Stardate 54918.9. The situation was business as usual, for the most part, in the United Federation of Planets. For a select few of individuals, however, it was more than that. A fair enough amount of time had passed since the USS Voyager finally returned to the Sol system in the Alpha Quadrant. Its crew, on opposing sides of the Federation - Maquis conflict at the beginning of their journey, set foot on Earth for the first time in seven years after a seemingly endless time they spent traveling through the Delta Quadrant searching for a way home.
During those years inseparable friendships had been formed between various members of Voyager's command crew, which in the end had steadily came to know one another and summarily grown to resemble the closest thing to a second family, as was usually the case with Federation starship crews finding themselves together in one setting for long periods of time. Also, though many had been left behind to start new lives in the Delta Quadrant, new additions to this family had been introduced along the way, people who would prove valuable members of the crew in unexpected ways, each in his or her own fashion.
Of these crew members, there was one in particular who at times still preferred to spend a certain amount of her time alone, though she had just recently begun to increase her time spent with her shipmates. This occurred particularly when she elected to visit the ship at the most inopportune moments - most often while the remainder of the crew would get together back at Starfleet Headquarters in San Francisco, California to socialize with one another on a more personal level - conducting research on Earth's past.
Now, during the current refit of Voyager during its ensoncement at the Utopia Planitia station nearby neighboring Mars, she walked with a steady purpose through the long, near-empty corridors of the starship. This person now wore an official Starfleet uniform, her ensign's pip reflecting the overhead lights. She went about her own business, saying nothing while passing by the occasional Starfleet chief, scientist and technician assigned to equip Voyager with updated Federation technology, with a clear destination in mind.
Seven of Nine had politely declined an invitation to accompany the crew of Voyager and friends of theirs to a conference scheduled this afternoon in Baltimore, Maryland dedicated to the existence of "anti-time," although she mentioned that circumstances permitting, she might be free later that evening to attend a Shakespearean production scheduled to occur shortly after the conference ended. Captain Janeway made it a point to politely remind Seven not to bury herself too much in her research in the last moments prior to her departure.
Promising to exercise some restraint in her studies, she departed from Earth in a Federation shuttle to head for the station ensconced nearby the Red Planet. Seven's intended destination upon her arrival on Voyager, and where she intended to conduct her research, was the ship's main holodeck. This was a first for her as the principal thrust of her usual research was conducted either while in engineering or stellar cartography. This, however, was a special circumstance.
While Voyager was in the Delta Quadrant, Seven was "drafted" into participating in the Tsunkatse games upon the capture of herself and Lieutenant Tuvok by unknown abductors while on shore leave. Under these particular circumstances she had agreed with a being known only as Penk to participate in these matches on behalf of the injured Vulcan. During the time she and Tuvok spent as the "guests" of her abductors she had only fought twice
At the conclusion of the grueling second contest of those in question, in which she fought a Hirogen hunter who she would go on to befriend somewhat when Voyager transported them both from the huge starship in which they were forced to fight. This was Seven's first experience with what most Terrans referred to as the "bloodsport." After the starship returned to the Alpha Quadrant she learned there had been similar, albeit not quite as brutal, sports in Earth's past, likewise considered entertainment.
One of these sports that caught Seven's interest was largely known in the mid-to-late twentieth century as "professional wrestling." Wrestling in itself had an extensive cultural history on Earth, originating far back in the development of Terran society. However, it was with the twentieth century advent of what was referred to as "television" that the sport was presented for a mass worldwide audience. Researching this history, she learned other pieces of some interest, rather by accident.
In addition to male "celebrities" who participated in this sport, there were female "celebrities" who took part as well. This was what aroused Seven's interest and the research she conducted afterward was what led to her present visit to Voyager's holodeck. She had discovered there had been, in a decidedly wide variety, professional and amateur forms wrestling exclusively involving women. In the latter part of the twentieth century, this was an issue of varying degrees of debate.
