Captain Bone sat in the captain's chair of a stolen Rupan stinger, waiting for his prey to come out of hyperspace. Right on schedule they arrived--a Torvan consular ship escorted by four dreadnoughts, on its way to Rupa IV to negotiate an alliance against the Terrans. Being Terran himself, the Captain was not about to allow this.
"Disengage the cloak and move us into attack position." he said.
"Aye, Captain." was the reply. The console lights brightened noticeably as the power-drain from the cloaking device stopped.
"Charge the null-ray."
"Fire!" At this command, a robin's-egg blue beam lanced forward, striking the consular ship. Immediately, all the lights went out, and the ship came to a dead stop.
"The dreadnoughts are coming into attack position themselves." the tactical officer informed him.
"Evasive maneuvers, recharge the null-ray."
"You may fire when ready." It took a minute in the midst of the evasions for a clean shot to be lined up, but the lead dreadnought went dark when struck amidships by the null-ray. Three minutes later, the second and third dreadnoughts had gone black as well. The last one launched several escape pods while the main ship tried to cover them. The stinger evaded the weapons fire easily and obliterated all the pods but one before returning its attention to the final dreadnought.
One witness was all they needed. Once the pod was in hyperspace, Bone ordered the dreadnought nullified. This time, it took a lot more effort to get a clean shot, as the dreadnought, enraged at their firing upon the escape pods, had begun pelting them with everything it had.
"Damage report." Bone ordered.
"Good thing it's a rental." replied the engineer. "We really pissed that last dreadnought off."
"Do we still have our communicator?"
"Then signal the Hubris and let them know it's time to pick up our new toys."
Senator An'nala floated in a posture similar to the Terran "lotus position," using meditation techniques to conserve air. The crew was doing the same. The power cells had been completely neutralized by the attackers' null-ray, so there was nothing else they could do. It would take weeks for the residual energies of the null-ray to wear off so that a charge would even stick. Her personal android floated limply nearby, occasionally bumping into something. It was a pity; he'd been well-programmed for providing sexual pleasure. In many ways, he was better than a real man.
She heard the sound of a teleporter being activated, and opened her eyes. Suddenly, she was alone except for the female ensign named An'dera and the inert android. An'dera somersaulted to a porthole and gasped. An'nala joined her, and repeated the gasp when she caught sight of the Torvan males floating outside without space suits.
"Pirates." An'dera whispered, flicking her leaf-shaped ears twice--a gesture to ward off misfortune.
"Terran pirates." An'nala said, pointing to the ship pulling up alongside. "The Rupan stinger was a ruse!" An'dera drew her boot knife.
"Senator, I would die before I let them use me for their pleasure, but the right is yours first." She extended the knife, handle first. An'nala accepted the weapon and turned it in her hand.
"Thank you, Ensign. I shall remember you in the next world for this." An'nala said. She held the blade poised to strike. The ship shimmered out of existence around her, to be replaced by a padded cell. Gravity reasserted itself on her flesh, pulling her to the floor with a "floomp" sound. "Just a moment too late." she muttered to herself. She was nude--a common trick used by Terran pirates; space the males and transport the females into the holding cells minus any part of their transport matrix that was inanimate. This insured that they couldn't possibly smuggle tools or suicide caps on or in their person.
She heard An'dera sobbing and walked to the cell's one opening, protected by a painful but nonlethal force-field. "An'dera..." she began.
"I'm sorry, Senator." An'dera said. "I failed you."
"I was the one who was slow, An'dera." An'nala said. "I should have dispatched myself quickly so you'd have time to do yourself. We have enough unpleasantness to think about without assigning blame."
"You're right, Senator." An'dera said, wiping her face. "I will face the future with the courage of a member of the Torvan Star Fleet." She rose to her feet and saluted. An'nala returned the salute.
"We go down fighting." An'nala said.
"And kill or injure as many of them as possible before the end." An'dera finished.
"Katara aid us." added another female voice from an adjacent cell.
"Course heading, Captain?" the first officer asked.
"Take us home, Mr. Parker." Captain Bone said, not taking his eyes off the feed from the holding cells. His thoughts latched onto one prisoner in particular. An'nala. It's been a while. I wonder if you still remember me, or if you'll recognize me after all the ... changes I've been through.
