All Living Things Must Feed
"I must confess
I’m addicted to this
Shove your kiss straight through my chest
I can’t deny, I’d die without this"
In this Moment – Adrenalize
Her nails dig into Helena's skin, piercing it, drawing blood. There's so little space between them, so few barriers, but Helena reaches up and yanks at her shirt, tearing it. Her chest heaves with every labored breath she draws, pushing her skin against her lover's feeding slit.
She still merely rests it against Helena's body, her golden reptile eyes eagerly watching the woman squirm under her.
“You aren't hungry enough, are you?” Helena manages to speak through clenched teeth, and she smiles.
“I am always hungry.” Her feeding organ latches to her skin, but she doesn't start yet. “I merely enjoy drawing things out.”
Helena makes a noise, halfway between a strangled moan, and a frustrated sigh.
Her tone makes the Wraith shiver pleasantly, the desperation. She has no interest in making her beg, but pushing her to the edge of disregarding her pride is something Ivory can't help but doing each time she finds herself in this situation with Helena.
Smiling, she leans down to her, keeping herself upright by pressing her palm harder against' Helena's collarbone, and nips lightly against her lower lip.
Helena stirs violently, her fingers tangle in Ivory's hair as she pulls her into a kiss. A sharp jolt of pain draws a surprised noise from her – Helena's fangs had torn her tongue open, and a metallic taste fills their kiss.
Feeling her arch against her touch, Ivory finally gives in to her hunger, connects to Helena's system and begins drinking her life force. It courses through her body, Helena's essence, almost as if it was pushing into her by its own volition.
Ivory breaks the kiss, rests her forehead against Helena's, and hisses.
She's fed on humans before, but it never compares to this. It's pure adrenaline, rushing through her veins, pure bliss clouding her vision, making her whole body shudder and tremble.
Helena tugs on her hair, pulling her in further, and she feels lips against her throat, a brief sting of pain as a pair of fangs tear into her skin, but it quickly drowns in her ecstasy.
Again, Ivory hisses, and her legs clamp around Helena's thigh.
“I highly doubt they'll take me back after several centuries, Helena.” Ivory declares over the sound of running, water, as she rinses dried blood off her feeding hand.
“You did say, most Wraith were desperate.” Helena responds, leaning against the doorframe, apparently not really minding her own blood on her chest, or Ivory's still sticking to her chin.
“I did. Many Hives are without Queens, but that doesn't mean that they'll just bow to my reign like that.” Ivory clarifies.
Her and Helena are mostly naked, and partially covered in blood, bite wounds and clawed open skin already having healed. Ivory's hair is damp, and clings to her back; she's had Helena wash the blood out of it, before it could dry.
“I don't think this is the only reason you're putting this off.” Helena's lips are curled into a crooked smile, which elicits an exasperated groan from Ivory. “You just don't want to leave this ship.”
Turning off the faucet, Ivory proceeds to meticulously dry her hand, gently patting the water off the slit.
“It may have something to do with the fact that I have never truly been a Queen.” she admits, speaking slowly, as if she's carefully weighing each word. “I was torn from that life shortly before taking my throne. I'm an inexperienced child, for all they know.”
She flinches briefly, feeling a touch, without having seen Helena move, but relaxes as soon as she finds her standing behind her in the mirror.
Her hands trail off her shoulders, down her arms, and finally settle on her hips.
“You can just admit that you're frightened.” she hums against Ivory's neck, and she feels herself leaning into her embrace.
Helena's hands wander further south.
Chapter 2: 1
Queen Death makes some power moves and Helena is angery
A few weeks prior...
“It's not unlike a Queen to consider an alliance with us, Helena.”
Ivory is leaning against her desk, with her arms crossed in front of her chest. She's dressed in her usual attire – a simple leather bodysuit, and a thin, light blue skirt, partially tattered. This skirt was the only thing she's kept from her brief time among her people, as a Queen in the making.
The torn fabric around her hips somehow makes her look fragile.
Helena is well aware that Ivory is anything but fragile.
She shifts her weight a little, then moves toward her, to sit down by her desk. Responding with a soft purr, Ivory sinks down on Helena's lap, resting her hands on her shoulders.
“You mentioned that. Still,” Helena responds, “I find it a bit odd that she calls every Vampire base ship to herself. Isn't that a little ambitious?”
Ivory tilts her head to the side.
“Of course. She is ambitious, simply by choosing her name, you see. Queen Death is a legend, and I believe she aspires to be just that. It remains to be seen where she's headed with this, but I am eager to see this unfold.” She pauses briefly, to plant a chaste kiss on Helena's forehead. “You should attend.”
“I was going to. Simply to support my kin, in case something goes awfully wrong.” she responds. “Doesn't mean that I trust Queen Death. Or that I'm looking forward to meeting her.”
“Oh, by all means, do not trust her. At least not yet.” Ivory's feeding hand toys with the buttons of the dress shirt Helena's wearing. “This may very well be a … set up, but it doesn't hurt to....”
Her sentence is left unfinished and Helena smirks.
“You seem distracted, love, is anything the matter?” Her tone is playful now, eager to forget her worries, and if Ivory is going to give her an opportunity to, she will take it.
“Mh,” Ivory hums, and her palm comes to rest on Helena's chest.
Helena would never get used to the bizarre interior of a Hive. The organic features and their patterns keep drawing her attention, and she catches herself tracing them with her gaze, as she follows the three Wraith escorting her.
They pass by a cell, full of shivering humans. Most of them seem unresponsive, weeping in fear, or trying to block out their environment, but a few press against the cell doors, staring.
The Wraith pay no heed to them, but Helena bats her eyes.
How odd this must be for those prisoners.
Helena, and by extension, all Vampires, look human, at least when seen from a distance. Up close, their skin has a few cold undertones too many, a few too vivid colors in their eyes to pass entirely, but these prisoners couldn't see that.
To them, Helena was another human, moving freely and unrestrained through a Hive.
But, Helena muses, they probably won't live long enough to come to any conclusions about that.
“We have arrived.” the Wraith leading her announces, stopping by a large, winged door. “You have arrived late. Making Queen Death wait any longer would be very unwise.”
Helena bares her fangs.
“I'm not afraid of her.” she counters, and the Wraith mimics her, snarling a little.
“You should be.” he warns her, and opens the doors.
The room is full of... Vampires.
A good dozen Captains, lined up neatly before a coral throne, all of them turning around to watch Helena stride in, and take her spot. Helena recognizes a good few of them.
Euridice, one of her earliest companions, is one of the first to turn to her. She smiles, pushes a loose strand of her pale, blonde hair behind her ear. Helena returns her smile, and nods at her. Euridice is known for her strategic genius, and unswayable determination. Helena counts on her often, and is hardly ever disappointed. She wears a bronze headpiece, curling elegantly around her skull, metal flowers carved into the sides. Two, crimson-red dyed metal parts are run through her lower lip, at the same height where her fangs would be. Helena shudders pleasantly, imagining these metal parts press against her skin as Euridice sinks her fangs into her. Desirable, that's what she is to her.
Flanking her, close enough to touch her hand, stands a male Captain, silky black hair framing his face and reaching down to his shoulders. There are purple gems set into some of his delicate features, accentuating the flaring indigo hue of his eyes. Helena recognizes him as Caleb, a born philosopher and poet. Caleb is known for his indulgence in vices, keeping a group of human concubines of either sex near him at all times. The Wraith refer to his escorts as 'worshippers', and not once has Helena seen him disagree.
Helena passes by a pair of white-haired Vampires, standing close, as if huddling for warmth. She knows them, too. Desmond and Janine, twins, inseperable by nature. They're still young, Euridice's 'children', and have yet to establish themselves as leaders of their own. However, due to Euridice's influence, they too, are here.
Beside them, flanked by a few Helena does not recognize, stands Saya, the Captain of a rather big fleet, representing several base ships. She's dressed in fine, midnight-blue silks, hardly any protective gear adorns her petite form, but Helena knows, she does not need it.
She brushes past Saya, feeling her lightly inhale as she does, and takes her spot.
“You're late.” the one beside her hisses. Helena recognizes her, Captain Myah, a close ally of hers. She would even consider her a friend. Myah has striking blue eyes, piercing anyone that dares make eye-contact, her skin dotted in dark freckles. She's armed to the teeth, daggers and longblades by her hips, and a rifle holstered on her back. Her face is accessorized with metal, percing through the bridge of her nose, her ears, eyebrows and lower lip. Helena fondly recalls standing beside Myah in combat, a warrior first, a leader second.
“I'm aware, thanks.” she replies, and turns her attention to the front of the room.
And there she was, half lounging in her throne, twirling a strand of her dark hair between her fingers.
Queen Death's entire demeanor raditates carelessness, and unchallenged dominance over this room. Her, leaning back, comfortable, and the high leaders of Vampire-kind, standing straight up, not moving a muscle.
Helena surpresses the urge to hiss at her.
Queen Death lets out a drawn out sigh, and slowly lifts herself up. Her gaze lingers on Helena for a moment, but she eventually adresses the whole room.
“Welcome to my Hive, friends.” she begins, hinting that she's remained silent and ignorant of her guests this entire time. “I am pleased that you could all attend this meeting, as it is the historical beginning of our alliance. Our reign over this galaxy.”
Her voice almost has a mocking tone to it, and she paces in front of the Captains.
“Our people have hardly ever interacted,” Death continues, “and long have we tolerated your intrusions on our feeding grounds,...”
Helena's fists clench into balls. The Wraith have never tolerated her. Often enough had they battled over food, and emerged victorious.
“...but now, with me in charge of my kind, times will change. This galaxy is mine.” Queen Death smiles. “And so are you.”
A shift goes through her audience, heated whispers are exchanged. Myah shoots Helena a glance.
“But be not afraid, my treasured friends.” Death picks back up. “I am merciful. You may join my ranks as my subordinates, in exchange for your lives and your freedom. I will allow you to take part in my glory.”
“You expect us to bow to you?” Helena can't hold it back anymore. “You called us here to negotiate an alliance, and this is what you present us with?”
“Helena!” Myah nudges her, urging her to back down.
“Yes. I present you with this opportunity, as opposed to punishment for your trespassing on Wraith territory.” Death's attention is now entirely on her.
“Our 'trespassing'? Your territories apply to your kin only. You have never negotiated anything with us. You're trespassing on our territory as much as we are on yours.” She takes a step forward, teeth bared again. Death stands tall, not even batting an eye.
“You think on the assumption that we are on the same level.” she counters. “We are gods. I am a god. You are nothing. I could wipe you out without even making it much of an effort. You'd do well to submit.”
A muscle twitches on Helena's jaw, and she has to remind herself of her promise not to snap at Death. Instead, she shoots her a searing glance, and turns around to address the other Captains.
At least, that is her plan.
She falters when she sees the crowd again, and pauses, disarmed for a second.
They've all went to their knees, heads bowed in submission to Queen Death, weapons surrendered in front of them.
Noticing Helena's perplexed expression, Myah raises her head.
“Her fleet is massive, Helena. We have nothing to counter her.”
“But do we not have our pride?” Helena barks. “When did we start bowing to anyone?”
Her body physically cringes when Queen death puts her arm around her shoulders.
“Times are changing. You'd do best to adapt.” she almost sings into her ear.
Helena tenses again, feeling an attempted intrusion on her mind. Her eyes meet Death's, who is smiling innocently at her.
She's trying to make Helena kneel.
Hissing sharply, she shakes off the influence, and withdraws herself from Death's touch. Her eyes narrow to slits, as she shifts her gaze between the Queen and her apparent new subjects. Myah counters her glace, mouthing a plea, and Helena's expression hardens.
“Spineless maggots.” she snarls. “Go and rot. All of you. You've forgotten who you are, who we are. We bow to no one. We serve no one. Come find me, when you've regained your dignity.”
Then, she presses the small button on her left sleeve, and feels her body dematerialize.
Helena has her partner by the throat, when Ivory's voice draws her attentions.
“This should be enough, do you not agree?”.
With a groan, she drops the girl, who falls to her knees and begins coughing violently.
“Do you really think that this is a good way to deal with your anger, love?” Ivory asks her, and Helena scoffs.
“I'm just training my crew.” she claims, and helps the girl up.
“You are not training this one. You are bruising her.” Ivory says, a light chuckle in her tone.
“Pain is the best teacher.” Helena argues, and gives her trainee a pat on the back. “Be in better shape tomorrow. A real enemy won't give you any respite.”
Nodding, saluting, and muttering an apology, the girl hurries past Ivory, and out of the room.
“Love,” Ivory's voice is underlined by a soft purr. “You should not blame yourself for this.”
“We are supposed to stick together, Ivory. Untamed, unbowed and free. Forces of nature, that's what we are. We aren't supposed to kneel, not before her, not before anyone.” Helena is talking herself into a rage again, and Ivory notices that.
She reaches out, touching her mind, a much gentler gesture than Death's intrusion. There's no resistance from Helena, instead, she lets her lover's presence soothe her wrath.
“I know, my love.” Ivory speaks. “And I am deeply sorry. I know that this hurts you.”
“It doesn't hurt me, it makes me want to punch things.” Helena's tone contrasts her words, she reaches for Ivory's wrists, and pulls her into an embrace.
“No, love. It hurts you. You already mourn your sisters' loss.”
Helena buries her face in the nape of her neck and growls incoherently.
Chapter 3: 2
Things are heating up. Literally.
It's dark on the bridge, the control's screens being the only sources of light. Empty space is visible through the large window, broken only by a few, glinting stars, light years away.
Helena rests on the Captain's Seat, knees drawn close to her chest, leaning slightly to the side.
Her eyes burn. She's been staring into space for too long.
The silence is only broken by the occasional tapping of a scientist's fingers on keys. Her and Helena are alone on the bridge, 'nighttime' having fallen on the ship, but Helena finds herself unable to sleep, even in Ivory's soothing, cool embrace.
Now that her fury has faded, Helena finds this entire situation a whole lot harder to deal with. Her sisters, her fellow, proud Captains, kneeling before this brat, this half-baked, snotty little girl. She drives her canines through her tongue, and feels her mouth fill with blood.
When she retracts them to swallow, the holes are already closing.
What she is facing now is, according to her fears, the end of her kind. Queen Death will fail, she is certain of it. And she will drag everyone else down with her.
The time, the work, the lifeblood she had invested to build this community, to unite her people and take them to the stars, together with Ivory, everything her heart beats for, taken from her within the span of a few minutes.
She reaches over to the console near her, and her index finger hovers over Myah's subspace contact data. How easily she had submitted to Death, how she had urged Helena to back down...
The scientist in the back of the room flinches when she hears Helena hiss, as she pulls her hand back.
“Helena, Captain?” she asks, her voice not filled with fear, but concern, well aware of Helena's erratic temper, and her tendency to make choices she would regret afterwards when agitated.
“I'm fine.” she assures, not sounding the part at all.
The girl rises from her seat, and moves closer to her, crouching in front of Helena's seat. Their eyes meet, and Helena recognizes her – she is Lorelai, usually confined to the machine room. Helena recalls her mentioning optimizations on the ship's main systems during downtime.
“We have lived through worse, Captain.” she speaks to her, cutting Helena off, as she draws breath to respond. “We are eternal. I know you fear for our kin, but I believe they will come to their senses. They must.”
Her voice sounds soft and gentle, but it fails to soothe Helena's mind. Lorelai does not know what she is talking about. She has not been there, has not seen a dozen Captains kneel before a Wraith.
“Thank you,” Helena replies regardless, too worn out to continue this conversation.
Just as Lorelai rises to her feet again, a flash of light breaks the darkness on the bridge. She spins on her heel to face the window, and Helena straightens her posture as well.
“That...” Lorelai mutters.
A ship, black and sleek, formed like the head of an arrow, laced with faint, red glow, has emerged before them. Its flank is covered in white markings, indicating its allegiance.
“It's Euridice's base ship.” Helena announces, and a jolt of hope lets her perk up. “Go, summon the crew. I will open-...”
She's abruptly cut off, her eyes widening at the reading on her console.
“Go, go! She's charging weapons,-...” Again, she stops mid-sentence, and something akin to a convulsion runs through the ship.
A crimson, gleaming beam is connecting the two base ships, continuous fire searing angrily into Helena's base.
Lorelai has already run off, and Helena turns to flick the alarm on. Her guts feel balled up into a knot, as she stares at the beam extending from Euridice's ship.
Death must've ordered her … death. The ultimate punishment for the ultimate crime – defying her. She clenches her fists, her mind torn between sorrow and rage.
Ivory has reached the bridge, with the remainder of its crew. She immediately hurries to Helena's side, and places her off hand on her shoulder.
“Shields up.” Helena presses forth, and her hand jerks up, to grab Ivory's, applying enough force to crush a human hand, but Ivory withstands easily.
The image on the window is distorted by a slight shimmer, as the shields build around the ship, red cracks pulsing like veins on the force field, as Euridice's assault begins wearing it down.
Helena's gaze remains locked on the window, a muscle twitches on her clenched jaw.
“Permission to fire, Captain?” asks someone from her left.
She remains silent, feeling a gentle push against her mind, Ivory's investigative glance on her features, trying to read her.
Euridice has been one of the first Vampires to join Helena's forces, back on their home world. Beautiful, she has been, young, but full of a fire Helena has always envied. Often, they had shared that tender touch that now exclusively belongs to Ivory. Helena can still recall the scent of her skin, her gleaming eyes meeting hers...
“Bring us into Hyperspace.” she orders.
Her throat feels tight.
She's giving up. She's fleeing.
Ivory's free arm drapes around her waist.
The idea of killing Euridice, one of her own, feels worse than surrendering her pride.