Which was what presently led her to Voyager's holodeck. While she had not previously shared this with those in her circle of friends, she discovered a secret interest in participating in such a competition. Her fight with the Hirogen during her stay on Tsunkatse seemed to awaken this in her, although she still recalled with a severe distaste she had allowed herself to lose control of her violent anger while engaged in this match. The outburst of adrenaline had led to her victory in the competition, but she had had to restrain herself from proceeding further upon defeating her opponent
It unnerved her to this day that there was a part of her that was capable of such physical violence, and the opportunity to compete in such an arena as the holodeck on Voyager would hopefully allow Seven to successfully come to terms with this. Perhaps while simultaneously pursuing an interest in female-female confrontation if she was to find a safe outlet for her interest would prove beneficial. Before actually taking part in such a match, however, Seven wanted the luxury of witnessing it firsthand, engaged between two powerful female characters.
One of the different forms of female wrestling Seven had found of particular interest involved opponents who engaged in fighting while scantily clad, usually in an isolated setting such as sleeping arrangements or a makeshift wrestling ring. This mode of combat often encompassed the participants' great dependence on physical strength and inner stamina, and more often than not encompassed heavily erotic overtones that were otherwise virtually nonexistent in other incarnations of the sport. Besides the principal reason for which she had come here, there was admittedly a curiosity on Seven's part as to how these confrontations worked between those involved.
Since was visiting the holodeck to witness what in essence was to be a hypothetical scenario, Seven decided to involve fictional characters in its presentation, preferably characters stemming from forms of entertainment from Earth's past, including film and television. Approaching the archway by the entrance, she accessed the holodeck's historical computer, ordering it to conduct an extensive search through its cultural database of a wide variety of twentieth century television shows and motion pictures from which it would select two opponents.
For all intents and purposes of this research, these were to be persons whose characters they portrayed in these television shows and / or motion pictures had prominent roles therein. To ensure everything would be completely equal in this scenario, the characters were also to possess similar physical attributes and compatible personality traits that would be most appropriate for facing one another in a contest of physical strength and stamina.
After a time, during which the computer continued its search through its seemingly endless catalogue of twentieth century entertainment, patterns of grouped information finally appeared on the computer screen. The computer listed a total of eight fictional characters in all with the highest probability of meeting the exact parameters provided by Seven. The two characters who appeared best suited to one another for the purpose of this physical contest were arranged in columns alongside one another, a profile photograph situated beside each of them.
Looking these over carefully, Seven entered a command for the computer to provide appropriate physical attributes, learning two women in particular were relatively the same height and weight, each with her own unique characteristics that would provide a unique advantage over the other. Executing this command, the computer slightly rearranged these eight characters in a new pattern. Looking each grouping over a second time, Seven finally chose the two she believed would be best suited to one another.
The characters chosen by Seven were as follows:
-CHARACTER: PRINCESS LEIA ORGANA
-MOTION PICTURE: STAR WARS EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI
-- YEAR OF RELEASE: (TERRAN STANDARD CALENDAR): 1983 AD
-- DIRECTOR: RICHARD MARQUAND
-- WRITERS: GEORGE LUCAS, LAWRENCE KASDAN
-- BRIEF SYNOPSIS (DETAIL AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST): THIRD INSTALLMENT IN "STAR WARS" SERIES - RE-RELEASED 1997 AD TSC
-- DISTRIBUTED BY: TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOL III
-CHARACTER PORTRAYED BY: CARRIE FISHER (BIOGRAPHY AND OTHER WORKS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST)
-CHARACTER: MAX GUEVERA
-TELEVISION PROGRAM: DARK ANGEL
--YEARS OF AIRING (TERRAN STANDARD CALENDAR): 2000-2002 AD.