"Hey, that cobalt-haired chick's pretty hot, Cap'n." remarked one of the crew. "Is that Senator An'nala?"
"She's mine, Johnson." the captain said harshly, his bionic right hand grabbing a hold of the communicator pinned to Johnson's shirt, crushing the duraplas and silicon instrument like an insect.
"Y-yessir!" Johnson squeaked.
"You know the rules, man." another crewman whispered when Bone headed for his ready-room, leaving the bridge for Commander Parker. "Cap'n gets first pick." The door hissed open. Bone stepped inside.
"I dunno, something about that seems kinda personal to me." Johnson whispered.
"I'm not deaf, you two." Bone said before the doors hissed closed.
An'nala was awakened from her nap by the sensation of a restraining-field being applied to keep her from moving, followed by the techno-violation of having her body's wastes transported out of her by means of the teleportation device. The process was slow, to keep her from being injured by the sudden change in pressure.
"Oh, Katara, no!" An'dera cried. When the field was released, An'nala jumped to her feet and headed for the force field. An'dera was curled up in a little ball in the corner. "I feel violated." she whispered, just loudly enough for An'nala to hear.
"I think that was the point." said another voice.
"Well that and they don't want to give us toilet facilities we can use to harm ourselves." added a dusky-skinned woman from the cell to the left of An'dera's.
"You mean we have to endure that every day until we get where we're going?" An'dera asked, eyes wide.
"Several times a day, actually." An'dera's neighbor said. The ensign shuddered.
"That's enough." said a male voice. A man whose right eye and arm flaunted their artificiality, dazzling the eye with reflected light from the shiny metal parts, appeared in An'nala's field of view. He stepped into the door frame of the dusky-skinned woman's cell, and a second force field appeared behind him. Then the inner field disappeared. The woman tried to attack, but the Terran merely held up his metallic hand in front of her face. Her face drained of expression, her ears and eyelids drooping, and she followed the mechanical hand helplessly as he moved it in front of her. The force field dropped. "Follow." he commanded. The woman said nothing, merely obeying the soft instruction, as docile as a herdbeast. An'nala shivered as the man and his captive left the holding area. She headed for the back of her cell and curled up in a ball to match An'dera.
Some time later, though An'nala had no way of judging how long, the lock leading to the holding cells reopened, and she heard the sound of a cart being wheeled in. About time they decided to feed us. thought An'nala.
"Hiyee!" chimed an all-too-cheerful female voice. There were gasps from the other women in their cages. An'nala wondered what all the fuss was about, and got up, walking to the door of her cell. She soon wished she hadn't. The dusky-skinned woman from before was back, dressed in clothes that were worse than being naked--some lewd parody of a Terran space-liner stewardess' uniform. The top supported the breasts without concealing the nipples, and the skirt only pretended to try to hide her pelvic orifices from view. The heels of the shoes she was wearing were obscene, adding a handspan to her height. How could she walk in those? She kept making an irritating, high-pitched noise that An'nala believed was called "giggling" as she placed the space rations on the thresholds of the cells. The outer field was activated and the inner one deactivated. An'nala took her packet and choked down the rations quickly so she wouldn't have to taste them. Getting palatable food for a long space voyage was something that eluded even the older, more advanced races. "Whoopsie, guess there's some tension that needs to be let loose, huh?" the woman said, giggling again. She parked her tray in front of An'nala's cell.
Oh, no. the Senator thought, wishing she hadn't eaten. The stewardess beckoned the guards over to her, and undid the zippers on their trousers. Leaning over the tray, she allowed one to indulge himself in her from behind while she serviced a second...
... with her mouth.
Sickened, An'nala turned away from the scene, covering her ears and humming to try to drown out the wet, sloppy sounds being made behind her, the moans and screams of passion, more insipid giggling and the squeaking of the cart wheels. She turned to glance at the entry, to see if it was safe to unplug her ears, and saw one of the men inserting himself in the stewardess' anus. An'nala quickly squeezed her eyes shut and got into a corner.
Captain Bone watched An'nala's reaction to the stewardess' performance on his private viewer in his ready-room. Perhaps it was just the camera or the viewer, but she actually seemed to be turning green. He leaned back in his chair and brought a glass of twelve-year-old Scotch to his lips with his flesh hand.