There it is again. The Fire.
Erinya stirs in her sleep, and the flames work through her veins again.
She dreams of closed spaces, of chains and bonds around her wrists, of being dried up, parched, and yet unable to expire, stuck in this eternal limbo of harm and healing.
Needles and scalpels, digging into her skin, and it heals too fast, getting utensils stuck underneath. And the flames. The heat.
She's always been like this. A Vampire, but never quite ordinary. There's a flaw in her code, a glitch in her system.
Energy, heat, building in her core forever, unrelenting, as she burns up from within. Nothing can ease this pain. Nothing can snuff this flame.
Erinya's hands claw into her sheets, her skin flushed from her heat.
Her fever-dreams are filled with different sensations.
The clanking of metal, heated voices, someone's labored breathing.
A flash of white and green, starburst patterns circling around her, as she lies delirious, strapped down on a metal table, supposed to feel cool on her skin, but seething from her heat.
She dreams of a hand pressing down hard on her chest, and the pain lessening, the heat cooling slowly, as her excess energy leaves her, slowly, and regenerating faster than she'd have liked.
The hand is ripped from her, and the pain is back.
Erinya wakes with a pained outcry, muffled hastily when she recalls where she is.
There are no bonds on her limbs, no heated metal pressing against her bare back. Just soft sheets and dim lights.
How long has it been? Years, she muses to herself, or months. Time blurs, when she's burning up.
She knows that he's here, starving in his cell, while she rots here, desperate to rid herself of what he craves. Cursing through gritted teeth, Erinya forces herself to stand up, tears her nightclothes from her body, and drags herself into her bathroom.
Her shaking hands manage to turn on the cold water, and she sits in her shower, the ice cold water steaming as it hits her smoldering skin. Wincing, she curls up.
Just one unsupervised moment... if she could disable the security cameras in his cell...
Desperation and pain draw another whine from her. She can't risk it. Her cover, her persona as Doctor Cecilia Thorne, Earth Physician, recently stationed in Atlantis, was flimsy as it is. She doesn't even bear much resemblance to the real Cecilia Thorne, and arousing just the slightest suspicion could mess up her entire mission.
She raises her head to let the water hit her face directly, washing over her burning body.
“Guide,” she finds herself whispering.
It's not like she hasn't managed to sneak into his confines before, to let him feed. But that had been a Genii facility, not Atlantis. Here, everything is so unbearably well protected, making it harder, even though Erinya can move freely, as opposed to her status as the Genii's prisoner, their lab rat.
Her nails dig into her flesh, leaving deep cuts that fade too fast. There's no respite for her, not now.
Chapter 4: 3
Ivory & Helena have a heart-to-heart, and Erinya has a Bad Time
“Hull damages have been successfully repaired. We were lucky. A few more seconds without shields could have caused irreversible damage.” Ivory reports.
She's just entered her and Helena's quarters again, and her lover stands by the large window, facing away from her.
“Good.” she responds, sounding hollow, and Ivory shifts uncomfortably. Past Helena's shoulder, she can see her reflection in the window, her clenched jaw and furrowed brows.
Ivory likes Helena better when she's hissing and snarling, furious, with that dangerous glint in her eyes. Rage is easy to calm, but this silent, dry misery requires an entirely different strategy.
With the gentle step of the apex predator she is, Ivory approaches her, seeing her watch every move through their reflection on the window.
Reaching past her, Ivory takes Helena's hands and forces her to turn toward her.
“My love,” she begins, her voice like honey. “You have been like this for hours.”
Helena's eyes seem to look right through her.
“Do you not trust me, Helena?” Ivory continues, lightly tugging on her arms, pulling her closer.”You are fighting a war within yourself. Won't you let me aid you?”
Ivory feels a rush of warmth wash over her, as Helena leans against her, pulls her hands out of hers, and wraps her arms around her waist.
“I'm sorry.” Helena whispers, resting her forehead against Ivory's.
With her feeding slit held tightly closed, Ivory caresses Helena's cheek.
“Talk to me, love. Tell me what hurts you so.”
Helena withdraws from their embrace and sits down on her bed, runs a hand through her hair.
“This is my fault.” she begins, while Ivory follows her, and sits next to her. “Maybe I could have swayed them from Death, but I was angry. I was so angry, Ivory. I could have argued against Death, but I was so wounded in my pride. I could have prevented this, and now, I'm at war with Euridice, of all people.”
“Your pride is inherent to your kind, love.” Ivory tells her, holding Helena's left hand in hers, tracing circles on its back with her thumb. “But I would not say that you carry the blame for this. As harsh as it may sound, I do not think you could have done anything to avoid this.”
Helena shoots her a confused look, and she continues.
“I have expected Queen Death to be incredibly persuasive. She would not have been able to unite this many hives under her banner otherwise. When I urged you to attend her gathering, I was hoping her intentions were less...” She hesitates for a moment. “...malicious. If you want to assign blame, assign it to her, not to yourself.”
“Still, if I had been less... myself, I could have at least-...”
Ivory cuts her off by placing her index finger on her lips.
“No. Listen to me.” she tells her. “Nothing is gained through wondering what could have been. All you achieve is making yourself upset. This is an awful situation to find oneself in, but that is exactly why we must face forward. Do not concern yourself how this happened. Work on righting this wrong instead.”
Helena closes her eyes, and breathes deeply.
“What options do I even have? Death's fleet...” she mutters against Ivory's finger, who then curls it, and moves to trace her jawline.
“We need to expand our influence. Politically, but also martially.” Ivory suggests. “Right now, we're just one ship. We need more than that.”
“How would we go about that? I can't exactly fall back on my old contacts, now can I?”
Ivory freezes, and Helena feels her hand tighten around her own.
“A lot of Hives are queenless,” she eventualy speaks. “which puts them in a very vulnerable position. I believe, if someone were to offer them a proper Queen, they might take the opportunity.”
“I am an asset in that sense. If I build influence among the Wraith, we may receive some leverage to negotiate with Queen Death.” Ivory explains, and her eyes flicker up to meet Helena's. “Death's idea to ally with Vampires is not necessarily a new one. We've had this discussion before, in less dire times, my love. I believe, it is time to go through with it.”
Helena doesn't respond, instead, she leans in and presses a kiss on Ivory's neck, directly on her pulse point. Humming softly, Ivory withdraws her hand from Helena's and slips it under her shirt instead, running it up and down her spine.
Feeling the familiar sting of fangs scraping over her skin, Ivory smiles. Enough talking for Helena.
They remain like this for a few moments, and when they pull apart, Ivory has that needy burn in her palm. She flexes her feeding hand, well aware that Helena is watching her.
“When did you last feed?” she inquires, but Ivory's answer hardly matters, the first two buttons on Helena's shirt have already come undone.
“Shortly before you left for Death's Hive.” Ivory responds regardless and reaches out, placing her prickling palm on Helena's chest, pressing against it slightly.
Helena sinks down on her back, her lover following her. With a mischievous smile, Ivory straddles her, pushing her knee between her legs.
“I am certain you would not decline something to sink your fangs into either, would you?” she whispers, and Helena chuckles.
This is going to be a long night.
Erinya spends a full hour in the shower, and when she eventually turns the cold water off, the air hitting her wet skin feels like it fans the flames inside her.
Examining her face in the mirror, she groans. Her skin covered in red splotches, like a sunburn, her eyes feverish and glassy.
She knows, she does not have much time before the fire overwhelms her entirely; she needs to be fed on soon.
It's not a week-day, but she knows that Atlantis would guard Guide in shifts, he's too important of a prisoner to be left alone for just a minute.
Another thing she prefers the Genii protocol for. All she needed to do back then was steal a needle to pick a few locks. Altantis does not even have pickable locks.
She dries herself off, and slips into her underwear, the heat dissuades her from getting fully dressed. Like this, she struts back into her living area, and lets herself fall down on her bed, reaching for the tablet on her nightstand.
A few personal passwords later, she's greeted with a message from her base ship.
'We are considered outcasts from our kin now. Our allies have turned on us in favor of a newly arisen Wraith Queen, who calls herself Death. I will brief you fully when we meet in again in person. You should be safe in Atlantis. Keep me updated.
Brief, to the point, and absolutely devastating.
Erinya rubs her temples, sighs deeply, and makes a valiant attempt in thinking clearly.
Atlantis' only way of learning about Wraith politics is locked up in a cell, and cut off from his people. There's no way they'll react in time, should this fleet move against them. Erinya's knowledge of this is hardly of any use, since she would have to blow her cover to reveal this intel.
And them learning of her nature...
She shivers, despite her heat. Never again will she find herself strapped down and cut open, just because someone wants to see what's underneath her skin.
Straightening her posture, she begins typing her response.
'Those are grave news. I cannot warn the ancient city of this, however, so I suggest standing by, in case Death decides to claim it. Additionally, I cannot remain here for much longer. My energy levels are critical, and I may not have much time. No news on Guide. I do not have security clearance to see to him. I request withdrawal from this mission.
She logs out, and has to take a few deep breaths to stop the tears from welling up in her eyes. The pain's getting worse, and it's taken all her willpower not to beg Helena to let her come home.
The sound of her doorbell has her flinching.
In a panic, she slides the tablet under her bed, and scrambles to her feet.
“Who's there?” she manages to call out without her voice breaking.
“Jennifer Keller.” the familiar voice from the outside responds. “I wanted to check on you, Cecilia. You had really high fever when you called in sick last week.”
Erinya recalls her red, heated skin, and swallows hard.
“Yes, I,... It's not sunken much, but I can handle myself.” she explains. “I'm afraid I might need a bit more time to recover – I don't want anyone to catch my illness, after all.”
“No, no!” Dr. Keller replies, and Erinya hears that gentle smile in her voice. “I don't mean to rush you, by all means, do take your time to recover! I was simply worried, and as our superior, I wanted to make sure you were doing alright.”
“I'll be alright.” Erinya assures her.
“I see. But please, if you do need something, don't hesitate to let me know.”
“Will do. Thank you. I'll just sleep it off.”
She exhales audibly when she hears steps moving away from her door.
Jennifer is a good person, and also the first to grow concerned when Erinya first started showing symptoms of her affliction. Her care is, however, also a threat to her cover. Just one body-scan would completely ruin her.
Erinya likes her regardless. She's kind, and Erinya feels awful for having to lie to her.
A groan escapes her, as a series of convulsions run through her body.
She does not have much time left.
Chapter 5: 4
The fire is extinguished.
I made a few edits to the first Chapter.
“Any news, love?”
Ivory has crept up behind Helena, who's sitting up in their bed, blanked tangled around her hips, and reading on her tablet.
“Mh.” Helena huffs, as the Wraith rests her chin on her shoulder. “Erinya responded.”
She feels Ivory's weight shift against her back, while she leans in to read over her shoulder.
“Ah. Bad news, then.” she exclaims, and looks at her, trying to make eye-contact. “Are you going to grant her request?”
Helena breathes deeply, collecting her thoughts.
“Yes, I think. I don't want her suffering any longer.” she eventually decides. “But, extracting her could be difficult. We do have the city's new coordinates, thanks to her, but we can't just... walk in there.”
A light vibration runs through Helena's body, as Ivory chuckles against her.
“I cannot. But you might. With a little effort, a Vampire can pass as human.” she says, “That is the entire premise of Erinya's mission, is it not? Why don't you take this opportunity to make your own alliances, while I work on that Hive I contacted?”
Helena chews on her lower lip.
She's right. Ivory will be leaving in a few hours, and their original plan has entailed the Vampire Base Ship just standing by idly until she's ready to return. Getting Atlantis on board with her plot against Queen Death doesn't seem too far-fetched.
“I'm sure I could pull that off.” Helena admits. “But what about Guide? I don't think Atlantis will surrender their most valued prisoner to a new ally. He's been held there for a while now, if we don't get Erinya to him soon, he will die.”
“It would certainly be a step toward freeing him. Erinya may be able to help, as she's on the inside.” Ivory muses. “It was her idea, after all.”
“We're talking about possibly antagonizing the ones with access to the city of the Ancients, and letting them know who we are.” Helena counters. “It will be a prison-break, Ivory, that much is certain.”
“You had similar concerns when Erinya asked you to be placed there as a spy, love.” Ivory reminds her, circling Helena's belly button with the pads of her fingers while she speaks. “The Lanthians may very well see that they have bigger concerns, once we tell them about Death.”
“How would we justify knowing about her, without them finding out what we are?”
That statement has Ivory laugh.
“This may sound odd, but do hear me out.” Her breath tickles Helena's neck as she withdraws a little. “Atlantis has worked with Guide a number of times, so they aren't too taken aback by the idea of humans allying with Wraith. If you sell yourself well, you may claim that I am to you what Guide is to them.”
Helena turns around to look at her, with an eyebrow raised.
“That will require serious acting skills. I mean – I sleep with you.”
Ivory laughs again and lies down on her back.
“Best get all of that out of your system before we launch this plan.” she suggests and curls her claw at her, in a beckoning gesture.
Erinya weighs the tablet in her hand, reading over Helena's latest response over and over again. It has a few mistypes, uncharacteristic for her, so Erinya deduces that it has been written in a hurry.
Her own plan to infiltrate Atlantis is ambitious, she knows that, but Helena is now taking it up to eleven.
Cussing under her breath, she stuffs the last cool-pack under her jacket, straightens herself, and moves to leave her quarters.
She reaches the Gate-Room in a half-jog, but it still takes her too long, because she keeps having to stop and hold on to a wall, when the world starts spinning before her eyes. Her colored contacts obstructing her vision don't help either.
Dr. Keller is already present, and greets her with a friendly nod. Erinya doesn't miss the worried elevator-look she gives her.
“I'm okay,” she mouths at her, and folds her arms in front of her chest.
A few hours before, she had spoken to Mr. Woolsey, and explained that her and Helena were old friends, from a previous offworld-mission she had taken part in, obviously, lying through her teeth, but she dearly hopes to be out of the city before anyone has the time to try and read up on her claims. But for now, this half-assed lie allows her to present during Helena's first contact.
“Incoming signal,” she hears someone speak, and a video feed opens on one of the larger screens.
Her heart jumps, seeing the familiar bridge of the Base Ship, and Helena's smiling face.
She looks off, makeup hiding the cold, bluish undertones in her skin, and a pair of brown contacts cover the flaring crimson of her eyes.
“Good Morning, Atlantis.” she opens. Erinya notices her speaking a little quieter than usual, avoiding parting her lips enough to show her fangs. “I am Helena, Captain of this ship. Thank you for considering my offer. You are as much in need of allies as I am.”
“It's our pleasure.” That's Teyla, the athosian woman, speaking. Erinya assumes, she's been put in charge of diplomacy with other Pegasus-native peoples. “Your contact in Atlantis, Dr. Thorne, has told us that you may hold valuable information?”
Straight to the point. Erinya is thankful for that. Every second she spends here, holding her head up high, is a strain.
“We do, yes.” Helena lowers her head slightly, a respectful gesture. “My... endeavors have brought to an unlikely ally. I'm aware of strange this may sound for you, but I've been given intel about a massive, new Wraith-alliance gathering on our horizons... by a Wraith.”
A shift goes through the assembled people.
“Not something we're unfamiliar with.” the dark-haired man, Sheppard, says, a hint of mockery in his voice. “What's he told you?”
“She.” Helena corrects him. “A Queen has risen, and she's apparently incredibly charismatic. I don't know much about it, but I do know that she's gathered an impressive fleet around her.”
She visibly hesitates.
“Additionally,” she adds, “She's made a good number of my people her worshippers. Not too long ago, my ship was attacked by one of my own. My Wraith contact may just want her out of the way, but for me, it is a lot more... personal.”
“That is very understandable.” Teyla replies, her tone soft and kind. Obviously, Helena's anger about this particular issue isn't an act at all. Erinya can tell, just by looking at her. “Do you know if this fleet will attempt to harm us? Did you contact reveal this to you?”
Helena shakes her head.
“Not confirmed, no. She says, she assumes as much, but according to her own statements, she's not on the inside of that alliance.” she replies. “However, I'd say it's likely. You hold they keys to your home-planet, don't you? My contact told me that this planet is still of interest to the Wraith.”
“If I may,...” Erinya has raised one hand, politely stepping in. “Mr. Woolsey, I hope this is alright to reveal – we have our own Wraith-contact, do we not? Hasn't he been in custody, useless and starving? Now, that we have to deal with the Wraith again, we might have to request his help again.”
She feels a few glares on her, her heart races. This is a bold move, and she knows it.
“We don't trust him.” Sheppard tells her, his voice dangerously low.
“I know, Colonel, but he might still be useful. I doubt we have the resources to fend off a massive fleet, even with Miss Helena's aid. Or do we?” Erinya catches Helena's warning glance.
“She is right. Wraith are not to be trusted, but they can be exploited.” Helena supports her, and Erinya can't help but admire her for the sincere tone she manages. “If you do have a prisoner, I would... much like to interrogate him myself.”
Teyla draws breath to speak, but Woolsey cuts her off.
“We will discuss this.” he states. “In the meantime, you're invited to stay in our guest quarters, if you may?”
“I thank you for the offer, Mr. Woolsey, but I am comfortable orbiting your planet for the time being.” Helena politely declines. “I do urge you to make your decision quickly. I wish to free my people of the Wraith's grasp as soon as possible.”
“Of course. We'll be in touch.” Teyla manages to say before the connection is terminated from Helena's side.
Erinya watches helplessly, as the big names of Atlantis retreat into the conference room, leaving her behind, trembling from heat and uncertainty.