-- CREATED BY: JAMES CAMERON
-- WRITERS: JAMES CAMERON (PRINCIPAL WRITER - OTHER NAMES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST)
-- CREATED BY: JAMES CAMERON --BRIEF SYNOPSIS (DETAIL AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST): GENETICALLY ENHANCED HUMAN BECOMES ANTI-HERO IN POST-APOCALYPTIC FUTURE
-- DISTRIBUTED BY: FOX NETWORK, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, SOL III
-CHARACTER PORTRAYED BY: JESSICA ALBA (BIOGRAPHY AND OTHER WORKS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST)
Now, Seven would have to include a couple other specifications in the program she was constructing in order to make this as realistic a scenario as possible. First, she instructed the computer to provide the two characters with the appropriate attire for the sexual aspect of the competition, paying attention to the psychological effects the competitors assumed over the spectators and their opponents. This was to determine for herself how these aspects would ultimately have bearing on both the audience gathered to witness the fight and it's eventual outcome.
Bearing all of this in mind, Seven decided the most important thing was to instruct the holodeck computer specifically to provide a neutral setting in which the combatants would be fighting. Her reasoning for this was that for all things to remain on equal terms here, neither side participating in this "conflict" was to be afforded an additional advantage of both combatants fighting in the "territory," so to speak, of one of them. An advantage on either side in this respect would not ensure a completely random outcome.
Accessing the holodeck's computer again, preparing to select a setting, she opted this time to follow another route, and instructed the computer to conduct another search for a setting that would be most appropriate for the purposes of this contest, in terms of the personalities of those involved. Shortly after the computer acted to carry out this command, a lengthy series of possible settings appeared on the computer screen, a great deal more than the characters which had been presented there earlier.
Upon seeing how many choices there had been provided this time around, Seven elected to instruct the holodeck computer to select a setting at random. The computer immediately announced the program was complete and ready to be run. The title ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK had appeared on the screen, the time frame selected by the computer declaring which scene from the chosen film was to be utilized as a setting for the match. Satisfied with the results, Seven instructed the computer to run the program.
Instantly the holodeck merged into a darkly futuristic, dimly lit arena apparently constructed from what was previously Manhattan Island's Grand Central Station. There was a grim post-apocalyptic feeling to this setting that seemed to unspokenly communicate violent tension, from the stark surroundings around her to the motley assortment of spectators gathered around a makeshift boxing ring in the center of the floor. Where she stood overlooked the boxing ring from higher up; in front of her was a throne-like chair positioned directly in the center of this balcony. Almost allowing a wry smile to surface on her face, Seven seated herself patiently in the chair, awaiting the two combatants who were soon to enter the arena.
There was a sudden uproar from the gathered crowd below as the first gladiatress made herself visible. Lean and sinewy, she entered through the doors of the arena as the reaction she garnered spread to each corner of the audience. By the first photograph provided by the computer Seven saw it was Leia Organa. She strode confidently along a lengthy path cleared between the howling throng present in the vast room, conveying an obvious regal air of superiority about her, almost to the point of considering herself above those she passed by without a word spoken.
Her demeanor and attire was a rather interesting contrast, thought Seven, considering that Leia was clad in the skimpy harem slave outfit in which she was dressed in the photograph the holodeck's computer had provided alongside the background information. The attire worn by this woman was identical to that utilized in the segment of "Return of the Jedi" to garner an emotional response by the adult male viewers of the film. This Leia's facial expression denoted a haughtiness bordering on arrogance accompanying the confidence she exuded, giving Seven a distinct impression that she would make a formidable opponent.
Soon after Leia entered the ring through the ropes, making her way toward one corner, another onslaught of cheers erupted throughout the hall as the second combatant entered through another doorway, heading down an equally long walkway toward the ring from an opposite direction. Seven recognized this woman by the character profile photograph the computer provided as well. Max Guevera strode through the audience with a visibly intense purpose, her body language and the manner in which she carried herself suggesting in no uncertain terms she was not one to be trifled with.