Everything was going according to plan.
An'nala had cried herself to sleep, but was unpleasantly awakened by the sensation of her body's wastes being teleported out again. She shuddered once she was free to do so. She searched the cell, desperate for some hope of escape. Of course, the cells were designed to eliminate that hope, but she searched anyway.
"An'nala?" An'dera asked. An'nala took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. Peering across the corridor that separated them, she saw An'dera unfolding from her fetal position, obviously having just awakened. "What's going on?"
"Nothing. Just ... looking around, trying to find something, some means of getting out."
"Actually, she was in a panic and on the verge of trying to claw through the padding." remarked one of the other prisoners.
"I hope the humans take you next!" An'dera snarled. "An'nala wouldn't..."
"An'dera," An'nala said, "I wouldn't wish what happened to our Torvan sister on my worst enemy."
"Actually, An'sali seemed to be enjoying herself." said another unseen female.
"That's disgusting!" An'dera shouted.
"I'm just saying..."
"Enough!" An'nala said. "I can't think with all this bickering!" She retreated into her corner, out of sight of anyone standing in the door. There was, of course, the ceiling camera, out of reach unless the gravity failed. There was nothing she could do about that. She seated herself cross-legged, her hands in her lap to conceal her crotch from the camera's view.
She felt the unpleasant tingle of the teleporter again, and the cell shimmered away, to be replaced by tastefully decorated quarters. She rose to her feet, and saw the man with the cybernetic arm. His right eye glowed malevolently in the dim light, but the flesh side of his face wore a kind expression.
"Do you remember me, An'nala?" he asked softly. She was about to respond snidely that he had visited the holding area only recently, but stopped herself. Now that she thought about it, there was something familiar about this man. He turned his chair sideways, mostly hiding the mechanical parts from view. In profile like this, his terrifying aspect diminished, and he looked rather handsome. A memory nagged at her for a few moments, until at last she placed it--a face from long ago.
"You were Captain Silver Skull's cabin boy!" she exclaimed.
"And you were the one who argued that I was an innocent child--untrue of course, I'd taken my share of lives by then, but it saved me from the vaporization chamber and enabled me to make my escape, join a new pirate crew and eventually become Captain Bone, the ruthless shark of the Earth-controlled spaceways."
"A bit far from there, aren't we?" An'nala asked.
"I have always acted in defense of my homeworld, An'nala." he said. "An alliance between the Torvans and the Rupans would have been a disaster. I, er, 'procured' a Rupan stinger and a Torvan infiltrator, because I like to be prepared for all possibilities. When I heard that you were heading up the diplomatic mission, I made some last-second changes and bought a Rupan-model null-ray on the black market--at considerable personal expense, I might add. I placated my crew by telling them how much we would be making by selling Torvan females on Y'knyak, and of course, how much fun it would be playing with the merchandise before the sale." An'nala made a disgusted noise, her ears twitching.
"I don't want to be a mindless sex-toy, even if you're the only one who..."
"Nor do I want a mindless sex-toy." Captain Bone said, rising slowly to his feet. He approached An'nala and gently brushed her hair out of her eyes with his flesh hand. "Have no fear on that score, An'nala. I intend to leave your wits mostly intact."
"Well, there are a few rough spots to be sanded out." he said. She was about to inquire further when his hand appeared in her vision. Quickly but quietly, small parts in the palm revealed themselves--small phase-shift generators, electromagnetic inducers and sine-wave emitters. She had seen such devices before, but never in such combination, nor so small. A low hum filled her ears and vibrated her skull. Her ears and eyelids drooped as her thoughts slowed to a halt. The hand moved, and she followed it helplessly as it was gently waved in front of her eyes. Nothing mattered but the hand, and the voice. "You will join my crew." he said. "You are loyal to me and me alone. Pleasing me is your definition of 'good, ' displeasing me is your definition of 'evil.' I am your concept of your ideal mate. You crave my commands to guide you through your new life and my touch to please your flesh. My pleasure is your pleasure, so you cannot be jealous of anything that gives me pleasure. You are open to all forms of pleasure yourself, you will cast off your inhibitions and let me introduce you to new experiences. And you will be forever grateful to me for allowing you to think for yourself but for these minor alterations to your psyche."