Days pass by, and Erinya's condition gets worse by the minute. Keller's message that the allied ship has 'volunteered' to treat her sickness in exchange for interrogating Guide on their terms is more than a relief.
She's escorted into the Gate-Room with most of her own, personal things, leaving behind the belongings she'd gathered during her stay in Atlantis, to mask the fact that she is not planning to return. It takes a lot out of her to stand still for Helena's transporter system to latch onto her, but when she finally materializes on the bridge, she nearly cries.
Helena has her back to her, taking a moment to thank Atlantis for their trust, before shutting down the connection, rushing over to prevent Erinya from falling to her knees.
“You look awful.” she states.
“I feel awful.” she responds. “Is he here?”
“He is. The marines they sent along with him are enjoying our hospitality in a guest room. I insisted on having my people 'guard' him.” Helena explains to her. “Come. It's been a long time.”
She lets Erinya steady herself on her arm, and leads her through the corridors.
Anticipation has Erinya's flames burn brighter than before. She's played this game before, herself, overflowing with life, so much that it hurts, facing a starving Wraith.
His escape together with the Lanthian, Sheppard, had given her the opportunity to flee the facility herself, and ever since, they've held contact. His final message, informing her that he was going to place himself in lanthian custody again, was what started her little undercover-maneuver, after all.
Helena stops in front of one of the guest quarters.
“Take your time.” she says, and lets go of Erinya's arm.
Her hand shakes, when she touches the sensor that opens the doors.
The room is darker than the well-lit corridors, and it takes her a moment to adjust to the lack of light.
Guide sits on a padded bench, facing the door, dressed in one of the grey jumpsuits Erinya's seen on crewmen of the Daedalus before.
He looks terrible.
His eyes are more sunken than usual, and shadowed by dark circles. All his features look sharper, his skin dry and paled.
Yet, he sits up straight, hands balled to fists, and resting on his knees.
Erinya almost feels ashamed for her own lack of dignity in this situation, although she's rather positive he doesn't feel much better than her.
“Why do you even keep doing this?” she mutters, approaching him, a rhetorical question, but she swears she sees him smirk briefly.
“Why do you?” he counters weakly, his feeding hand twitches impatiently, and Erinya hurries to take a seat next to him.
“Nevermind that.” she cuts any impending discussion short, and dislodges the zipper on her jacket when she violently yanks it down. Now, so close to relief, her fire threatens to consume her. Her head spins, but she has enough clarity to notice the hungry expression in Guide's eyes, while he lifts his hand, and delicately places it on her chest.
“Hurry,” she complains, seconds before the initial pain of the incision hits her. As soon as their systems are connected, her fire rushes out of her, as if Guide had pulled the plug on a bathtub full of molten rock.
Her vision blurs, and she hears him hiss, feels his off hand on her shoulder as he drains her. The room sways before her, and she feels her forehead hit something soft – his chest?, while her hands lock around his wrist.
The pain lessens, and she feels him preparing to withdraw, a jolt of pain surges through her veins.
“No-... Please. Not yet.” Erinya presses forth, and feels Guide obediently raise the pressure again.
Her knees feel weak.
For a moment, she's back in the Genii facility strapped down, arching into his healing touch, into his hand that takes the fire away.
She whines, but the low,pleasant rumble in Guide's chest keeps her calm. She's fine. She's safe. That place no longer exists.
The firm grip on her shoulder is gone. Instead, she feels his off hand on her back. He must've noticed her brief panic.
Again, the pressure slowly fades, the ebb of her life force stilling, punctuated sharply by the pain of him unlatching his feeding organ from her.
“Better?” he inquires.
“Much better.” Erinya raises her head and takes a more upright position. “You have no idea how awful this was. I knew you were there, but I couldn't... I just couldn't reach you.”
“I appreciate your concern regardless.” Amusement underlines his tone. “You deployed yourself in Atlantis directly after learning of my plans?”
Erinya pulls up her shoulders.
“I know how terrible it is for you to starve.” she tells him, and notices a shift in demeanor. “I'm sorry I couldn't be there earlier.”
“You have nothing to apologize for.” Guide replies, making his voice sound as soft as possible. “I know, you suffered too.”
“I had hoped we'd never have to walk through the fire like this again.” she breathes. “Try to avoid putting yourself in positions like this in the future, if you may.”
“If circumstances allow it.”
She isn't looking at him, but she knows that he's smiling.
Chapter 6: 5
Warning - contains Wraith-hand-fingering.
What am I doing with my life.
Ivory runs her hands over the intricately crafted bodice she's wearing. It's made of finest leather, with detailed stitchwork along its shape, adorned with tiny jewels. Underneath, the garment fans out into a wide, silken skirt, slit on thigh-level.
She's never been the type for a gown.
Even less, for a throne.
Alone in the large room her throne resides in, she taps her finger on the armrests, her newly-applied, blue finger armor causing a much sharper sound than she's used to, from claws alone.
Ivory sighs deeply.
This is what she's born for. Her destiny, her purpose. And yet, it feels so alien and uncomfortable.
The crew has accepted her without much effort on her part. They're hopelessly understaffed, a wild ragtag-group of Wraith nobody else wants. Outcasts, traitors, defectors. Just like her.
Yet, they still insist on addressing her with utter devotion; Ivory assumes, they miss being under a Queen's rule. Submission gives them comfort, while dominance makes her uncomfortable.
The doors to her lonely chamber slide open, and Shine, her new first in command enters, head bowed in respect.
He's a battle-worn Blade, just a little younger than Ivory herself is. A gnarled scar runs across his left cheek, and continues down his neck, vanishing under his collar. It must've been a severe injury, if a Wraith's self healing capabilities had allowed it to scar this badly.
Shine has soft, shoulder-length hair, yet he does not seem to care much for it, simply keeps his long bangs tied together in the back, so they're out of his face.
“My Queen,” he speaks to her, his telepathic voice still makes Ivory squirm, as she's used to verbal communication.
“What is it?” she asks, out loud, and hears him clear his throat, as he adjusts to her preferred ways to conversation.
“We managed to analyze the data you gave us.” he reports, and hands her a tablet.
Nodding, she takes it, and skims over the writing, thankful for forcing herself to read Wraith in her leisure time. Otherwise, her language skills may have declined over the centuries.
Here, on a real Hive, things work a lot different than on Helena's base ship. Ivory's little tactic would never have found approval there.
Just before Helena had left for Death's gathering, Ivory had taken the liberty to plant a small sensor on her clothing, to gather data on the fine ebbs and flows of energy on the Hive, and on Death herself. Getting it on, and retrieving it was hardly a challenge.
Helena trusts her, after all, and their relationship allows Ivory to get very up close and personal to her.
“This is deeply disconcerting.” she announces to Shine, who is still standing by, awaiting further orders. “The readings show massive power movement and fluctuation, in patterns unlike anything I've ever seen.”
“I agree, my Queen.” he says, his voice coarse. As well as Ivory isn't accustomed to mental speech, he's struggling with the verbal version. “Our clevermen presume that Death is working on a large-scale project of some fashion. Unfortunately, the gathered data isn't sufficient to learn of said project's nature.”
“I can see that.” Ivory agrees. “Death's plans for this galaxy do seem to entail more than brute force by outnumbering her adversaries. I need to know what she plans.”
“I am at your service, my Queen.”Shine sounds a little too eager, when he states that, as if he's still trying to prove himself worthy of her attention.
Ivory doesn't miss that.
She leans forward, her skirts rustling with the motion.
“I want you to infiltrate her.” she instructs. “Offer your assistance, tell her you have information on a certain Vampire who opposed her. String her along, and gather information.”
“Anything my Queen wishes.” Shine's response follows without a second of hesitation.
“However, I must arm you for the task, Shine.” She gets up, seeing him look up to her on the mention of his name. “Death has swayed many of our brothers and sisters with little effort. I do not want you to fall to her charms.”
“I assure you, my Queen, I-...”
“No. We do not know what she is capable of. I must bind you to myself.”
Shine nods slowly, and reaches up to unclasp his heavy leather coat, just enough to allow a hand in. His hands sink to his sides again, and Ivory sees a hint of fear in his carefully crafted neutral masque.
She steps toward him, and places her feeding hand on the strip of naked skin he's exposed for her.
When she latches her feeding organ to his skin, his eyes widen, and he bites down on his lower lip, hard enough to break skin.
Ivory pulls, feels him wither under her touch as she feeds. It's intense. Very.
No amount of playing around with Helena's life could have prepared her for the experience of feeding on another Wraith. While she's accustomed to tasting her lover's essence, this is a step further. She's pulling him out of his physical shell, not his life, his soul. He's suddenly an entity, existing on an entirely different plane of consciousness, together with her, with her hand on his heart.
Ivory didn't notice herself clenching her eyes shut, until she actively forces them open again. Shine hasn't flinched.
His features are sunken and frail, his breath flat, leaving him in short huffs, his face dominated by an expression of raw agony, but he hasn't made an attempt to stop her.
Carefully, Ivory stops the drain, and reverses the flow. Shine's eyes widen for a different reason, as she pumps his life back into him.
This time, she watches.
With every beat of her heart, now synched up to his, the vitality returns to him, filling the deep pits of his withered visage, the grey tint leaving his skin, and his eyes regaining their glow. He has his hand around her wrist, and his grip gets firmer.
That reaches her on a mental level again, and Ivory forces herself to mimic his way of speech.
“There is no one but me for you.” she tells him, and she fills him with her power. “Death has no sway on you. I do. Only I do.”
His lips part, as he draws breath, his gaze glued to hers. Ivory reverses the flow of life for a few seconds, then returns to giving energy back.
“Tell me, Blade. Who has your loyalty?”
“Only you, my Queen.” he whispers, his verbal voice a faint breeze. “Only you.”
“Good.” she praises him, and gently unlatches, her hand easily slipping from his grip.
Shine trembles and nearly loses balance, but manages to steady himself again.
“Do you feel ready to face her?” Ivory inquires, while retreating back to her throne.
“Yes, my Queen.” A whole new sense of devotion radiates from him as he speaks.
“Then go feed, and depart.” she orders. “Do not disappoint me, Shine.”
“I shall not, my Queen.” Shine's voice sounds a little firmer, now that the rush of the moment has passed.
Ivory knows exactly what's going on inside his head right now. The Gift of Life from a Queen is one of the greater honors a Wraith can receive. She's just risen him in status through the touch of her hand.
As he leaves, she notices him not making an effort to hide the feeding wound, or the blood the process has stained him with.
Traces of his Queen's favor. Everything she'll do here will be sacred to the crew.
The doors close behind Shine, and Ivory exhales audibly. She raises her feeding hand, and examines Shine's black blood staining the slit.
It's supposed to be red.
Helena's red blood, on her hand.
Her heart, her life flowing through her veins.
Her fangs on her throat.
A sharp hiss escapes her. She'd absent-mindedly caressed her feeding slit, parted the outer membranes, and run her finger along its insides.
It's sensitive to the touch. A searing pain rushes through her arm, when she digs a claw into the mucus-covered inside of the organ. A dribble of dark blood seeps out, mixes with Shine's blood on her palm, and runs down her arm.
Ivory experimentally trails her finger across the mending wound, and shivers. It hurts. But not necessarily in a bad way. She angles her index-and middle finger in a way that minimizes the risk of stabbing herself again, and pushes the pads of her fingers into the delicate opening.
It's not deep, reaches in about half as far as her palm is thick. Pushing to its limits aches, and Ivory allows herself to moan softly.
Enzyme seeps out of the organ, bright red on her hands. That helps.
She can pretend it's Helena's blood.
Her index finger trails along the outside membrane again, and her sensory pits on her face flare.
She can pretend it's Helena's fingers, if she closes her eyes.
“... She left last week, and that's where we are, fact wise.” Helena closes her briefing. “Ivory promised to let me know, once she makes any significant progress.”
“And she hasn't reported back yet, I presume?” Guide asks. He looks a lot better, now that he's no longer starving, and, more importantly, no longer wearing a grey jumpsuit.
“No. It's still early, I'm sure she's in no distress.” Helena confirms and leans back a little.
Her, Guide, and most of her crew have assembled in a large, conference-type room, near the Captain's Quarters.
Those very, very empty Captain's Quarters.
Silence falls, if only briefly. It's Guide that breaks it.
“Atlantis will expect me back.” he states. “I am your 'Prisoner', officially, if my information is correct?”
“We negotiated your temporary transfer.” Helena says, folding her hands on the desk. “But, if you have any leverage to convince them that you're of more use here...?”
“I might.” he shrugs slightly. “Allthough, they do enjoy keeping me in check. Perhaps a little show of power is in order, to solidify your... relations with them?”
Helena raises her brows, and Erinya pulls a face.
“He means, treat him like dirt and let them see it.” she translates.
“You're not fond of that idea.” Helena assumes.
“No, I am not. We could just leave. They don't have a way of tracking us. We could just stop this charade.” Erinya sounds slightly desperate, both Guide and Helena catch onto that.
“That would be very unwise.” Guide tells her, emphasizing on every word individually. “If what your Captain speaks of is true, we will need Atltantis' favor.”
“There has to be a way to gain their trust in this matter that doesn't involve hurting you.” she stubbornly counters.
“No one said anything about hurting him, Erinya.” Helena chimes in. “I'm positive, letting them see Guide in chains under our supervision will be enough. Remember, they think we're human.”
“I assure you, I do not like the idea of being treated like an animal in your custody myself.” Guide says. “But it is necessary. I trust you enough for this, so I will ask you to trust my judgement, at the very least.”
Erinya straightens herself.
“I want to be present.” she demands.
“That can be arranged.” Helena tells her, smiling empathetically. “I suggest, we play this off through video transmission. That leaves some room for error.”
“Agreed. I do suggest waiting for intel from Ivory.” Guide says, “That way, you can play her intel off as the result of my interrogation.”
“Good point. Then, we're just waiting on her.”
Chapter 7: 6
Guide has a bad time, and Helena is very amused.
Shine still feels the euphoria prickling in his veins when he steps before Queen Death. It's been days since his new Queen had honored him so, but the pride and and sensation of her Gift still linger. He's reluctantly hiding the half-scarred wound on his chest, well aware that he can't flaunt this mark here, in enemy territory.
Queen Death is beautiful.
She looks like the night itself, like the vast emptiness of space, daunting, but fascinating. Her eyes focus him, as she inspects her new apparent servant, and her lips curl into a courtly smile.
Shine's breath hitches, but he reminds himself of the blissful touch, this wonderful pressure of his Queen's hand on his chest, then forces himself to look Death in the eye.
“I have information.” he speaks, crystal clear, without any sign of hesitation. “On an enemy of yours, my Queen.”
The word nearly pains him to say. This is not his Queen. This is his enemy, and how he'd like to dispose of her right now, slay her where she stands.
But that is not his Queens will. So he endures.
“Do tell. Let us see if you are as useful as you are pretty.” she teases, and crosses her legs.
He senses an intrusion on his mind, and closes his eyes for a moment, conjuring up the memory of his Queen speaking his name.
Only her. Only his Queen.
“Certainly. I carry a detailed report on your foe's defense systems with me. I'm positive you will find it intriguing.” He produces a tablet from the inner pockets of his coat, loaded with faked data on the Vampire's ship, just informed enough to seem genuine.
Death's eyes narrow, not understanding how he manages to resist.
She does not know, Shine muses, that he's his Queen's Chosen. Her Knight.
With a polite smile, he hands her the false data, and bows to her,
“If I may retreat, my Queen?” he requests, feeling like his Queen is still with him. Nothing can harm him here. Not with her blessing.
My sources are confirming that Queen Death is working on some sort of device, the nature of which I cannot discern yet. I have detetced massive energy fluctuations on her ship, that worry me deeply. I have sent a spy, and am expecting his report very soon.
Having a man inside Death's inner circle will be of immeasurable value, and I do believe that we have a chance, if we play our cards right..
Regardless, do be on your guard.
I am still establishing a few things on my Hive, but as soon as I finish up, I will return to you. I miss you dearly.
Helena sets her tablet down on her lap and clears her throat.
Guide is with Erinya, in the back area of the bridge, both hunched over a screen depicting the energy readings Ivory sent as an attachment to her message. Both of them look rather frustrated, not quite able to make sense of the readings.
“It's abnormal.” Guide confirms. “A Hive's energy flow looks very different, it's too erratic at certain points, and too controlled on others. I share your companion's concerns.”
“So you have no idea what she could be working on?” Helena asks, and the Wraith slowly shakes his head.
“As I said – It is unlike anything I have ever seen.” he states. “Whatever this is, it is an entirely new technology, and based on Death's characterization so far, it is likely a weapon.”
“She is a war-monger, yes.” Helena rubs her temples. “But, on the plus-side, this gives us something to tell Atlantis. It doesn't seem too far fetched that you'd know about it.”
“True. Additionally, the lack of information may be used as a reason to keep me in custody.” Guide ignores Erinya's pained expression. “To coax more out of me.”
Helena rises from her seat.
“Well, no use putting it off any longer. Ready to get in costume?”
There's no response from Guide, instead he just gets up and turns to leave the bridge. Helena has asked him to change back into his jumpsuit for the purposes of this demonstration, something he really does not seem to be happy about.
Erinya shoots her Captain a glance, and follows Guide.
It doesn't take her long to catch up to him, after all, he's in no hurry whatsoever to get back into that outfit.
“It's just for a few minutes.” she assures him.
“Just yesterday, it was me who sold this idea to you.” Guide responds.
“Well, yesterday, you didn't know you had to wear that rancid suit again, did you?” Erinya can't help but reach for his off hand, as they walk down the hallway.
“I did not. But make no mistake, I would have agreed regardless.” he responds, and casually closes his hand around hers. Even now, with moderate energy levels, Erinya feels like his skin is ice cold, against her own.