In direct contrast to the entrance made by Leia, Max exuded a quite different demeanor that communicated relatively the exact thing her own facial expression did. It was a tightly controlled fury intermingled with a raw, almost animalistic sexuality, creating a sense of sexual tension that seemed to accompany her like a dark storm cloud. This woman was likewise dressed in what she had been in the photograph: a tight-fitting pair of black latex hot pants and matching halter top enveloping her like a second skin. The attire was decidedly more modest than that which Leia wore, consisting of a skintight black catsuit.
Max entered the ring awash in the crowd's frenzied cheers, glaring openly across the canvas at the waiting Leia, who steadily returned her gaze with an obvious sense of contempt, in turn reinforcing Max's unspoken animosity for her adversary. Walking toward an opposite corner, she turned to face Leia, her eyes narrowed, her mouth set in grim determination. She towered over her opponent by a handful of inches, but Leia seemed not to notice this. From her view in the balcony, Seven watched these two combatants-to-be, clearly intrigued by what was suggested by the mutual dislike between them. This was certainly to be a fascinating demonstration of what she had arrived here to witness. As if by an unspoken signal, the women departed from their respective corners, heading toward one another with steady gaits. Their faces radiated the look of seasoned gladiators prepared to put absolutely everything they had into this contest.
Meeting in the center of the ring, the combatants instantly extended their arms, reaching for the hair of the other as the computer decided to exercise its specifications. Leia and Max buried their fingers in each other's tresses. Seizing double handfuls of Max's hair down to the roots as the taller woman did the same, Leia attempted to topple her opponent's balance and force Max to the canvas.
In retaliation, Max coiled Leia's braid around one of her hands that secured a tight grip, her fingers twisted so that they almost resembled claws as Max twisted and wrenched at Leia's braid as if trying to extract it from its roots. They danced and stumbled together in close quarters around the ring, their midsections colliding and their legs brushing with their exertions. The gritted teeth and strained facial expressions worn by both women betrayed the obvious discomfort they felt, as it was obvious to Seven that neither woman was very willing to give in to the other.
Max broke the stalemate by releasing her hold with one hand. Her other hand still firmly gripping the braid, she curled her first into a fist, slamming it with brute force into Leia's stomach. The blow caught the Princess off guard; she doubled over in pain as Max prepared to deliver another blow to her unprotected face. At the last instant, however, Leia released her hold on Max's hair, raising one arm to block the intended blow as with her other hand she suddenly lashed out at Max's face in retaliation, fingers tightly curled as if trying to leave scratch marks along her opponent's skin.
Max stepped back a couple feet, favoring her face when Leia's extended fingers slashed across one cheek. The Princess relentlessly advanced upon her, reaching upward to seize hold of Max's hair again. As Leia seized handfuls of her hair, Max's expression darkened as she balled a hand into a fist, throwing a punch that connected solidly with Leia's nose. Leia's head snapped back from the force of the impact; collecting herself she returned the favor as Max moved forward to compound on her attack, slamming a closed fist into Max's cheek that likewise snapped the black-clad woman's head back.
Suddenly rushing her opponent, Leia approached Max until she was close enough to coil her arms around the woman's midriff. Leia locked her wrists together at the small of Max's back, lifting her off her footing on the canvas. Leia constricted her arms in a tight embrace, trying to soundly squeeze the fight out of the taller Max. Max threw her head back, suppressing a cry as she felt the oxygen suddenly forced from her lungs. Sensing an advantage gained, the Princess loosened her grasp somewhat, preparing to redouble her efforts. It was at that moment that Max slammed her forehead into Leia's nose, compounding on the blow she had previously landed.
This dazed Leia for long enough to allow Max to squirm her way out of the bearhug despite Leia's effort to maintain it. Max viciously lashed out with a foot that caught Leia in the soft underside of her stomach, just above her groin area. Deftly stepping into Leia's space, Max followed her counterattack by driving her fist into the area where she previously kicked Leia, knocking the wind - in addition, apparently, to some of the haughtiness - from the regal woman. Max managed to land two or three more blows to the Princess' gut before Leia retaliated by stepping in to drive a knee into the fleshy part of Max's stomach.
