She returned with a small dancer's knife in her hand, the blade glimmering with a red-stained sheen off the metal. He immediately tried to back away, but her leg flexed, and locked his lower body against the edge of the bed, preventing any movement away from her.  She brought the razor-sharp blade down along each pant leg, as the blade passed through the expensive material with little if any resistance, splitting the fabric but leaving no damage to the skin underneath.  She flipped the blade around each finger, the deadly crest of the metal blurring from finger to finger. The edge moved across each toggle of his tunic, faster than he could react, and split the fabric cleanly in two, exposing his entire chest.  Not a single wound marred his flesh even as the blade moved faster than he was able to track.

            “Legends say that those who ascend are without fear and remorse.” He could notice her face shimmering as though some unseen light was reflecting off of her, and then her face changed entirely. He instantly knew the look of Shavi and tried more urgently to get away, but her grip over his upper legs and low torso made any escape all but impossible.

“Shavi! Whatever it is, I-“ Shavi cut him off with the base of the knife coming to rest microns from his throat as she limbed over him, her hot body resonating against his, the warm leather of her leggings gripping both sides of his waist while her knees pinned his arms.

              “I have issues thinking you are one of those legends, Gen.” she was inspecting the knife as imperceptible movements painted thin strips of golden blood along his left common carotid and subclavian arteries.  “You played a game with people’s lives and destroyed the potential of so many more for greed.” She glowered down at him. The flood of fear hormones made it impossible for him to speak or call for help. “You killed your subordinates to save yourself.” She traced the line of his subclavian artery to his aortic arch letting the tip rest against his skin, the molecular steel sinking two millimeters into his skin with just the weight of the incredibly light knife. “You sold the families of those that trusted you so you could cheat your crewmates, and you gained nothing but a hole in the wall hoping no one would discover the truth.” She sneered and pulled the blade away from his chest.  “I’d say this is a long time coming, but I’ve been feeling like you and I are far too much alike for me to ignore.” Her gaze softened as she looked down at him.  “If I continue with this life, I will be no better than the fiends I murder.”

He struggled against her posture, hoping he might gain some leverage to get away, flailing his legs back and forth, trying to find some hold he could push against.

              She smirked, looking down at him. “I don’t think you’ve shown me the error of my ways, Gen, but you might have shown me the dark path I am following.” She chuckled lightly.  “This won’t make me any happier, but I might mirror your sad circumstances if I continue.” The blade seemed to disappear in her hand as she placed her strong yet incredibly soft hands on either side of her face. “I’m not an irredeemable monster yet, Gen.” she flexed her thighs over his waist, pressing against both sides of his diaphragm, preventing him from taking in a breathe.   “That is the only reason you are still breathing.” She held her pose until his eyes began rolling back into his head and then worked her way back off of his body, turning her back to him as she seemed to be lost in thought.

               The dizziness finally subsided as he was recovering from a grey out. He lifted his head to see her back nearly two meters from him as he fumbled for something he might be able to use as a weapon.  Gen found his way into a split in his mattress where he kept a spare disruptor.
“Sha-“ He started as Shavi spun quickly around to released her dancer’s knife with exhaustively trained expertise with enough force to pass through his forehead.   It sunk into his brain matter to the hilt of the masterfully fashioned blade as the seeping of blood quickly covered his face in a pale amber sheet of blood.  His mouth was still open as he collapsed against the bed with the disruptor dropping the floor next to the mattress.

              “I might be redeemable, Cousin, but you aren’t.” She left the blade in his head and touched a pad on her synthetic arm as she and her armor both transported simultaneously to her cloaked ship, still passively mimicking the rainfall around its gull-like appearance hidden by technology.

              Outside the ship in the dead of night, she could see the Jem’hadar from the border to the city looking directly at her, he certainly couldn’t see it, but somehow he knew the ship was there and she had completed her task.

              Her HUD recorded Gen’s last moments. She relayed them through subspace to her client and walked to the console of the fighter.  The ship rose in the rain silently, the rain shifting ever so slightly in the downpour to give a pale outline of the craft before it was vaulting skyward through the clouds.

              The fighter entered into space just as one of Vax’s patrols warped into the area. The AFS Dauntless was still in orbit, and it appeared that their life had hung in stasis while she was completing her task.  The cloaked fighter closed in over the south pole of the planet with the KCS Amarie was in geosynchronous lock with the planet. 

               “Amarie, this is Nodama. Open port bay doors and prepare to receive” she tapped the comm as the port shuttle bay opened silently in the dead of space.  Shavi dropped her cloak eleven meters off the ship's exterior and landed the dark craft just on the other side of the forcefield.
“Glad to have you back, Captain,” her first officer Amin Vatik chirped over the intercom.

                “You still have command, Amin. I need to talk to Jada. Set heading for the defense monitoring station Alpha. Thraak is refitting the Aghamas. See if you can lend him a hand. ”

“Roger that, Captain.” The Amarie engaged at quarter impulse the 3 million kilometers to the defense station.

                Shavi took a shower and dressed in a silk robe before collapsing on her bed, staring out the window at the bleakness of space.  It was offset by the blast of refracted light coming off the planet and the defense station so close to the ship.  Typically she got herself wasted after a successful kill, but this time she simply stared into space, slightly golden tears forming in her eyes.  Before long, she was weeping, covering her face with her hands, reveling in the sensation of her cropped nails against her skin digging gently into it as the pressure someone made her feel alive and real.  

                She tapped the intercom next to the bed as a view screen manifested in the air above her. A young face popped into view and laughed. It was Jada’s daughter Jetyl.

“Hi, aunt Shavi!” The little voice shouted into the comm. “Did I scare you?” Little Jetyle giggled as her innocent face stared back at her aunt, her face far too close to the screen.  She had brown hair, like her mother, and sculpted pointed ears like Pauc, green eyes and smooth, unblemished tan skin beamed off the little girl who had only ever known happiness.

                “Terrified…” Shavi replied with a giggle.  “Is mom around?”

“Da is in the garden and, mom is yelling at two guys in her office,” Jetyl said innocently enough. “I’ll go get her.” The little girl, about eight years old, wandered down the hall of the well-adorned home with the comm pad swinging back and forth, bouncing against her hip as she walked. It gave Shavi some vertigo until she settled herself.

“I don’t give a pataq! Do whatever you have to do to get those borders pushed back-“ Shavi could hear through the wall of the office until Jetyl walked in unannounced.

“Mom, your sister’s on the padd!” Jetyl yelled, unnecessarily loudly while standing right next to her mother.

“Thank you, honey, “ Jada looked at the view screen to the two commanders reporting to her. “We’re not done.  Natyl out.” She grimaced as she turned off the office screen.  She looked down to see her sister with her golden tears shimmering across her face. Jada’s face cooled and showed concern. “What’s wrong?”

             Shavi sniffled loudly into a clump of tissues. “You were right, Jay. I’m coming home…”
             Jada simply smiled and nodded into the datapad of her daughter’s. “I’ll be here. “ she replied somberly.
Great character development! I really enjoyed listening/reading/watching Shavi and Gen and her self-revelation. I don't want to spoil this for anyone else, but this is one of your best efforts!!!!
Everyone - go read this!

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