“A sacrifice you're willing to make.” she hums.
“Helena will owe me for this.” he clarifies, and turns to enter his guest-quarters.
It's a very simple room, with just bare necessities in it, and hardly any personal items, strictly functional in nature.
Guide does not seem to mind.
His jumpsuit sits neatly folded at the edge of his bed, and he lets out a hoarse sigh, regarding it sceptically.
“Just a few minutes.” Erinya reminds him gently.
“I know. I am merely convincing myself that this is worth my dignity.” he responds, his voice sounding a little sharper as he does.
“It is. If we surrender you back to Atlantis, you will starve again. Here, you have me. Your infinite food source.” Erinya argues, and lightly pats his shoulder. “I'll be beside you during the transmission.”
He regards her with an unreadable expression, before turning around, and ridding himself of his coat. Soon enough, the only piece of his usual garments that remains, are his boots. Him and Erinya have never had any issues with nudity among each other before. After all, their first meeting had taken place in a Genii laboratory room, with Erinya, naked and delirious, strapped to a table.
He picks up the suit and rubs the fabric between his fingers.
“I will burn this, once the transmission is done with.” he lets Erinya know, and hisses at her chuckle, before maneuvering himself into the suit.
Eventually, he straightens his posture, and dusts off his shoulders.
“It's not so bad.” Erinya comments, lying through her teeth. It's really, really bad.
“Grey is not my color.” Guide replies, completely stone-faced. “Let's get this over with, shall we?”
She escorts him back through the corridors, to the bridge, not failing to notice him flexing his hands, as most Wraith do when angered or uncomfortable.
It's only going to get worse, she thinks, and shoots him a careful glance before entering the bridge again.
Helena rummages through a container filled with various implements meant to restrain prisoners, only to look up as the doors open.
“Ah, Guide. Looking good.” she comments, and he snarls at her.
“I will not have any further comments on my appearance, thank you very much.” he insists, and Helena grins, holding up a pair of shackles.
“Of course not. Now, let's accessorize, shall we?” she says, sets the box aside and walks toward him, rattling the chains in her hands.
“I'm getting the impression that you draw a lot more enjoyment from this than you should.” he growls.
“Ah, let me have my fun. I don't get to tie up a grown Wraith that often.” she chirps, and he offers his hands to her.
“I would much prefer not making this a habit.” he says, while Helena shackles him, leaving the chains unlocked.
“Of course not. We're ready!” She gives her crewmen a thumbs up, draws a pistol from her belt, and leads Guide closer to the big window at the front of the ship. “Try struggling a little. Makes it more believeable.”
He grits his teeth, and growls again. Helena isn't sure if it's genuine or part of the act, as the transmission channel opens, just as he does.
The image of the lanthian higher-ups appears on the large window, John Sheppard and his team, as well as Mr. Woolsey. Woolsey greets them with a nod, and Sheppard smirks, acknowledging the weapon pointed at Guide.
“I see, you and Todd get along?” he opens, and Helena raises a brow.
“He means me.” he clarifies, and tugs against Helena's fake death-grip on his arm.
“What? 'Todd'? Really?” she adresses Guide more than Sheppard.
“I assure you, that was not my idea.” he says, looking genuinely annoyed at this point. “May we proceed? The less time I have to spend with a weapon pointed at my face, the more cooperative I will be.”
“I take it, you have news?” Woolsey interrupts that little banter.
“Oh, we do. Our guest, um... Todd has given us very intriguing information. That's why he's here, I wanted him to tell you personally.” Helena explains cheerfully, willfully ignorant of the death glare Guide shoots her.
“Very intriguing, huh? Well, let's hear it, then.” Sheppard urges.
Guide remains silent, to give Helena an opportunity to show force. She catches onto it, and presses her pistol against his temple.
“Don't be shy, Todd.” she purrs, clearly enjoying this way too much.
“Queen Death is working on a weapon, previously unheard of, even among my people.” he explains, doing an excellent job at sounding annoyed. “It is a work in progress, as far as my intel goes, but it s reason for concern.”
Silence falls for a few seconds, then Sheppard steps a little closer to the screen.
“Anything else about that weapon you'd like to share? How it works, for example? Or literally anything useful?” he prods, and Helena takes the cue to tug aggressively on Guide's arm.
“I do not know more than you.” he claims. “As I just said, this type of weapon is entirely new. I cannot give you what I do not have, Sheppard.”
“You're lying. He's lying, isn't he? I think he's lying.” McKay, the scientist chimes in.
“He may be.” Helena shrugs. “I ca interrogate him further, if you'd like me to? I mean, I already got this much out of him.”
“That would be appreciated, Helena.” Woolsey responds. “If you can, I would also ask you to check back with your Wraith contact on this issue.”
“I will, but no promises. She's rather elusive.” Helena states, and gives them a polite nod. “I'll resume my talks with Todd, then.”
She gives her crewmen a sign to end the transmission, sheathes her weapon, and lets go of Guide's arm.
Immediately, he pulls the shackles off his wrists, and unceremoniously drops them on the ground.
“Call me 'Todd' one more time.” he growls, and Helena can't help but grin.
“Whose idea was that, anyway?” she asks him, and he sighs.
“Sheppard's. He has a habit of distributing names to Wraith.” he explains. “I can live with him addressing me this way, but from you?”
Erinya doesn't think she's ever seen him this annoyed before.
“Come, let's get you out of this monstrosity.” she offers, and gestures to the door they entered through.
“Please,” Guide responds, and hurries to her side.
Chapter 8: 7
Happy Valentine's day! Consider this a special, since it's just smut. Glorious, glorious smut.
My first attempt thereof, actually, so do let me know what you think!
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“and I fall, shattering my knees
you're the only one I see
you're the only one who knows me”
In This Moment – Rib Cage
At last, my initial work on our new ship is completed. I have instructed my Hive Master to set a course on your current location, so we may meet up. Preparations for me to lead the Hive from afar are in progress.
I shall return to you soon.'
Helena's fingertips trace lightly over the letters on her tablet's screen. She's alone in her quarters, re-reading Ivory's message over and over again, even though it has been several days since it reached her.
The vast emptiness of space on her large window, Helena leans against the cool glass. This is the first time in centuries she's been separated from her lover, and she struggles more than she cares to admit.
It's not even the hunger flaring up in her chest that troubles her most, – that too, of course, as she refuses to feed on anyone but Ivory – it's the long, lonely nights in a bed that's much too large for one person.
Helena's gotten used to the sound of Ivory's slow, regulated breathing, and finds trouble coming to rest without it. Her scent, the faint hint of patchouli from her skin, inherent to her body, and the jasmine-scented traces of soap from her hair.
God, her hair.
Helena missed falling asleep, nuzzled in these silky, soft strands of silver. Wraith have more hair than other humanoids, but theirs are much thinner, causing the odd softness, regardless of overall texture. And Ivory, who takes very good care of herself, takes it up to eleven.
She's just about to fantasize about Ivory's long fingers gently running through her own hair, her claws lightly trailing along her scalp, when a message alert forces her back into reality.
'Guess who?' the letters spell, and a split second later, the greenish glow of a hyperspace window lights Helena's room.
It spits out a Hive, a good ten times bigger than the comparatively tiny Vampire Base Ship, and Helena's screen flickers with another message.
'I am picking up Ivory's subspace transmitter from that Hive, Captain. She's requesting to be beamed on board. May I?” says the message, signed with Lorelai's initials.
'Permission granted.' Helena hurries to type, and jumps off her seat.
She's halfway to the door when it opens, and a very familiar face greets her.
There she stands, Ivory, in all her new, queenly glory. Helena nearly drops her tablet.
Ivory's white locks are pulled back and intricately braided, with subtle, black gems set on the braid. It's draped loosely over her shoulder, contrasting her shimmering, dark leathers.
Her gown is shoulderless, leaving skin bare to accentuate her petite form, and show the finely drawn hive marks on her upper back, those that Helena loves to trace.
The dark shine of her bodice is wonderful in combination with her pale, green skin, and the fine veins showing through its mild translucency.
She's breathtakingly beautiful.
Helena realizes that she's been staring at her for a good minute, Ivory's smile getting wider with each second.
“Seen enough, love?” she asks, the faint, wraith-typical hiss in her voice sending shivers down Helena's spine.
“Not nearly.” she mutters, steps up, and takes her off hand, leading her into the room. The doors slide shut behind her.
Ivory entwines her fingers with hers, and caresses Helena's cheek with the back of her feeding hand. The cold sensation of metal catches her off guard, and she takes her feeding hand too, examining the newly added finger guards.
“We'll have to get rid of those. They aren't attached to your skin, are they?” she asks, and feels Ivory chuckle soundlessly.
“Get your mind out of the gutter, love.” she scolds her. “But yes. They are detachable for special occasions.”
Helena huffs, and runs her fingers over her exposed arms.
“Not quite on board with getting my mind out of the gutter.” she hums, and her hands meet on Ivory's back, toying with the lacing of her bodice. That close, she presses her lips on her pulse point, and sighs, enjoying how it throbs against her.
“Hungry?” Ivory asks, while continuing Helena's aborted fantasy from earlier, running her hands through her hair, as they stand in their embrace.
“For you.” Helena mutters.
“As am I. I have not fed ever since I left.” Ivory lets her know, and Helena smiles against her neck. So, the feeling is mutual after all.
Helena pulls back, and unzips her jacket.
“Perhaps we should start with you? I know how bad hunger is for you...” She leaves her sentence open, as if she plans to add something, but never does.
Savoring the moment, Ivory traces her claw from Helena's temple, over her cheek, down her neck, before letting her hand rest on her chest. Her slitted pupils widen gradually, as she lets the hunger wash over her.
When she seals her feeding organ on Helena's skin and begins drawing in her life force, everything feels right again. She raises her chin, and snarls, feeling her lover's heat rush through her veins like liquid fire.
It's raw and primal.
Her entire body attuned to Helena, breathing and heartbeat in synch, and she becomes aware of every single cell in her lover's body, every shift and shudder of her form, as she relishes the pain being fed on brings.
Ivory exhales with a hissing sound, and gently slows the flow of energy, until it dies off completely. She leaves herself attached to Helena, feeling her life course under her palm.
“Your turn, love.” she announces breathlessly, and pulls her into her arms again, discreetly unlatching her hand.
Helena nuzzles the nape of her neck, and her tongue darts out, drawing circles on the thin skin. Taking her time, Helena pulls some skin between her teeth and sucks until it bruises, lightly applying pressure with her dull front teeth.
Ivory hums. It feels insanely good, and she bends her neck slightly, to give Helena better access.
“Fangs, love. I want to feel them.” she urges, and is instantly rewarded with a sharp, stinging pain, right where Helena had rested her lips shortly before.
Her long canines sink effortlessly into Ivory's delicate skin; that is what they're made for. Normally, Helena's bite would be a lot quicker and nearly pain-free, due to how sharp her teeth are, but the breaking of skin is the best part about this for her. So, she very slowly lowers them, causing the incision more through pressure than shaprness.
Immediately upon opening her vein, Ivory's blood spills, filling Helena's mouth so fast, it leaks out on one side.
Greedily, she swallows and sucks more out of her, without worrying much about blood loss. Ivory is freshly fed, she regenerates it quicker than Helena can draw it from her.
It's metallic on her tongue, but as opposed to humans, Wraith always have a tangy quality to their blood.
Warmth spreads through her body, from her throat into her fingertips, and she feels her body thrive from the nourishment.
Ivory moans under her fangs, and she feels the bite of claws on her back. With a gasp, she withdraws, licks her lips and smiles serenely at her lover.
“You made a mess,” Ivory teases, and her thumb trails up her own neck, picking up the dribble of blood running down from the already healing wound.
She presses her bloody thumb on Helena's lips, and her togue darts out, licking it clean.
“What can I say? I'm very eager.” she defends herself, smiling suggestively.
“I would love to see just how eager you are, my love.” Ivory's tone mirrors hers, and she steps away backwards, unclasping her bodice as she walks.
It slips off her body, along with her skirts, and the gown pools around her ankles. Ivory daintly steps out of it, and sits down on the edge of the bed, crossing her legs.
What a power move, Helena thinks to herself, while most definitely staring at her underwear-clad lover.
“If you'll allow me,...” she purrs, creeping closer, and eventually sinking to her knees in front of Ivory. Her hands wander up her shins, to her knees, enticing Ivory to uncross her legs.
Smiling, she releases the tension in her legs, and allows Helena to bend them out of her way. Helena's hands ghost over the insides of her thighs, and Ivory catches herself making a very un-queenly, needy sound.
“Are you in a hurry, dear?” Helena asks, her breath torturously warm against her thigh, as she has just leaned in to kiss it.
“Who knows? I might have an appointment.” Ivory manages to counter, just to shudder as the vibration of Helena's chuckle hits her.
“You better cancel. We might be a while.”
Helena's hands are on her hips, thumbs hooked underneath her panties, but she hesitates.
“May I?” she asks, now without her playful, teasing undertone.
Ivory nods. “Please.”
This is one of the moments, in which Ivory curses Helena's superhuman speed, because she's already bare, not even having seen her move.
The cool air against her sex makes her twinge, and she can't decide if she likes it or not. Helena's fingers, lightly massaging her however, she has a much clearer opinion on.
Wraith are anatomically very similar to humans, but they do have differences, especially when it comes to genitalia. Normally, Ivory's vulva would be shielded and hidden behind two sheets of thick, carapace-like substance, layered over her labia majora, lightly ridged, and almost entirely unfeeling.
Not that this would be an issue now. She's wide open, the sheets having parted in the middle, and retracted into her thighs, only a small strip remaining visible.
Helena's almost disappointed. One of her favorite parts of this is to slowly make Ivory open up for her.
She leans closer, and begins by scattering light kisses on Ivory's pubic bone, smiling at her impatient growl for a moment, before gently parting her folds with her tongue, and going to town on her.
Ivory sharply sucks in breath, and falls down to her back, propping herself up on her elbows, while Helena's tongue flicks against her clit. The sensation ripples through her like lightning, and she feels her toes involuntarily curl.
“Talk to me, dear.” Helena encourages her, briefling making eye contact, before latching her entire mouth onto her, and sucking.
“...can't.” Ivory managed to articulate, and resorts to hissing instead, somewhat taken off guard by her lover taking her clit between her teeth and lightly tugging.
It hurts, just a tiny bit, enough to add to the experience.
Helena chuckles at her reaction, and retreats slightly, now just slowly circling the sensitive nub with her tongue. There's a tangy taste to her, not necessarily unpleasant.
Welcoming the brief respite, Ivory draws breath hard, and shifts her weight to her left arm, raising the right one to rest on her thigh.
“Helena-...” she presses forth. “Can you... here...?”
She's not the most eloquent person when aroused, but her lover understands her. Circling her clit one last time, she pulls back, and looks at her feeding hand.
“Your hand?” she asks, a bit breathless herself. Ivory nods, and complies without question, when Helena reaches underneath her knees, and lifts her legs on the bed as well, turning her body vertical on the sheets.
She stands up, and undresses in a very unspectacular way, simply ridding herself of clothing, but Ivory's eyes are locked on her regardless.
They're blown wide, only a thin, golden ring remaining of her irises.
Helena strides over to the bed again, and pins Ivory down, straddling her thigh and pushing her own knee against her swollen vulva. Purring continuously, Ivory bucks her hips, grinding against her. With the grace of a predator, Helena reaches for her feeding hand, and brings it to her lips.
“Wait-... the armor, I...” Ivory stops her, and pulls her hand back to flick the metal parts off. “I might... claw your face.”
“Would just encourage me.” the Vampire lets her know, punctuating her statement with a hip roll. Ivory makes a tiny “Oh”-sound when she becomes aware of how wet her lover actually is.
“Now give me your hand.” Helena commands, and Ivory obeys quickly.
Her spindly fingers lock around her wrist, and Ivory closes her eyes, feeling the warm press of Helena's lips on her feeding slit. It flares eagerly, pulling apart, and she cups Helena's cheek.
“Hmm...” she hums, as if wondering what to do with her lover, helplessly pinned beneath her.
Her tongue traces the outline of the organ, flaming red liquid seeps from it in anticipation, Enzyme, which Helena confirms by tasting it. It makes her tongue twinge.
She glances past Ivory's thumb to observe her face, while she slowly pushes the tip of her tongue into the slit, acknowledging its internal heat. Tensing her thighs around Helena's leg, Ivory rolls her hips.
Her expression is glorious – eyes half closed, sensory pits flaring, and her lips parted, allowing a peek at her needle-sharp teeth. Sweat glistens on her skin, and strands that have fallen out of her braid stick to her face.
Ivory shifts a bit, bringing a her off hand between their bodies, and pushes two fingers inside Helena, rythmically curling them in a beckoning gesture.
Helena turns to exploring again. She's never really done this before, and only really interacted with Ivory's feeding slit for its intended purpose. Curiosity is a virtue. Her tongue dances within the slit, trailing along the outer corners, and pushing deeper every few seconds.
It's soft in there, soft, wet, and very warm. The membranes tense around the tip of her tongue occasionally, and after some gentle nips with her front teeth, she finds something form in the middle.
“Fuck,...” Ivory breathes. It must be really intense if it makes her collected, dignified self swear.
The implement feels more like cartilage than carapace to Helena's tongue, when she flicks it against the tip slowly potruding from the feeding slit. She feels the membrane lock around her tongue-tip, and a sting, followed by the familiar sensation of having her life drained, although on a much smaller scale.
The knot in her abdomen comes very close to bursting when Ivory's fingers inside her clench hard.