Her face blazing with anger, Leia wrapped her arms around Max's midsection a second time, acquiring a firm grip around the area between her ribs and hips, again lifting Max up from her footing to summarily bodyslam her to the canvas. The impact reverberated throughout the arena as Leia proceeded to slug Max in the gut a few times before digging her nails into the impacted area, applying a tight stomach claw. Wincing from the pain, Max struggled so as to achieve a firmer purchase underneath the woman who knelt between her legs, lifting her slender limbs to coil them around the inside of Leia's elbows.
Applying pressure, she hardened her features in an outright expression of defiance. Max glared upward at Leia as the leglock she fixed on Leia's arms began to slowly loosen the unmerciful grip on her stomach. Max tightened her legs further the more she felt the stomach claw loosening, until Leia was forced to release it entirely. Seven noticed the extent of Leia's obvious anger at losing her advantage as both combatants collected themselves and reared up on their knees, facing one another. Eyes blazing, they lunged toward each other, quite eager to resume their battle.
Leia instinctively ducked a looping blow thrown toward her face by Max. Bobbing her head back up, she delivered an uppercut into her opponent's midsection that doubled Max over in visible pain while she was still on her knees. As Max slowly crawled forward, reaching out to grab the Princess' thighs to mount an effective counterattack, Leia leaned over Max's back to ensnare her in another bearhug, securing her arms around the waist of Max in the general area where she had slugged and clawed at her.
The hold satisfactorily applied, she pulled backward harshly, regaining her upright kneeling position, her face set in concentration. She pressed her inner thighs against Max's cheeks while holding her upside down, using her arms to force still more breath from the woman. The trapped woman bucked and writhed madly within the bearhug, struggling to free herself. Kicking her slender legs, she managed to slam them around the Princess' neck, locking her ankles together and squeezing fiercely. Max thrust her lower torso forward, using the momentum of the leg scissors to force Leia down to her back.
Max opted to play the role of aggressor now, whipping her body convulsively to escape the tight bearhug. Hopping onto Leia's lap, she coiled her legs around the Princess' waist. As she and her angered foe gripped one another's upper arms, fingernails digging into exposed skin, Max scissored her inner thighs together as her ankles firmly crossed themselves at the small of the Princess' back, constricting this leglock around her ribs with ireful zeal, the strain of her physical efforts showing upon her countenance.
Now it was Leia's turn to writhe and twist uncomfortably, her flushed face clearly radiating the effects the relentless compression of Max's limbs had upon her. Her teeth gritting, Leia increased the wild fervor of her squirming as Max tightened the hold on her sides, inner thighs effectively administering pain. Leia finally leaned backward, prostrating herself with her back resting on the canvas. Instantly she brought her legs up to wrap them around Max's thighs, in much the same manner as Max herself had done to effectively mount a retaliation against the stomach claw Leia inflicted on her.
The two women engaged in an intense battle of wills, channeling their energy into their lower bodies and through the limbs through which they strove to overpower the other. They remained locked in this position, their mutual animosity more apparent than ever, each woman struggling for the upper hand. Max finally pressed another advantage, twisting Leia's legs around and arranging them so that her right ankle was draped over her left thigh. Using her own leg to secure Leia's limbs in this position, Max leaned backward again, their legs intertwined in an intricate pattern.
The Princess now appeared to be bearing the full brunt of the pressure Max was gladly inflicting upon her. Even more, she gave an impression of not liking her position too much. Struggling to lessen the discomfort she felt in her legs, Leia twisted her body against the figure four leglock Max held her firmly trapped in, until she was successfully able to turn her body over so that she lay flat on her stomach. In this motion she had taken Max along with her, her momentum rolling Max face down to the canvas, reversing the hold to channel the pressure back onto Max's legs.
From her view in the balcony, Seven had been watching the contest intently, completely intrigued by the display of aggression the women demonstrated between them. However, there still seemed to be something missing from the scenario, although she could not quite put her finger on it. As she carefully pondered this, her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of another presence in the room, approaching her from behind.
Turning, Seven beheld Counselor Deanna Troi, entering the holodeck unexpectedly to pay Seven a visit, apparently having gotten wind of her presence on Voyager. Walking forward to witness the heated conflict occurring below the balcony, she assumed an expression of slightly embarrassed amusement, suppressing a chuckle at the situation between the two fighting women as Seven rose from her seat.
"Computer, freeze program," Seven intoned.
The sounds of battle between Max and Leia in addition to the frenzied roars of the crowd subsided as the combatants and their surroundings instantly fell to motionless silence. Seven formally greeted the Counselor as they met close to the balcony's edge. She and Deanna had previously been introduced through Reginald Barclay soon after the Voyager crew returned to Earth.
"Am I interrupting anything?" Deanna asked Seven, feigning innocence in the customarily friendly manner she greeted friends and acquaintances in a social setting. It was a clear effort to lighten the mood created by the gloominess of the makeshift arena and the violence in the boxing ring. Seven was instinctively aware that Deanna was making an effort to break the ice between them and the Betazoid's cheerful demeanor was admittedly infectious.
Returning her cheerful vibe, Seven answered amiably, "I am presently conducting research ... of a kind," indicating the scene of combat below them by nodding her head toward the ring.
Noticing the expressions of mutual dislike etched on the frozen faces of the combatants inside the ring, Deanna suspected she had a good enough idea of what this 'research' entailed; still, for the sake of humor she elected to play the innocent for at least a little while longer. Troi believed that she recognized one of the fighters as Carrie Fisher of the first "Star Wars" trilogy. The other woman in the ring didn't appear as familiar to her, although she would later learn who this was.
"On what, exactly?" Troi asked, making an effort to keep the grin she felt from surfacing on her face.
"I am studying the concept of hand-to-hand gladiatorial contests for media entertainment from a female perspective," Seven informed the Counselor matter-of-factly. "I have found the results thus far to be quite intriguing; although I will admit there may be a certain aspect of the competitive spirit I have overlooked."
Looking out into the ring to observe the frozen forms of the participants of the match, Deanna believed she knew exactly what Seven was talking about. The scenario was accurate and carefully arranged, as far as what one would be looking for if the desire was to witness a contest such as the one occurring below them from a strictly clinical perspective. Judging by the gratuitously suggestive outfits worn by the two women, however, Troi assumed Seven wished to observe this from a different standpoint as well.
Troi offered, "I believe I may be of some assistance, Seven. With your permission, of course..."
Deciding to accept the help offered her by her acquaintance, Seven thanked Deanna and allowed her to make the necessary modifications to the program. Deanna called for the arch to appear and instructed the computer to change a number of parameters for the scenario. In a fair amount of time, Deanna's orders were completed and the computer announced that the program was altered accordingly. Troi ordered the computer to restart the program, utilizing the alterations she had entered.
The scenery shifted and changed around them; where the arena from the film Escape from New York had been was replaced by a singularly striking exotic setting, now most closely resembling a harem's quarters. A diverse plethora of women were ensconced in these quarters, including Bajoran, Vulcan and Orion women in addition to a wide variety of alien species invented by human filmmakers. Female extraterrestrial culled from "Star Wars," "Babylon 5," "Sliders," "Alien Nation," and the 1980 release of "Flash Gordon" sat in strategic positions on and around a gigantic bed in the center of the vast quarters. Each woman was dressed in a fashion that set them apart from the others. Among the multitude of harem girls, Seven saw, lay Max Guevera dressed in something much more revealing, more akin to the skimpy harem outfits worn by the other women.
"Quickly!" Deanna breathed in mock nervousness. "We have to get dressed before the Sovereign arrives!" The look in her eyes told Seven she was clearly enjoying herself.