In fact, just about all of her does.
Her back arches, and she cries out, her feeding hand flexing against Helena's face, claws dragging over her cheek.
She rips it from her grip, and slams it on her chest again, feeding more viciously than before, if only for a moment.
Regardless, it suffices to send her over the edge too.
Curling up, and clinging to Ivory's arm, Helena presses against her, muffling her cry by sinking her fangs into her breast.
It takes them both several minutes to recover and unravel from each other.
Helena collapses on her back next to Ivory, who doesn't make much of an attempt to move just yet.
“Did you seriously feed on my tongue?” is the first thing she verbalizes, and Ivory laughs.
“It was there,” she responds. “You were the one licking my stinger.”
“It was there,” Helena parrots with a grin, her lips still feeling a little numb from the Enzyme.
Again, they laugh, enjoying the sensation of feeling the vibration in the other's body, until Ivory gets serious, flips to the side, and looks Helena in the eye.
“I missed you,” she admits. “I really did. This was a lot harder to endure than I anticipated.”
“Ship's been awfully empty without you.” Helena replies, reaching out to push a loose strand of hair behind Ivory's hair. “I'm glad to have you back by my side.”
Ivory reaches over her, and pulls her onto her side as well.
“Where I belong,” she whispers, before muffling any possible response in a kiss.
Hey, I'd like to thank the seven people who kudos'd me, and highly encourage you to either comment, or message me, because i LOOOOOVE talking about this fic.
Chapter 9: 8
Death's new weapon is revealed.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Helena's fingers move skillfully through the fine strands, as she works Ivory's hair back into a braid. It's still a bit wavy from being tied for a long time. After securing her work with a hair tie, she runs her hands over Ivory's exposed shoulders.
She's wearing her bodice, but substituted the skirt for her usual leather pants.
“Oh, my beloved,” Helena breathes against her neck. “how beautiful you are.”
Ivory turns her head to the side, and responds by planting a kiss on her lover's nose.
“You have been swooning over me all night, love.” she scolds. “I cannot leave you alone ever again, if you're all over me like this when I return.”
“That accomplishes all my goals.” Helena purrs, but shifts back to let Ivory stand up. “Regardless... we should go to the bridge. I'm sure, Erinya will be delighted to see you.”
“So, she's home?” Ivory inquires, while slipping into her boots.
“Mhm. Along with Guide. We 'hold him prisoner', for Atlantis.” Helena confirms, and peels herself off the bed as well.
“You successfully conned your way to their trust. I am impressed.” There's a playful glint in Ivory's eye; Helena knows, she didn't doubt her for a second.
“As I do.”
She smiles, hooks her arm with Ivory's, and they leave their quarters together.
Most of the crew gets up and turns toward them, when they reach the bridge, save for Erinya and Guide, who still brood over Ivory's data.
“Ah, good to see you, Ivory.” Erinya greets her. “Or do I address you with 'your Majesty' now?”
“Please do not. I have enough of that on my Hive.” she responds. “I see, you... both have recovered?”
Erinya nods, and Guide finally lifts his eyes from the data.
“We have, together.” he responds, sounding very much like he's not willing to linger on that subject. “I have been analyzing your data ever since I got here. It makes no sense. None of this even remotely suggests use for something tangible.”
“I know.” Ivory walks up behind them as she speaks, so she can read along. “My clevermen came to the same conclusion. It is something, but nobody knows what.”
“Which is precisely why we're headed for the outer areas of Queen Death's territory.” Helena adds, taking her Captain's Seat. “I hope to gather more readings on another Hive of hers.”
Guide looks up.
“She will not tolerate our trespassing.” he informs her sharply, and Helena shrugs.
“She wants us dead already, what more can she do?” she responds. “We'll act carefully, and remain camouflaged.”
“Camouflage?” he inquires, cocking his head to the side. “That's Ancient technology, is it not?”
Erinya lightly places a hand on his wrist.
“It's... inspired by the Ancients, yes, but it works differently.” she explains softly. “We have altered our hull in a way that prevents light from reflecting off it, meaning, we may not be undetectable by sensors, but we are invisible to the naked eye. It'll buy us enough time to collect at least some readings, because this... is hardly helpful.”
The Wraith growls in displeasure.
“They will tear us apart as soon as they detect us.” he says, but makes no effort to remove Erinya's hand from his arm.
“They won't. Our sensor range is longer than theirs, I have confirmed that with Ivory earlier. We may be smaller than a Hive, and less dangerous overall, but our range is a lot longer.” Helena assures him, just as the hyperspace window swallows the ship.
“We need to know what it is they're about to unleash on the Galaxy, Guide.” Ivory softly explains. “We are all well aware of the risk we are taking, but it needs to be done.”
He doesn't respond,just leans back in his seat, and lets out another disapproving noise. With a frown, Erinya studies him, unsure of how to convince him that her people's plan isn't a death sentence. After all, she hates seeing him upset, for whatever reason.
“How long will it take us to get there?” she eventually asks, and Helena looks over her shoulder.
“A few hours, presumably.” the Captain replies, and Erinya nudges Guide, nodding toward the door.
He gives her a long glare, but eventually gets up and follows her.
The door slides closed behind them, and her stops in his tracks, crossing his arms, looking at her expectantly.
Taking a moment to draw a deep breath.
“I wasn't going to make you admit this in front of the rest, but I know that you're afraid.” she drops the bomb on him, and his eyes narrow briefly.
“Whether or not I fear Queen Death is irrelevant. This is a foolish plan.” Neither denying nor admitting, he shifts his weight from one side to the other.
“Making a complete fool of Atlantis while in weapons range was also foolish. Or, I don't know, offering yourself as a prisoner in the first place, but I didn't see you complaining about that.” Erinya's bold move draws a snarl from him.
“That is something entirely different. I knew they would not have dared kill me.” he counters, visibly agitated. His voice has gained sharpness, and his underlying hiss is more prominent.
“But you also knew they wouldn't sacrifice another human to feed you, nor did you know that we were going to get you out, did you?” Erinya stands firm against his defense. “What I mean to say is, you endorsed other high risk-high reward plots. The only thing that's different now, is Queen Death.”
For a second, Erinya is certain that Guide is going to whip around, and leave her standing there without another comment, but instead, he just hisses again, before allowing his expression to soften.
“Would you understand? The closest any of you have ever come to a true Queen is Ivory.” he finally speaks. “And she is hardly comparable to Death. Even Helena, who has met her in person, does not understand.”
“What doesn't she understand?”
“Just how dangerous she really is. And how far she is willing to go to achieve her goals. You are all underestimating her. Severely so.”
Erinya sighs, reaches forward, and takes his feeding hand. Her thumb presses against the slit, and she steps closer, looking up to his face, establishing eye-contact.
“And you underestimate us, Guide.” she speaks, her tone firm and unshakable. “I understand that, I do. You were born to submit to someone like Death, and we all look human to you. Believe me, I understand your doubts, but I can assure you that we're up for the task.”
“Then leave me to my doubts.” he demands. “I cannot rid myself of them, and if you truly understand me, then you will accept this.”
“I do. I just don't like seeing you like this.” She releases his hand, and he raises it to rest it on her chest. Her heat, the endless life in her body beckons to him, and he closes his eyes, recalling her standing in his cell, lock pick in hand, radiating raw power to his parched form.
“I know.” he finally says, lingering in this position for a few heartbeats, before backing away, and returning to the bridge.
The remainder of the journey is spent in silence, both of them re-reading Ivory's data over and over again, without coming to any further conclusions. In a way, Erinya is happy about that, as it justifies this endeavor to Guide, who grows increasingly frustrated with the lack of results from his work. Multiple times, he gets up to pace in the hallway, and she lets him go alone.
“We have arrived. Exiting hyperspace, and engaging stealth protocol.” Ivory reports, having taken her seat on the master console, near Helena.
“Any signs of Death's fleet?” she asks, and Ivory nods briefly.
“Ahead, but faint. I presume, it is only one Hive.” she says, and Erinya feels Guide tense beside her. His hands clench into fists over the console's keys, but his face remains neutral.
“Excellent. Let us approach, then. Carefully.”
Minutes pass in tense silence, and Erinya sees a stream of new data appear on her screen. She skims it hurriedly, but it doesn't seem to make much more sense than the previous set.
“Stop. I'm detecting something odd.” Guide snaps, his voice almost making her flinch.
“New readings?” Helena inquires, and gestures at the young vampire operating the ship's engines to stop.
“Yes, but that isn't what I mean.” Guide's eyes flicker to Ivory, who has stiffened in her seat, brows furrowed.
Helena notices it too, and gets up, stepping toward Erinya and Guide.
“Talk to me. What are you sensing?”
He flexes his feeding hand, and shakes his head.
“I can't quite... discern it.” He's so tense, he physically trembles. “We need to turn back right now.”
“Captain? I don't... I don't feel so good.” a flimsy, little voice chimes in, and Helena barely has time to turn around before it hits her too.
And it hits hard, like a tidal wave.
Her vision goes red, a flaring, searing pain spreads from her chest all over her body. She cries out, and feels her knees hitting the ground, curling up into fetal position.
The pain throbs and pulses, convulsions running through her body as her veins shrivel and dry up.
Erinya shoots to her feet, while her Captain goes down before her, and Guide cringes, and falls off his seat beside her. Looking up, the entire bridge is in disarray like this, Vampires jamming their fangs into their own wrists, some passed out on the ground, others curled up like Helena, shivering, and drawing rattling breaths.
Ivory is on her knees, folded up and breathing heavily.
Panicked, she looks around herself, realizing that she's alone.
There's a painful twinge in back back of her throat, but whatever effect this is, her healing ability staves it off.
Her glance shifts down to Guide, who stares at her like she's the first rainfall in a desert, his feeding hand clamped shut.
Erinya takes a deep breath, and makes her way over to the navigator's console, stepping over him. He's stopped moving, she realizes with terror, but forces herself to focus in the task at hand. Pressing the necessary buttons, she sets a course to their previous location, where they met up with Ivory's Hive, and enters hyperspace.
As the blue glow fills the room, people begin to rouse.
Ivory is the first to get to her feet again, but Erinya is already back at Guide's side. He looks better somehow, releasing the tension in his body, and fighting himself to his feet again. She reaches out, and helps him up, then resorts to just staring at him with great concern.
“Are you... alright?” she inquires, terror still shaking her voice.
“I am now.” he croaks, and sinks back into his seat, surveying the situation.
Helena is up, and kneels beside the young navigator, fingers pressed on a pulse point.
“We've got a casualty.” she announces, her voice akin to an open grave.
“He died?” Guide asks.
“Yes, Guide. He died.” Helena responds, still with a very grim tone, and gets up. “What was that?”
“I do not know.” Guide responds. “I only know what you do.”
“What happened to you all? You all just... knelt over for no reason.” Erinya dares to ask.
“Not without reason.” Guide explains. “I was starving.”
“What? But... you fed just this morning!”
He straightens his posture, and seeks eye contact with Helena.
“You felt it too.” he assumes, and she nods.
“I believe it was the same for all of us.” her glance anxiously shifts to Ivory, who still reels from the assault. “Hunger. Sudden and excruciating. It killed one of my crew members.”
Finally, Ivory joins the small group.
“I initially thought it to be an illusion when I first sensed it.” she says, her voice a hoarse whisper. “But this child's demise proves me wrong. Guide, you and I sensed it first.”
“It's telepathy of some form, but stronger than anything I have ever come in contact with.” he confirms. “Helena. I believe we have found Death's fabled weapon.”
The Captain glares over to the cleanup crew collecting the body.
“He starved to death, in a matter of minutes. We may have suffered the same fate, had we not fed recently.” she breathes. “Ivory, set up a group to search the ship for more bodies. Preserve them, for examination. We need a way to counter this, because this prevents us from even getting close to our adversary.”
While Ivory begins rounding up Vampires for her search party, Erinya feels Guide's cool hand close around hers. He gently leads her outside, and into his quarters, passing the hallway without saying a word.
Once the door closes, he pins her to the wall, and slams his hand on her chest.
It hardly even hurts at this point.
Erinya inhales sharply, and pulls him closer by his hair as he feeds. Willingly obliging, Guide rests his head against the wall next to her face, pressing against her.
“You were unaffected.” he whispers.
“Had I been affected, we would have died.” she responds, placing her hand over his, and holding it in place.
“Is my fear justified to you now?” he rasps, and she nods, tears welling up in her eyes.
“It has been all this time.” Her hand wanders up his back and tangles in his hair.
It takes several minutes for him to release her, but when he does, he looks a lot calmer.
“Did it have lasting effects?” she asks, as he backs away from her, wiping the blood off his palm.
“Not physically.” is his brief response, and Erinya swallows hard.
Starvation is a touchy subject with him, and she genuinely believes him to suffer from some form of post-traumatic stress, due to his years of suffering in Genii custody.
Reaching for his hand, she gets closer again.
“You don't need to hold back, if you don't want to. You know, it doesn't harm me.” she implores him.
“No. I will be fine.” he refuses, and withdraws his hand from her grip. “You are not my personal food supply, and I don't want to treat you like it.”
Oh my goodness, my first non-anon kudos! Thanks for the milestone, friend!
Chapter 10: 9
Shine makes a friend.
Shine feels himself involuntarily breathe sharply in relief when the doors of his temporary quarters finally close behind him. He's spent most of his day with Death's clevermen, 'helping' them out, while discreetly extracting data from their consoles onto his tablet.
A few days ago, he was given a bracelet, and told to wear it on his right wrist at all times. Shortly afterwards, the energy flow he observes shifted dramatically.
He takes a few steps into the room and fidgets aimlessly with the bracelet. It's made of metal, only the core of it, sitting directly on his enzyme vein, has the organic structure of Wraith technology, and he hasn't managed to figure out how it works. At least not without having to take it off, which he does not dare.
With a sigh, he lets himself sink down on his bed, flips on his stomach, and places his tablet in front of him, powers it up, and begins typing.
I have discovered an array of interesting things during my stay on Death's Hive. She is working with the Vampires you mentioned, and it seems, they are combining their efforts on a technological level as well. My understanding of it is lackluster, as I am a Blade, not a Cleverman, but from what I gather, it is a telepathic weapon to assault our most basic, primal instinct – the need to feed.
The sound of his doorbell has him flinching. He hides the unfinished message under his blanket, and gets up to answer the door.
It opens with a hiss, and Shine takes a step backward.
Before him stands a Vampire, dark haired, dark skinned, and littered with metal augmentations all over her face. Her uncomfortably blue eyes flicker up to him, and she wordlessly brushes past him, into his room, and closes the doors behind her.
“I've been watching you.” she states, and he notices a similar implement to his bracelet around her neck. “I know what you're up to.”
“I'm afraid I do not know what you're talking about.” he attempts to deflect, but she shakes her head.
“You're an affiliate of Helena's, aren't you?” she accuses, and takes a step towards him. He backs off in response.
His feeding hand flexes, and his eyes dart around the room, for something to use as a weapon.
“Whom?” he asks, playing dumb, while being backed further into the wall by the Vampire.
“Death suspects you. Because you resist her. Says, you smell like...” she pauses, halting her approach. “...another Queen.”
Shine feels his racing pulse in his throat.
“So what if I do? Are you going to kill me right here and now? Or will you tell the Queen?” he snarls at her, his off hand having managed to lock around his stunner's grip on his belt. He's certain he can take her in combat, if he gets one stun off at her.
“No.” she responds, and her hand jerks forward, like an attacking snake, locking around his wrist and preventing him from drawing his weapon.
Their eyes lock, and he feels his slit pupils dilate.
“Tell me why you are here.” she demands and he bares his teeth at her, which she immediately mirrors. “I am not your enemy.” she adds.
His half-snarl fades in surprise and he stares, taken completely off guard.
“What?” he flatly asks, and she lowers her voice.
“I am Captain Myah, and I was once a powerful, proud warrior of my race. Death took that pride from me. I am her slave now, and it tears me apart.” she explains herself. “I was in charge of the early experiments on the Unyielding Thirst. She made me use my own crew as subjects. I saw them starve before my eyes. But.”
Taking another step closer, close enough for her nose to touch his, she lets go of his off hand.
“I know that there is at least one ship that still resists. And I know that you're a mole. So tell me what you know, and we can work together.”
Shine's breath hitches, and he backs off uncomfortably.
“The Unyielding Thirst?” he asks, equally hushed as her.
“Yes. That's why we wear these things.” She flicks her finger against her necklace. “They make us immune to it. Everyone who does not wear it, and comes in range, if consumed by an all-encompassing, ravenous hunger, their minds tricked into believing it to be the real thing. Until their organs start shutting down, one by one.”
His off hand snaps around the bracelet, and his eyes go wide. He feels a light prickle in his palm, akin to the tingling sensation someone might get from listening to someone talk about a crawling critter.
“She made you do this to your own people.” he breathes.
“Yes. And I want to leave her in a pool of her own blood for it, but for now, we're both trapped in her net.” Myah hisses. “Do you have a way of contacting your superiors?”
Shine inhales until his lungs ache, then lets the air out with a snarl.
“If you are playing me, I will personally rip this necklace off your body and watch you die.” he warns her, then moves to his bed, and uncovers his tablet. “I was in the process of reporting to my Queen. My actual Queen.”
“Ivory, I presume?” Myah asks. “She didn't bear that title when I last saw her.”
“She took my Hive under her care recently.” Shine feels his chest swell with pride at that.
Myah snags the tablet from him, and begins typing.