"Am I to assume you and I are part of this gathering?" Seven asked Troi evenly.
"Yes," Deanna replied hastily. "And believe me when I tell you she doesn't tolerate disobedience from any member of her gladiators." The gleam in Troi's eyes never faltered as she continued. "She expects her fighters to always be clad in the appropriate manner. Hurry!" she breathed. "I believe she's coming, and will be quite disappointed should he find us not clothed to her liking. People have been executed for less."
Deanna turned toward the back of the room, motioning for Seven to follow. Seven opted to follow Deanna to the rear of the vast quarters, where their own harem garb was apparently waiting for them. Moving to separate areas in the back, they concealed themselves behind partitions so as to change their clothing without being detected in case this Sovereign, whoever she was, should arrive here unexpectedly.
Emerging together from behind the partitions, Seven and Deanna seemed to naturally blend in with their surroundings. The attire both women now wore, although decidedly conservative in comparison to what many of the others wore, was well suited to them: Seven in tight fitting leotards and a matching tank top; Deanna in a bodice and see through leggings that started low on her hips.
Leading Seven by the hand, Deanna hurried back to the bedding area. They reached it and took their positions just as the tall double doors to the room opened and two women entered through the doorway. The woman leading the pair carried with herself an air of dominance over everyone present, gazing across the wide space of the quarters. The woman who followed, clad in her slave attire from "Return of the Jedi," stared directly ahead of her, not saying a word to anyone, although she presented a clear impression she wasn't happy with her situation. As they walked ahead, Max began to look the second woman over with a detached curiosity.
Leia was led into the room by a chain fitted to her neck by a collar; upon reaching the bed the woman who led her inside, presumably the Sovereign, produced a small device from her undergarments. Holding it to Leia's neck, she pressed a button; a thin ray of blue energy ejaculated from it and struck the side of the collar, which opened and fell from her neck.
Catching it in one hand, the Sovereign announced to those present in the room in a loud, piercing voice, "We have been graced with a real find today!" Her voice was dripping with sarcasm. "This woman," she indicated Leia, "was once royalty, but you all may consider her as one of you. I am certain at least one of you will take the liberty of showing her the ropes as to your... 'activities'?" Uttering a sardonic laugh, the Sovereign turned sharply and exited the room, the doors sliding shut behind her.
As the Princess looked across the room at the other ladies who would now be her company and made her way toward a secluded area atop the bed, Seven rose from her own position and silently moved across the room, approaching Deanna. She noticed a small number of the women were eyeing the newcomer curiously, their eyes flitting occasionally toward Max Max, who was staring directly at her, as if privately considering taking the Sovereign up on her suggestion. Leia did her best to ignore the multitude of curious eyes and the two piercing ones. This program that Troi entered into the computer was radically different from the original, but Seven found herself intrigued nonetheless.
Leaning close enough to whisper in Deanna's ear, Seven silently intoned, "What is to happen now?"
"You heard the Sovereign," Deanna whispered. "She issued an invitation for one of us to teach the high and mighty Princess over there that her former title means nothing here." Her face growing mischievous, Troi added, "From the looks of things, it appears that woman over there will take it upon herself to break the ice."
Now that she had a better view of her, the Counselor had a better idea of who the actress was. She'd watched some episodes of "Dark Angel" with Will Riker and was sure this was Jessica Alba. Turning back to face Seven, Troi added, "She has quite the temper, this..."
"Max Guevera," Seven informed her.
" ... this Max Guevera. She is quite territorial when newcomers step into her spotlight, so to speak. Very few of us dare anger her. I believe should she decide to challenge Miss Leia ... oh, there she goes now. Get ready" Deanna finished tightly. "It should be quite a confrontation."
As Troi was speaking, Max rose from her position and was striding confidently toward where the Princess sat on the bed. Arriving within range of her, she uttered the first words anyone present had spoken directly to her. "So you're our new drill thrall?" was all she elected to address Leia with ... for the present moment, anyway.