I have discovered an array of interesting things during my stay on Death's Hive. She is working with the Vampires you mentioned, and it seems, they are combining their efforts on a technological level as well. My understanding of it is lackluster, as I am a Blade, not a Cleverman, but from what I gather, it is a telepathic weapon to assault our most basic, primal instinct – the need to feed.
Ivory, this is Captain Myah. Your spy and I are currently both confined to Death's Hive. Do not approach. Her new weapon will force you to your knees. In short – it will make you starve to death. We call it the Unyielding Thirst. I will do what I can to have your spy deployed on a planet with a Stargate, so that he may return to you. I will take his place.
Send Helena my regards, and my most sincere apology.'
Ivory finishes reading out the message, and sets her tablet down. Her, Helena, her Hive Master, Silverlight, Erinya and Guide are gathered in the small conference chamber, prompted by Shine's transmission.
“This is a good thing.” Erinya says. “We know what it is that assaulted us, and we know that at least one Vampire is defying Death.”
“We also know that Shine is alive and well.” Silverlight adds, a hint of sharpness in his tone and the glance he shoots her.
“I did not doubt his ability to keep himself alive in this situation.” Ivory steps in to snuff this budding conflict before it has time to become a problem.
“He did transmit a set of new data, too.” Guide says. “With the information that this is a telepathic bio-weapon, we may be able to decrypt it into a format that makes sense for us.”
“Shine writes that this weapon was made in collaboration with Vampires. It's likely that we never understood our data, because we did not take that into account. What we had so far was written in Wraith, but the base code seems to be Vampiric.” Ivory adds, and hands the tablet to Silverlight.
“I can work with this, but not alone. I need the support of this ship's clevermen.” he states, and Erinya nods hurriedly, seeing that Helena seems to be entirely somewhere else with her thoughts.
“That's no issue. You can stay here, and I'll help you with the code. Guide also has experience with Vampire technology, and in combination with the competence the both of you have with your own, we should be able to find a cure... or some way to make us immune.”
“You were immune.” Silverlight says, and she nods.
“That's because I never feed. I am constantly starving, but my high energy levels cancel the effects out. I did feel something, but my body negated it.” she explains. “Which is good. Because me bringing us out of its range saved lives.”
“That is nothing we can use to immunize ourselves.” Guide chimes in, before Silverlight can say anything else on the matter. “Erinya's mutated genome is unique to her, and comes with a plethora of unpleasant side-effects.”
“Consider that this brief brush with this weapon dealt us a heavy blow.” Helena finally comes alive. “According to my damage report, we lost seventy-three lives in barely a minute of exposure. My ship is under crewed, and my people are divided by Death's threat. What I want to focus on for now, is Myah. She volunteered to take Shine's spot as our spy, but I do not think we can allow any of them to stay for much longer.”
“What are you suggesting?” Guide asks, and Helena gets up from her seat.
“I suggest we have them gather as much data as they can, and then telling them to come home. Myah has influence, with her, we may be able to draw together what scattered remains of my kind aren't under Death's command yet.” she responds, her voice sounding firm and proud. “Furthermore, we should utilize our new, lanthean friends, and give them the information we have. Love them or hate them, but we need them and their city.”
“You still wish to cooperate with humans?” Silverlight hisses. “Did you not get from them what you needed?”
“We got Guide and Erinya safely home, yes. But Atlantis is a major political player in this Galaxy.” Helena counters. “Their assistance might be vital to our survival.”
“You cannot ask me to work with humans!” he snarls, but immediately backs down, when Ivory places her off hand on his shoulder.
“I can,” she simply states, and it's enough to shut him up. Exchanging a glance with Helena, she continues. “Maybe it's time to introduce them to your Wraith contact, Helena.”
“They do not treat their own contacts particularly well. Don't expect them to welcome you, or grant you basic trust.” Guide warns her. “Especially not you. They keep me in shackles already, they will not be any more at ease in the presence of a Queen.”
“Of course not. I, for one thing, am not planning to put myself completely at their mercy. I will remain on my Hive.” No one misses the obvious jab, and Ivory rises from her seat. “Silverlight, you will stay here, and work on the Unyielding Thirst, with Guide and Erinya. I will take Helena with me to my Hive, and travel to Atlantis.”
“Yes, my Queen.” Silverlight barks.
“Wait... just a moment.” Erinya stops her. “You intend to... fly there. With your Hive? They'll shoot you out of the sky before you can even open communications.”
“I know. But Helena can announce me, can she not? They might not be happy about my entrance, but I do not do this to make them happy.” Ivory responds, and walks past the table, taking Helena by the hand.
Queen and Queen Consort, Erinya catches herself thinking, and nods.
“You've got the command in my absence.” Helena tells her, while walking out. “Remain here, if you can.”
As soon as the door closes behind them, and uncomfortable silence hits the room. Erinya has the impression that Guide and Silverlight are arguing telepathically, simply because of their intense stare down.
A few seemingly endless seconds later, Silverlight averts his gaze with a scoff, and Erinya takes this as her cue to speak.
“Well. I believe we should get to work?”
Chapter 11: 10
Something wicked this way comes
The three have been working for five hours straight.
Erinya's head hurts, but not necessarily because of the data she's brooding over, and also not because of Guide silently correcting her calculations whenever she makes a mistake, no.
It's the more obvious issue that gives her headaches.
“If you continue reverse-engineering the weapon, you will never develop a way to immunize.” Silverlight explains monotonously. “I do not understand why you even bother to translate the data. It works perfectly fine in Wraith.”
“I'm translating it to access the vampiric parts of it, Silverlight.” Erinya hisses at him, through clenched teeth. “The core is vampiric, I thought we established that much already.”
“How are you going to reach that layer, if you keep wasting time translating the surrounding data?” he counters.
“I need to do this, because I want to reverse the effect.” Erinya tells him, for the third time now.
“Your reversal will not work. You cannot evoke the opposite of starvation by addressing the instinctual parts of our brains.” Silverlight says, and she sighs.
“Fine. I'll bite. Do you have a different idea to counter it, then?” she asks him, and actually looks up to make eye contact.
Silverlight crosses his arms, moments of complete silence pass, and eventually, he just flatly says “No.”
With a groan, Erinya throws her hands up, jumps out of her seat, and begins walking out the room.
“No. That's it. I'm done. I'm out. Do it yourself.”
Her steps thunder down the corridor, and the two Wraith sit in silence for a few seconds. Silverlight looks at Guide, obviously expecting him to take his side, but the desired response never comes.
Instead, Guide just turns back to his work without saying a word. He can feel Silverlight's gaze linger for a while, until he also turns back to the task at hand.
Internally, Guide snickers at Erinya's furious exit. She'll come back, he knows her that well. For the moment, he comforts himself with the mental image of her pacing angrily in her quarters, swearing profusely.
“They didn't take kindly to my announcement, but I do think they'll let us in. Or at least, near the city without firing.” Helena explains. “Seemed very concerned for my safety, too.”
She's sitting on Ivory's throne, with her on her lap, so she feels her laughing before she hears it.
“Oh, they should be. I might eat you.” she purrs and leans in to nibble at Helena's earlobe. She grins and nudges her cheek with her nose.
“Keep in mind, Atlantis still thinks I'm human.” she reminds her, and Ivory leans back again.
“They haven't seen you in person yet, have they?” she inquires.
“Mh, no. Only video feeds, in heavy makeup and colored contacts.” Helena says. “I wonder if my disguise will hold.”
Ivory shifts on her lap and hums.
“Perhaps you should stay on the ship, then. If they discover that you tricked them while you are on their grounds, they might incarcerate you.” she suggests, her voice soft and gentle, but Helena can hear the worry regardless.
“No cell can hold me.” she assures her.
Before Ivory can say anything in response, the doors to her throne room slide open, and a younger Blade, the one she put in charge of not slamming the skip into the next planet, enters.
He clears his throat, and bows, giving them a careful glance.
“Am I interrupting something?” he asks, respectful in every way, and Ivory slides off Helena's lap.
“No, be at ease.” she consoles him. “What is it?”
“We are in communications range of the Ancient City, my Queen. I took the liberty to send them your consorts identification code already, but they request to speak to you... both.” He sounds nervous, as nervous as a deep, raspy Wraith voice can sound.
Helena bounces off the throne, and leisurely catches up to Ivory.
“Well, time to get into character, I suppose.” she announces. “Remember – we are not dating, I don't trust you, and I'm also a weak, frail little human. Try to look at me like I'm delicious.”
“You are delicious, my love.” Ivory teases, and strides past the young Blade, who is seemingly disturbed by their demeanor.
The three make their way to the bridge, the Blade keeping a respectful distance behind them, and eventually line up in front of the Hive's main screen.
Atlantis' usual suspects are already on screen, looking somewhat impatient.
“Helena, good to see you are well.” says Teyla, being the first to speak up.
“Thank you.” Helena replies, smiling gently at her, and taking a demonstrative step away from Ivory. “This is my contact, as you may have guessed.” She makes an introductory gesture at her.
“Does she have a name?” Sheppard wants to know, and Ivory gives him a toothy smile.
“I do. But that does not mean that I will give it to you. At least not yet.”
She's just baiting him, Helena thinks to herself. She wants a damn nickname.
“Right – Britney, then.” he elects, and takes a step toward his screen. “Helena sounded pretty darn insistent on you personally meeting us. Why is that?”
Ivory gives him a half-shrug.
“I know things.” she replies. “Helena has been relying on my cooperation for a while now. She believes, I could develop a mutually beneficial relationship with your city as well.”
“Well, I don't know if she mentioned that particular thing, but we don't really like you guys.” Sheppard lets her know. “Especially your Queens. Had some bad experiences, you know.”
Ivory raises her feeding hand, and shows its palm to the camera.
“I can imagine. Of course, I will understand if you do not want me to set foot in your city. Helena will fill in for me.” she offers.
“Oh no no no, we want you down here. Might dissuade your Hive from blasting us into oblivion, y'know.” Sheppard denies, actually wagging his finger at her. Helena suppresses a chuckle.
“Right.” Ivory shrugs again. “But, and I will only say this once: I will not let you shackle me, lock me up, or push me around like an animal. You will treat me as your equal, if you expect me to do the same for you.”
“You ain't our equal.” the large man behind Teyla scoffs, causing her to look over her shoulder, up to him.
“Ah. You are the former runner, yes?” Ivory addresses him, causing him to glare at her angrily. “I understand your disdain. However, I will not tolerate it. Keep yourself together, and I will stop myself from sucking the life out of you.”
“You're welcome to try.” he growls.
“Ronon, this isn't productive.” Teyla chimes in. “We won't hurt you, if you don't hurt us. That's as much as we can promise.”
“I can accept that. Helena and I will arrive in a shuttle shortly.” Ivory nods to her side, to signal her Blades to cut the connection.
“Britney.” is Helena's first comment.
“It is a ritual for him. I did not believe him to be ready for the knowledge that we do have names. Like... people.” Ivory smirks. “If giving me a funny name makes him more comfortable with me, I will comply.”
Including preparation time, it takes them about an hour to make their way down to the city. When they step out of their shuttle, they are immediately greeted with several gun muzzles. Ivory pays them no heed, and casually walks past the marines pointing their weapons at her.
Helena follows, feeling very anxious for her lover, now that things are getting serious.
The soldiers escort them wordlessly to the Gate room, where Sheppard, his team, and Woolsey await them.
Ivory allows herself to greet them with a genuinely friendly smile.
“Thank you for having me here.” she opens, taking most of them by surprise. Sheppard, Teyla, also McKay, who had all interacted with true Queens before. Ronon, somewhat. He mostly just stands there grinding his teeth, and playing with his blaster's handle.
Helena just gives them a tiny wave, and enters the conference room behind Ivory.
Once they're all seated, Sheppard opens, before Woolsey can.
“Now. You said you had information.” he asks, in a very matter-of-fact way. Ivory gives him a long look before responding.
“I do. I managed to place a spy into Queen Death's Hive, and he has been sending me occasional reports.” she explains. “And we have discovered a rather... concerning development.”
“Go on?” Sheppard leans forward, ignoring the glances his team shoots him.
“It's a telepathic weapon.” Ivory continues. “It assaults a Wraith's mind, and drives them mad, simulating starvation to a degree that makes our bodies actually experience symptoms thereof. I myself have fallen prey to this before, so I do know how powerful it is.”
“Oh, great. Lots of hungry Wraith.” McKay mumbles. “As if we haven't dealt with that enough.”
“It gets worse.” Ivory adds. “I have put some of my best scientists on the task of figuring this weapon out, in order to create a way to immunize us. They have also kept me up to date on their progress, and we have reason to assume that it targets the human parts of our genome. Which in return means, that...”
“...it can harm us directly, too.” Teyla finishes her sentence.
“Exactly.” Ivory confirms. “In addition to that, Death wishes to rule that Galaxy, and she has been rather ruthless with her own kin, who have refused to bow to her. I speak from experience in this regard. Atlantis will be a target sooner or later.”
“Why'd you care? Don't you want us gone?” Ronon asks her, and she makes brief eye contact.
“I care because she will not attempt to destroy this city. She will attempt to conquer it. And that will make her a lot more powerful than I am equipped to deal with.” she calmly explains. “Your survival is necessary for mine.”
Helena has been listening to her quietly this entire time, mostly because speaking will make it harder for her to hide her fangs, so she's the first to notice the sudden shift in Ivory's demeanor.
She presses her finger against the small button in her ear, and her pupils dilate.
“What? What is it?” Sheppard inquires hurriedly, and Ivory shoots to her feet.
“My Hive is detecting three additional ones.” she lets them know. “None of which are of my fleet, and-...”
She cuts off, before Helena feels it, and sinks to her knees, both hands clamped shut tightly. Helena's eyes widen, and she does her best to brace herself in the brief grace period before the effect takes her mind as well.
Teyla goes wide-eyed as well, her Wraith DNA likely making her more susceptible to the effect, and then, all hell breaks loose.
Chapter 12: 11
Helena's entire vision has a red tint. The human closest to her, Teyla, has collapsed on the ground, as a human's version of starvation is a lot calmer than a Vampire's.
Her eyes are locked on the vein she sees throbbing on Teyla's neck, the deafeningly loud sound of heartbeats around her, these wet throbs of blood being pushed through arteries, and she holds back a low growl building in her throat.
It hurts so much.
She clamps her fingers on the edge of the table, trying to pull herself up, but the world sways before her eyes; she feels her body weakening by the second.
With a strangled hiss, she forces herself to look over to Ivory, and her eyes go wide.
She's standing straight up, hands clenched shut, her entire body so tense, she can see muscles twitching. An expression of furious determination dominates her features as she forces herself close to the scientist, McKay, who is weeping by her feet.
Her off hand curls into a claw, and she reaches down to pull him up by his collar. Helena tries to speak, fear flaring up in the pit of her stomach. If she feeds on a Lanthean...
The words won't leave her clenched throat.
She vaguely hears Ivory speak, her sharp, hoarse voice, shaky with hunger, forcefully controlled.
“This city has shields. You need them up right now.” she informs McKay, who still whimpers, as he hangs lifelessly in her grip.
“Every second you spend like this is a test to my self-control.” she adds, growling at him for good measure. “Every fiber of my being screams to be fed. Activate your shields, or I will elect that you are not worth my pain.”
She sets him down on the ground, and McKay steadies himself against the wall, breathing heavily, face torn between terror and anguish. Helena can see a dark liquid dripping from Ivory's feeding hand, clenched so hard, her nails dig into her palm.
“I can't... I can't walk.” the man manages to speak, a pleading undertone in his voice. Ivory grabs him by the scruff and drags him out the room like a ragdoll.
Their voices become muffled once they're out of range, and Helena has nothing left to distract her from Teyla's blood, rushing through her veins next to her.
The woman makes eye contact, clearly understanding that Helena is experiencing something entirely different than she is. A realization that she is in danger.
Teyla raises a shaking hand, to keep her at a healthy distance, but all it accomplishes is presenting a starving Vampire with the pulse point on her wrist.
“Get back,” Helena croaks at her, barely understandable, and does her best to scurry away in the opposite direction herself.
Staring at her from bloodshot eyes, Teyla lowers her hand again, and heaves herself away from her. Helena leans against the wall, and tries to breathe through her mouth, to avoid the scents around her. The air hitting her throat hurts.
Seconds pass, feeling like hours, and Helena begins to see black spots in her vision.
The next thing she recalls is a light slap on her right cheek.
She rouses, lifting her hand to her temples, and slowly opens her eyes.
It's Teyla, kneeling over her, offering her hand to help her up.
“You passed out.” she informs her, as soon as they're both on their feet again.
Sucking in air like someone recovering from nearly having drowned, Helena looks around herself. The attendants of this conference are slowly dragging themselves up again, and she doesn't feel the hunger anymore.
“Did we scare them away...?” she asks, voice still shaking. Teyla knows, or at least suspects that she's lying to them all.
“I doubt it. Your Wraith contact dragged McKay out, and the assault ended shortly after.” Teyla explains. “If she killed him,...”
“She didn't. I know her this well.” Helena cuts her off, and leaves the room, half-running into the control room.
Most of Atlantis' crew is still on the floor, some unconscious, some maybe dead, but McKay is sitting by one of the consoles, flanked by Ivory, looking like a cornered prey animal.
Ivory looks up, and Helena sees relief in her eyes.
“You are alive.” she states, trying her very best to banish emotion from her voice.
“What happened?” Helena inquires, and Ivory nods in McKay's direction.
“I got him to raise the city's shields. I theorized that it might protect us from the Unyielding Thirst, and luckily, I was right.” she explains, and Helena notices that she still has her feeding hand held tightly shut.
“What would you have done if it hadn't worked?” McKay dares to ask, and Ivory flashes her teeth at him.
“I doubt you want me to spell that out for you.” she responds, and he scoots away from her a little.
Helena moves toward them, her eyes locked on Ivory's balled up hand.
“You're still hungry.” she remarks, and Ivory nods.
“I am very susceptible to this weapon, because I am not only Wraith, but a Queen. My mind may be stronger, but it has a higher range, too. They can still touch it, but it has lessened enough to be bearable.” she explains, and for the first time since they set foot in Atlantis, Helena sees the warm, loving look she usually regards her with. “I will live, Helena.”
“There's, uh... still three Hives out there, and they're attacking yours.” McKay informs her.
“It will not hold out for very long, especially since its crew is still under the full effects of the Unyielding Thirst. They are likely cannibalizing each other by now.” Only Helena is able to hear the grief in her tone.
“Well, let's stop them, then.” Sheppard exclaims on his way past them. “Monitor them, I'm going to the Chair.”
Nobody objects, most humans still reeling from the assault.
Teyla has made her way to catch up to them, and regards Helena with a very careful glance, exhibiting the mannerisms of someone trying to approach an elusive, but dangerous predator. Trying to to scare her off, trying not to entice her to attack.
Helena watches her from the corner of her eye.
“You look better,” she slowly addresses her, still keeping a wary distance.
“I feel better.” Helena agrees. “Teyla, you look uneasy. Are you quite alright?”
“I am.” she steps a little closer, and Helena sees her hand rest on the weapon on her belt. “You looked at me oddly earlier.”
Ivory shoots her an alarmed glance.
“Did I?” Helena weakly counters.
“You also told me to get away.” Teyla reminds her. “Why?”
Helena shrinks away by a few inches.
“You have nothing to fear.” she assures her, accepting that lying isn't in her best interest anymore.
“I saw your teeth. And the look in your eyes.” Teyla counters. “You're not human. And you wanted to eat me.”
McKay looks from the two women to the Wraith beside him, and back. A rumble goes through the city, as the Hives begin opening fire on Atlantis.
“What you really need to know about my nature is that I mean you no harm. Yes, I desperately wanted to sink my fangs into your neck. But I didn't.” Helena admits, under Teyla's glare. “And furtherly,...”
She steps away, around the console, and approaches Ivory, giving her an intense look. Ivory's upper lip twitches, in a stifled snarl.
Slowly, well aware of Teyla's weapon now pointed at her, she reaches for Ivory's feeding hand, and curls her fingers in her own hand. A tremble runs through her lover, and she sees her pupils fanning outward.
Shooting Teyla a glance, she guides Ivory's hand to her chest, pressing it against her skin.
“Do it already. I know you want to.” she hisses, and Ivory snarls, latching her feeding organ to her.
The pain washes over Helena, and she winces.
There's nothing sexual about this, and Ivory isn't gentle. She draws her life force rapidly, a hungry growl escaping her. Both know that this may very well be deciding their fates, as Teyla watches, wide-eyed, still pointing her weapon at them.
Liquid fire runs through her veins, as Ivory draws Helena's life, and she notices her lover genuinely struggling to force herself to stop when she eventually does.
Her hand hovers over Helena's chest, and her teeth are bared, but Helena reaches forward, placing her hand on Ivory's back, pulling her in, sealing her mouth on her neck.
For a second, she feels her rapid pulse, then she bites down. Ivory hisses under her fangs, but she doesn't stop her. Instead, her muscles tense, as Helena tries not to lose herself in the warmth her blood brings.
After just a few seconds, she pulls back, watching the wound heal, just before Ivory reaches up and wipes the blood off it.
Helena turns to face the two humans, McKay looking like he has years of therapy ahed, and Teyla having lowered her weapon.
“You can feed each other.” she whispers, loud enough for them to hear.
“Yes.” Helena croaks. “Her and I have been companions for centuries. Neither of us have fed on humans ever since, and we aren't about to start now.”
“What about her Hive?” Teyla asks sharply.
“I do not know.” Ivory replies, sounding strained, gaze locked on the sealing wound she left on Helena's chest. “I only recently became Queen; I have spent my life on Helena's ship so far, without much contact to my kind.”
“This weapon – Death developed it together with the people she snared from me. My friends, turning against me, and … doing this.” Helena continues, well aware of the others having caught up to Teyla from the conference room. “That's why we're here. This threatens us all, including you.”
Silence falls, only interrupted by the rumbles of the fire on the city's shields. Flashes of light make the stained glass windows shine periodically, and Helena takes Ivory's feeding hand, pressing her fingers into the slit. She knows, she's hurting her, but she also knows that the sensation helps her fight back her urge to feed.
“Your Hive.” McKay breaks the silence. “It's started firing on the others. One of them is about to fall apart, Sheppard's done some work on it..”
“They are firing?” Ivory sounds genuinely surprised. “But... they are very close to the Unyielding Thirst's source.” Her eyes are wide, and Helena feels her fingers clench around her hand.
“I don't know, but they are shooting-... First Hive is down!” McKay sounds almost hopeful.
Ivory slowly raises her off hand to press the button in her ear.
“Please respond.” she speaks, and her eyes immediately light up. “I see. Keep the lockdown up, and do not stop shooting. Once the enemy as been decimated, the pain will fade. Feed on Drones, if you must”
“They're alive.” Helena whispers, and she nods.
“I do not know how they manage, but they do. A good quarter of them died, but the core crew is still holding on.” Ivory's voice gains some strength as she speaks. “The enemy is concentrating their fire on the city. We may have a chance.”
“We may... not.” McKay interrupts. “The Hive with the least damage, they uh... they started heading straight for us.”
“Can your shield withstand the impact?” Helena snaps, whipping around to him.
Horror has found its way back into McKay's eyes.
“I don't know.” he whispers.
Woolsey has finally found enough courage to speak.
“Funnel whatever energy we have into the shields.” he commands, lacking a feeling of authority in his voice, but McKay complies regardless.
“I am-... second Hive is down, but the third one's still heading down!”
“Keep firing! Destroy them before they can hit the city!” she snarls into her communicator.
“That's it! That's all we have!” McKay announces, and Helena sees some of the control room's crew folding their hands in silent prayer.
The noise is deafening.
A violent jerk runs through the city, knocking most people off their feet. Lights flicker, and the noise of big objects hitting the water follows.
A brief silence falls, and Helena notices Ivory's claws digging into the back of her hand, as they both find themselves on the ground.
“We're alive.” McKay states the obvious and gets up. “Our ZPM is probably depleted, but we're alive. It's over.”
Ivory rouses, and pulls Helena up with her.
“I cannot feel the telepathic assault anymore.” she tells them. “They are gone.”
“I believe, we have a lot to discuss now.” Teyla suggests, pulling herself up on the edge of the console. Her weapon has slid away from her, having been dropped when the impact struck.
“Ah, maybe not yet. There's a life sign in the waters, and we're out of shields.” McKay stops her. “Someone survived the impact.”
Chapter 13: 12
“Just one... hostile... Wraith in the city can fuck us up badly, Britney.” Sheppard explains. He's just been given the full update on Helena and Ivory, as well as the City's situation. “We have to find him and cut him down. Right now.”
“Signal's moved, actually.” McKay adds. “It's on the West Pier now. We should probably take care of it soon.”
Most of the chaos the assault had caused is being dealt with. The Lantheans are lucky – so far, no deaths have been reported, but a good half of them are in need of medical attention. Thanks to the overcharged shields, the structure itself has sustained no damage, although the sea is now full of debris from the crashed Hive.
Ivory's Hive is orbiting the planet silently, having given a life sign to her, and confirmed that the crew is in the process of recovering from the Unyielding Thirst.
“Whatever you choose to do, I wish to accompany you. This survivor is likely Wraith, and my presence could be of great benefit to you.” Ivory suggests. Her explanation has caused her to be able to move freely now, without being constantly guarded by marines.
“Fine with me.” Sheppard says, and makes a beeline for the door.
Him, her, and a group of marines quickly make their way to the last known position of the survivor, as the signal has stopped moving, according to McKay.
Cold, salty sea-air assaults Ivory's nostrils, as she steps outside behind Sheppard. He's pointing his weapon at what looks like a pile of wet leathers by the pier.
“It's not moving.” he announces, and Ivory moves past him.
“I will investigate this.” she informs him. “Stand by, for now.”
She can tell that the survivor is not dead. Their mental presence is very prominent in her peripheral, so she approaches slowly, and then crouches down next to the figure.
Wiping a few strands of damp, dark hair away, she reveals the Wraith's face, torn from pain, eyes closed, and breathing flatly. A wave of hunger, pain and fear assaults her mind, as she connects to the survivor's.
It's a Queen, although Ivory would rather describe her as a young girl, barely out of adolescence, shaking in terror. She's aware of the armed men behind Ivory. Like a cornered animal, she plays dead.
“Do not be frightened.” Ivory speaks into her mind. “I will not harm you.”
She rouses slightly, and Ivory hears a gun click behind her, prompting her to raise her hand to stall.
“They will,” the girl's feeble mental voice replies.
“They may, if they deem you a threat.” Ivory admits. “You were this Hive's Queen.”
“I was not. I was their prisoner.” The Girl shifts away from her, but the only option she has is jumping back into the water.
Ivory reaches out, and pulls her closer.
“You are in pain, child.” she hums to her, trying to give her presence a calming, comforting quality. “I can help you, if you do exactly what I say. Can you do that?”
“I am so hungry.” she whimpers.
“I know. I know you are. But if you want to live, you must do as I say. I can get you out of this city alive, but only if you work with me. Trust me. These humans are not bad, they are merely afraid, just like you.” She angles her head a little, and watches as the girl fights herself into a sitting position.
“What must I do?” she asks, avoiding eye contact with Ivory.
“I will tell them that you are not a threat. Stay behind me, and only speak when addressed. I will show you someone you can feed on, but if I tell you to stop, you must obey.” Ivory senses wordless approval, and gets up, turning toward Sheppard.
“She's young, injured, and terrified.” she lets him know. “The enemy held her prisoner, and she somehow survived the crash. She is no threat.”
“Why would they hold a Queen prisoner?” Sheppard asks, eyeing the girl with furrowed brows.
“I do not know. But I can tell that she is not lying. Look at her. She's frightened.” Ivory lowers her head before continuing. “I will take her to feed on Helena – she can handle it. Then, we will find out what she knows.”
“You'd let her hurt your friend?” Sheppard's voice gains sharpness as he asks this.
“Helena is not my friend. She is my lover.” Ivory corrects him. “And furtherly, she is not human. It will weaken her, but she will not die.”
She turns, and speaks to the girl verbally.
“Can you stand?”
The girls shakes her head, and Ivory reaches forward, pulling her left arm over her shoulders, keeping her upright.
“Do not be afraid. Everything will be fine.” she assures her, and Sheppard looks at the pair, confusion in his eyes. He's likely never seen a Wraith treat one of their own this way.
With difficulty, Ivory helps the girl limp back to the conference room, keeping her mind intertwined with hers, to help her remain calm, at the sight of six weapons trained on her.
They're met with an array of confused looks, as Ivory drags in a Wraith that looks essentially like seaweed in her arms. Sheppard offers an apologetic shrug, while she maneuvers the girl onto a seat.
“Helena,...” she asks, and her lover makes her way over to the girl, turning the chair next to hers into her direction, and sitting down on it.
“Hello,” she says softly, looking the shivering girl in the eyes. “it's okay. You don't have to be afraid. I'm a friend.”
The girl's feeding hand twitches, and a shiver runs through her form. Helena smiles, and takes her hand, placing it on her chest.
“It's okay. You won't kill me.” she assures her, noticing the surprised look.
Without hesitating any longer, she feeds, no longer having the capacity to care about the weapons pointed at her. Instead of snarling, she weeps, but her bruises and cuts begin mending, her sunken cheeks regaining their fullness.
Helena gasps in agony, and Ivory touches the girl's shoulder.
“That is enough.” she commands, and the girl recoils so quickly, one would think Helena'd stung her.
Helena straightens her posture.
“Feeling better, I see.” she says. “Now. Would you like to tell us your name?”
She shifts uncomfortably, looking around the crows of humans having formed, cutting her off from the exit.
“It's okay. We're all friends.” Helena comforts her. She knows a traumatized child when she sees one.
“I...” The girl's first verbal word comes out in stutters, and she clears her throat. “I am Nova. Second daughter to Coldamber.”
Ivory's pupils dilate briefly.
“Coldamber. That means...” She shifts into mental speech. “You are Death's sister.”
Nova nods. “Yes.” she whispers, verbally, and lowers her head in shame. “She locked me up, when I refused to bend my knee to her. My Hive turned against me. They did things to me, I... I cannot recall them. My memory is spotty at best. I was so hungry. So very hungry.”
Helena exchanges a glance with Ivory, then focuses her attention on the girl, Nova, again.
“Death is doing awful things to all of us. That's why these humans want to help us.” she explains, “We came here to plan our next steps against her with them, when yours and two other Hives appeared and attacked us. Do you know anything about that.”
Nova shakes her head.
“I was kept in solitary confinement most of the time. They even locked me out of the telepathic network.” Her voice cracks as she says this, and for a second, Helena is genuinely concerned she might start crying. “I had the faint hope to retake my Hive eventually, but now that it is destroyed, I have nothing left to live for. Nowhere to go, nowhere to belong.”
Helena clenches her teeth, but quickly relaxes again, then lifts her hand and wipes the wet hair out of Nova's face. She initially shrinks away from her, but gets comfortable quickly when she sees that Helena isn't going to harm her.
“You can come home with us. We'll keep you safe, and then we can work on taking revenge for you.” she offers.
Nova looks at her with eager eyes.
“You are a Vampire. I have read about your kind. I can tell from the way you taste.”
McKay mumbles something unintelligible about Vampires, and Teyla steps closer to them. It's not easy for either Ivory or Helena to read her face, but the fact that she does not carry a weapon is a good sign.
“We're granting you a lot of trust with this.” she tells them. “I do hope you won't abuse this trust. Our dealings with Wraith hardly ever end well.”
“I am not exactly a regular Wraith, am I?” Ivory counters. “Nothing about this situation is normal, so I urge you not to expect things to go the way they normally do.”
Teyla looks at her silently, then shifts her gaze to Nova.
“You're young. I can tell.” she opens, and Nova returns her gaze, shifting on her seat, as if she's trying to take up as little space as possible.
“I am.” she responds.
“You said they did things to you. What did they do?”
Again, Nova looks at Ivory, as if asking her for help.
“You are telepathic, are you not, human?” she asks, and Teyla nods. “Have you ever had someone else's mind intrude upon yours by force?”
Teyla freezes, then nods again.
“They did that. A lot.” Nova continues. “They made me feel things I would not naturally have felt. Made me see things that are not there. Broke me. I do not remember much of it. My mind is in shambles.”
“Do you know of the weapon they developed?” Teyla continues, now with more care.
“I do not. No one spoke to me for the duration of my confinement.”
Helena gets up.
“That's enough, Teyla. They likely used her to help develop the Unyielding Thirst, and she's deeply wounded by that. I don't think we should rip open these wounds.”
The woman breathes deeply, then nods slowly.
“I apologize.” she says, sincerely, and takes a step back.
“We would like to depart from the City. I will entrust you with a way to contact us at all times, in case you need our help.” Ivory addresses the whole room, having involuntarily positioned herself protectively before Nova.
The Hive is a mess.
Staffed with a sorry excuse for a skeleton crew, they glide through hyperspace, while trying to keep things together, The holds are empty, the crew survives on Drones, and Nova hasn't spoken to anyone in days.
Helena and Ivory have left Atlantis, and given them their subspace message data, enabling the Lantheans to not only contact them, but also to track them.
There are no new reports, neither from the group working on an immunization for the Unyielding Hunger, nor from Shine and Myah.
What hope Helena felt upon learning that her friend is defying Death, is quickly fading, making room for worry.
Concern, that Myah may not even be alive anymore.
Ivory's off hand toys with her hair, as they both recline on her throne, Helena resting her head in her lover's lap. She's staring straight ahed, and so is Ivory, the caress being an idle fidget.
“We can make it through this.” Ivory speaks, sounding hollow, contrasting her words, and Helena just hums, more a confirmation that she heard her, than agreement.
She sits up, and pulls Ivory close, pressing her lips on her head.
“I'm terrified.” she admits, mumbling into her hair, as Ivory wraps her arms around her waist.
“I am too, my love.”
Time feels off for Nova.
These two women that saved her.
The humans that spared her.
Her kin, that betrayed her.
Nothing feels real for her, and she worries, she might awaken in her cell, having just dreamed up an unlikely scenario of rescue.
Her sister, Death.
It makes her feel sick, but part of her actually misses Death. Not her current, violent, awful self. The way things were, when they were both younglings.
Nova has always looked up to her, the older one.
Death, the promising one, the prodigy, with her shining eyes and captivating presence. Death, named after the greatest Queen to ever live.
Nova, the feeble one, the weak one, with her shaking hands and thin voice. Nova, saved by an outcast. Nova, betrayed and tormented, used for someone else's benefit.
Nova, starving and suffering, lonely and broken, on the brink of insanity. Nova, all alone, as the ship crashes into the ocean. Nova, frantically clawing herself out of her rapidly filling cell.
Nova, dragging herself on dry land, rolling over and waiting for death. Nova, the outcast, the pariah.
Nova, the fallen Queen, Nova the Crownless, Nova the Forsaken.
Nova, named after a dying star.
Chapter 14: 13
“How are the holds?” is the very first thing Helena says to Erinya, as she steps on board.
“Fairly recently filled, Captain. Are you... alright?” Erinya regards her with a concerned look.