At these words, Leia looked up at the presence of this stranger. Max's darkly grinning face conveyed an odd mixture of curiosity, sarcasm, contempt ... and expectation, as if Max was attempting to ascertain what Leia's reaction would be.
The Princess gazed up at Max, her eyes putting across a haughty message of superiority.
"And I suppose you're the Queen Courtesan around here; am I correct?" she retorted in a low, even voice.
Leia sat up straight to face Max, her posture itself seeming to challenge the woman in return.
"I imagine you have become quite adept at your, um... 'talents' ... to earn such respect from your superiors."
Leia's tone perfectly communicated her dismissal of Max as one who would exercise dominion over her. Despite the subtle viciousness of Leia's insult, Max stared down at her with an expression of condescension that Leia would actually expect her to be offended.
"Well, Princess," she responded, the words rolling out of her mouth like poison molasses. "I'm certain; from your attitude, you understand; you'll eventually pass for an 'expert' yourself before too long ... that is, unless you should prove to be all bluster."
Remembering the Sovereign's words upon her arrival, Leia stared upward into Max's grinning countenance. This was apparently to be the first opportunity to demonstrate her fighting skills. Slowly rising from the bed, she brought herself to her full height. She was several inches shorter than Max, although she appeared unintimidated. As both women were within close proximity of Seven, she could more easily discern the physical similarities and differences between them.
Leia, though the slimmer of the pair, appeared to be lithe and athletic. The manner in which she carried herself bespoke the confidence Seven had witnessed earlier. The Princess bore the look of a woman who knew how to handle herself in a confrontation. Together with the air she projected of regal superiority bordering on arrogance, she still struck Seven as a formidable opponent. Max, as Deanna suggested, besides enjoying the advantage of being taller, also appeared more muscular and carried about herself the impression of being hot tempered and easily provoked. The air of sexual tension still accompanied her like a dark storm cloud, threatening to thunder into action.
Taking a tentative step toward Max, Leia seemed to be building her inner fire as she calmly addressed her, "Allow me to assure you, my dear, I have the capability of crushing your body until you begin to whimper helplessly, pleading for mercy. And I can demonstrate that capability should you wish I do so."
The tension in the room seemed to gradually increase as the verbal confrontation between the two women progressed. Max sidled closer still to the Princess, eyes narrowing as she responded to her challenge. "You certainly sound quite sure of yourself. But, I believe I can accommodate you with a chance to back up your talk." With that, Max suddenly shoved Leia backward, hard, with both hands.
The Princess uttered a startled yelp as she fell backward onto the pillows behind her. The other women who rested on the bed immediately rose from their positions and cleared a wide enough space for these two to fight as Deanna drew imperceptibly closer to Seven.
"I have a feeling all hell is about to break loose," she whispered, sounding eager to watch Max and Leia fight.
Deanna's tone of voice seemed to greatly encourage Seven's interest in watching the impending battle as well. Regaining her footing, Leia glared openly at Max, suddenly hurling herself at the woman. Lunging forward to meet her, Max entwined her arms around Leia's. Staring intently into each other's eyes, they began to push and struggle, each woman exerting energy into forcing her respective opponent backward. The exertions on the part of the combatants grew increasingly fervent as they continued fighting to gain an early advantage. Seven noticed that in addition to the technical attributes these women exhibited the potential for, there was an obvious undercurrent of visceral animosity between them as well as they fought on.
Leia surged forward, attempting to wrap Max's arms within her own to trap her foe in an inescapable hold. At the last possible instant, however, Max twisted her body around to one side, flipping Leia around her torso and hurling her face down to the bed. The action between them this time was much more fast-paced and more accurately bespoke their mutual dislike as Leia retaliated by kicking her legs upward, tripping Max who came crashing down to the bed alongside her. As Max fell, Seven managed to get a fleeting glimpse of both their faces, which by now had transformed into masks of sheer hatred.