“No. I will explain later.”
She walks past her, followed by Ivory and another Queen Erinya doesn't recognize. Her gaze is glued to the floor.
The three make their way to the holds, small cells containing one human each, some in stasis, some very much awake. Helena hisses like a threatened snake, as she enters, and steps forward.
The forcefield separating the human from her flickers and dies as she approaches.
She feels Ivory's glance on her back as she reaches forward, and pulls the human toward her.
It's a young woman, dark skinned, with reddish brown hair, and big, amber eyes, looking at her in terror. Helena inhales sharply.
She looks a lot like Teyla, not enough to suspect blood relation, but enough to make Helena grit her teeth.
Truth is, ever since she's felt herself beckoned by her blood, the Unyielding Thirst screaming in her mind, the many times she's fed on Ivory on their way home hadn't... satisfied her. Her blood makes her body tingle pleasantly, still, but Helena craves more.
And Teyla had smelled so sweet, so hard to resist...
She grabs the woman by the throat, and yanks her forward, feeling the pulse throb under her thin, soft skin. With a hungry growl, she enraptures her, feeling her go limp in her grasp, and moves toward her, as if to kiss her, but their lips never meet.
Instead, Helena's fangs puncture the woman's neck, and she comes alive again, struggling against her iron grip, but it's no use.
Blood spills, and Helena seals her lips on the wound.
Human blood is different than what she's used to. It's not tangy and strong, like liquor, instead, it feels like a faint whisper, carrying the very fleeting taste of life, but so much more heat. Sweet and as fragile as its vessel, it tastes like death itself.
Helena strengthens her grip on the woman, and imagines it's Teyla, whose movements get slower and weaker as she drains her.
When she finally lets go of the lifeless body in her arms, Helena feels sick. The woman tumbles to the ground, dead and spent, and her blood burns on her tongue.
She sees Ivory step back from another human in the corner of her vision, and a dried-up corpse falls out of the niche, to her feet.
Driving her fang into her lower lip, Helena looks up to her lover, who is staring at her blood stained palm.
“This could turn out to be a problem.” Ivory whispers, and Helena merely nods.
“The Lantheans must not learn of this. You told them, you do not feed on their kind anymore.” Nova is done feeding too, and turns to them. “You lied.”
“We didn't.” Helena denies. “Up until now, we only fed on each other.”
“Perhaps this was just a side-effect of the Unyielding Thirst. And now, that we sated our needs, it may never have to happen again.” Ivory offers, and Helena nods. They both know that there's more to it.
“Let's go, we need to talk to our researchers.” she changes the topic, not willing to linger on this.
Erinya sits at the back end of the conference room, flanked by Guide and Silverlight, drumming her nails on the table, as the three women settle before her.
“First off, this is Nova.” Ivory introduces. “She was Death's prisoner, and during an attack on Atlantis, we rescued her.” Nova looks at her, grateful for keeping the particular detail about her relationship to Death a secret for now.
The two Wraith silently acknowledge her, but Erinya regards her with a pained look, electing to remain quiet as well.
“Death's fleet likely followed us, and decided to destroy us along with Atlantis.” Helena reports. “We survived, and fended them off, but this is, I believe, our sign to become more offensive in our war. Which brings me to you three.”
“Well, we did make progress in understanding what the Unyielding Thirst is, and how it works.” she begins. “It's, as expected, telepathic, and targets the victim's need to feed, forcing them into a state of starvation. That, we already knew, but we did learn that it's capable of tricking the brain into believing this effect to be real, causing... well, I call it Placebo-starvation. It makes the body simulate symptoms, which leads to the deaths we witnessed.”
“Mental resistance, and general, physical composure plays a role in how quick it kills.” Guide continues. “For example, someone already somewhat hungry will die a lot quicker than someone freshly fed. Through our investigation, Silverlight began developing a serum that forces the mind into a state of satisfaction, and we hope to cancel out the effects of the Unyielding Thirst this way. However, we do not have a prototype yet, and our concept needs more work as well.”
“It's a start.” Helena comments.
“Reversing the weapon's effects was not my idea.” Silverlight feels compelled to add. “Erinya attempted this first, although she chose a very complicated approach. My serum is simply an easier way to achieve her original idea.”
No one misses the surprised look Erinya shoots him.
“Furthermore, we received a signal, shortly before you arrived.” Silverlight continues. “It is encrypted, and we cannot decipher it. I have loaded it onto this.”
He hands Helena his tablet, and she reads over the set of data on it.
Then, she sets the tablet on the table, hard enough to make Nova flinch in surprise.
“This is an encryption Myah and I used when we were younger. I haven't seen it in a while, but I can read it easily. No one except for her and me knows this code.” she says, and bares her teeth. “It's a call for help, and coordinates.”
“So, her plot against Death was discovered.” Guide muses. “If she had time to encrypt a message for you, she is likely still alive.”
“Death wouldn't kill her this easily. She has use for her.” Helena replies. “But I am concerned for Shine. If she was discovered, he was too.”
“We must respond.” Silverlight says, too quickly to be a simple suggestion.
“We will respond.” Helena replies, and gets up. “I'll be on the bridge. Continue working on the serum.”
Carefully adjusting the Dart's controls, Shine lands. A few quick gestures later, he materializes his cargo before the ship, opens the cockpit, and climbs out.
The harsh desert heart immediately has him gasping, but he powers through, walking around his Dart, to the unconscious form in the sand.
Myah looks bad.
Her cheeks are sunken, dark circles shadow her eyes, sockets deep in her skull. She makes a pained noise, and her fingers twitch. That seems to be the extent of her strength.
Shine unbuttons her shirt, the feeding wound on her chest gapes, still bleeding. Holding his breath, her lowers his hand onto her, cringing away from the blood that touches his palm, forcing his feeding organ to seal against the wound.
Careful not to hurt her, he connects to her system, and begins to funnel life into her, watching her eyelids flutter as it creeps into her. Her weak heartbeat speeds up under his palm.
He feels her tense, and with an alarmingly sharp sting of pain, she yanks his hand off her, scrambles into a crouching position, and reaches for the weapon on her belt... only to realize that she no longer has it.
“Be at ease,” Shine speaks to her. “I did not harm you.”
“You fed on me,” she hisses.
“No. Death fed on you. I restored your life.” Shine's pulse throbs painfully in his throat, well aware that Myah could easily kill him if she wanted to.
Luckily, he sees her relax.
“Ah.” she hums. “I remember. How did you extract me?”
“She had you thrown into a cell when she was done with you. I took you to the Dart Bay, and fled before anyone could notice.” Shine lets her know. “I went through four different Gates. They will not find us.”
She touches her neck, trying to find the device that shields her from the Unyielding Thirst.
“If they do, I will die.” she states, and Shine raises his feeding hand.
“I still have mine. If they do, I can defend you.”
She sighs and looks around.
It's a desolate, dry area, and the sun burns down from the sky. No signs of intelligent life no opportunity to feed for either of them.
“What now?” she asks.
Shine already has his tablet out.
“I am sending a subspace message to my Queen. With a bit of luck, they will find us, and we can tell them what we know.” he says. “Your friend, Helena, will be very eager to see you.”
“I do not know if she has forgiven me.” Myah huffs, and leans against the Dart's rear. Shine gives her a look, and just nods.
I was forced to give up my cover in order to save my contact. She was found out, through telepathic intrusion on her mind. It would only have been a matter of time until Death would have done the same to me. We fled in a Dart, and are safe for the time being. I am attaching the Stargate Address to my message, and humbly request rescue.
He sends the message, and sits down in the Dart's shade as well, leaning against it next to Myah.
“Your courage will be rewarded.” he assures her. “You have nothing to fear.”
“What I feel is not fear, it is shame.” Myah hugs her knees, and avoids looking at him.
“Forgiveness would ease that?” he asks.
“Possibly. I don't know.” she sighs. “I betrayed my friend. That is one of the worst things a Vampire can do.”
Shine shakes, and flexes his feeding hand. The Gift of Life has taken much out of him, and he begins realizing this now, as the heat drains his strength.
His palm burns angrily, and he looks ahed, to the horizon.
“We may not have much time.” he mutters.
“They will come. For you, especially.” Myah assures him.
“I do not doubt that. But the time until they do may become...unpleasant for me.”
Myah sits up, and looks him in the eyes.
“You're like this because you restored me, aren't you.” It's more a statement than a question.
“It plays a part, yes.” Shine responds, head cocked to the side suriously.
“If you can't take it anymore, you may feed on me, to keep yourself alive. I...” She pauses, as if the following sentence is sharp in her throat. “... trust you.”
Chapter 15: 14
Smut. With lots of buildup because Guide & Erinya are complicated and I'm a lil baby who's shy about writing porn.
I think I did okay, all things considered. Do you?
The calm has returned to Helena's ship, gliding through hyperspace, on the way to the rendezvous-point them and Ivory's Hive have agreed upon.
Far, far away from Atlantis.
It's the second day in hyperspace, and Guide finally allowed Erinya to talk him into sharing her quarters, instead of rotting away in his own, tiny guest room.
He looks out of place, sitting there by her window, occasionally drumming his claws on the small table attached to the wall. Erinya notes that to herself, as she exits her bathroom, dressed in comfortable pajamas, hair still damp from her shower.
“Bathroom's open, if you need it.” she lets him know, but shakes his head.
“I should be fine.” he responds. “I bathed this morning.”
“Right.” Erinya says, regarding him and his messy hair skeptically. He smells clean enough, she muses, deciding that he likely just has a strange aversion to hairbrushes.
She sits on her bed, folding her legs. Her body heat is on a comfortable, regulated level, it's been this way ever since Guide had joined them, and she very much appreciates that.
Shifting lightly, he turns to face her, but doesn't speak, glares intensely instead. Erinya shrugs at him awkwardly, and he averts his gaze again.
“Why did you insist I stay here?” he eventually asks, and Erinya sighs deeply.
“Because your room is tiny, sterile and uncomfortable.” she replies.
“I don't mind it.” he counters, and Erinya sighs again.
“Also, I enjoy your company.” she adds, putting more emphasis on her words.
“You could easily have told me that.” he remarks.
“Explicitly.” Guide looks at her again. “Against all expectations, Erinya, I cannot read your mind.”
She leans forward a little, and smiles.
“That seems to be the source of many conflicts between us, isn't it?” she assumes. “You're way too used to telepathic communication, and since that doesn't work with me, we misunderstand each other.”
“That would not nearly be as much of a problem if you were more upfront about your intentions.” he promptly fires back, and Erinya straightens her posture a little.
“All right. I'll keep that in mind.” she surrenders. “But, I can't read your mind either. Do you want to be here with me?”
She swears she sees the beginnings of a smile glint in his eyes.
“I would not be here if I did not want to.”
A quiet tension fills the room, and Erinya clears her throat uncomfortably. For how long has she known him now? Decades? Centuries? Time is an odd thing for her perception, but usually, her and Guide are entirely comfortable around each other, not once has she felt nervous in his presence. Why now?
Erinya almost wants to lie, and tell him that she needs to be fed on, just to break this tension between them. At least that was familiar and safe.
“Do you-...” she begins, and he angles his head, looking at her expectantly, but she doesn't finish her sentence. “...Never mind.”
“Do I do what?” Guide's attention has now entirely shifted to her.
“Are you hungry? I don't know. Anything at all?” Erinya doesn't care that she's not making sense.
“I fed on you this morning.” he responds, gaze still locked on her. “As I do every morning. What is the matter with you?”
“I'm fine.” she unfolds her legs, and sits normally on the edge of her bed. “Sorry. I'm a fool.”
“That depends on what specific part of yourself you refer to.” He gets up and walks a bit closer. “Erinya?”
She looks up and studies his face. It's hard to read, as usual, but his eyes are still locked on her. A quick glance down to his hands reveals his true feelings. Flexing, fingers curling into claws. He's uneasy. Concerned.
Erinya crosses her arms.
“The other day, you told me you don't want to treat me like food.” she begins.
“I did say that, yes.” he confirms.
“I was, uh... wondering, because of that.” she finally admits. “About the nature of our relationship. If I'm not just an endless food supply, then what am I? To you, specifically, what am I to you?”
He looks taken aback by this question, and she sees his sensory pits flare briefly.
“I owe you my life on several occasions.” he carefully responds, and she notices him watching her for reactions, just as much as she watches him.
“That doesn't answer my question, does it?”
His hands clamp shut, and he shakes his head.
“I suppose not, no.” he says, almost apologetically. “I trust you. And I care for you deeply. Does that answer your question?”
“Somewhat.” she admits, but his investigative glance refuses to let her come to rest.
“In this case, I play it back to you. What am I to you, except for an energy drain?” And there's the tension again.
Erinya makes herself look him in the eyes, still not comprehending what she's afraid of.
“I've known you for a long time, Guide. We've been through hell and back together.” she speaks quietly, and averts her gaze again. “You're very important to me, and I find myself craving your presence, whenever I'm apart from you. When you're with me, and we sit in silence, I like looking at you. I think you're beautiful. I like listening to you when you talk, the way your voice sounds, the way you express yourself. And when you feed on me... I-...”
She cuts off, accidentally having looked up to face him again, and feels her courage falter under his gaze.
“I don't know.” she finally settles. “I just... really want to touch you.”
Another beat of silence fills the room, and Erinya breathes deeply, almost hoping she could inhale her words back, before they reach him. She glues her gaze to her knees, and waits silently for a response, like a convict waiting for a sentence.
Instead of an immediate verbal response, she feels the mattress shift slightly under his weight, as he sits down next to her.
“As I said.” he finally says. “I cannot read your mind. If you want me, you must tell me.”
“It's not that easy, okay? Bit different than asking you for a tissue, you know! I figured-...” she clears her throat. “I figured if you wanted me, you'd have made a move by now.”
A short, throaty laugh has her looking up.
“I believe, cultural differences may be another source of conflict.” he says. “I would never have done that. It's not customary for a male to engage this sort of relationship with a-...”
He cuts himself off, and looks at her curiously.
“With a Queen?” Erinya asks and he nods. “I'm no Queen, Guide. I'm just... me.”
“It's hard to differentiate.” he mutters, barely audible to her, but she makes out what he says regardless.
She fidgets with the seams of her shirt, again, avoiding to look at him. Now, that he's right next to her, it becomes a lot harder to pretend he's not there.
“So,” she works up her courage. “do you want me to touch you?”
His answer feels like a jolt of electricity down her spine, and the tension shifts into something entirely different. Swallowing hard, she turns around to face him. Now that she has clearance to do what she desperately wants to do, she's not sure how to start, never having thought she'd get this far.
Slowly, she reaches out to him, seeing him close his eyes as her fingers approach his face, and caress his cheek.
She's never made physical contact to him in this context. It's always been brief touches, brushing past him, having him help her up, him feeding on her. Practical things. Excusable things.
His skin feels firm and smooth, cooler than hers, almost like a succulent plant. She lightly traces the starburst tattoo around his right eye, and he sits still, without moving a muscle.
Her fingers move to run through his hair, and despite its rugged appearance, it is soft to the touch.
“Do you permit me to-...” he asks, and is cut off by her hand locking around his left wrist, bringing his off hand to her side.
“Yes.” she responds before he can finish his question. “If I don't stop you, assume my answer is yes.”
She feels his hand shift, and reach her spine, lightly pulling her closer.
“I will ask permission regardless.” he informs her.
Erinya is close enough to faintly hear his heartbeat through her sharp senses now, and feels herself get more comfortable in this situation. In a stroke of bravery, she brings her free hand to his chin, placing her fingers on his jawline, and pulling him into a kiss.
She's careful and hesitant, not ever having bothered to wonder if Wraith even kissed like that. Her lips gently brush against his, and she sucks on his lower lip.
Apparently, her concern is without reason, because he immediately responds, leaning in and deepening the kiss, his tongue darting forward to meet hers.
His feeding hand comes to support the pressure on her back, and she shifts uncomfortably, thanking her warrior's agility for enabling her to sort her legs into a less awkward position, moving herself into his lap.
Soon enough, she feels lightheaded, having lost control of the kiss long ago. His tongue is quick, and almost uncannily agile, giving him the lead without much issue. She has to break away for air, and stares at him in disbelief, before pressing her lips against his again.
They're warmer now, and wet.
Wraith are impossibly good kissers, she adds to her imaginary notes.
Guide's heartbeat has sped up, she also notes, and lets her fingers tangle in his hair again, praying that her shaky breath earlier lasts her longer.
He has a faint, musky taste to him, and his tongue feels almost leathery in texture, as he runs it against hers. Occasionally, she feels teeth against her lips, sharp like razor blades, but not sharp enough to break her skin without the explicit intent to do so.
Again, she breaks away, and gasps, breathless, as if she'd run for a long time. He seeks eye contact, not moving in for another kiss.
Probably waiting for her permission, she notes sourly, but her annoyance fades when she notices that his pupils have widened significantly.
“Is this what you wanted?” he asks her, his voice low and hoarse. Erinya shivers at that.
“Is it what you want?” she can't help but ask, and he makes an indecipherable noise at her.
She feels him shift under her, and her eyes widen.
He's hard. Very.
Still, he remains perfectly unmoving, even when she adjusts her position, grinding against him briefly.
“Obviously.” he finally responds, and studies her attentively.
“Oh.” she simply says, and he angles his head.
“We can stop.” he offers, but she shakes her head.
“No, I'm fine, I just, uhm.” she clears her throat awkwardly, and curses herself internally. “I didn't expect you to-... You know, Be actually, physically... attracted to me.”
She cringes. What is she, a teenager?
“I hide it well, don't I?” he responds.
“Bit too well.” she mutters, but leans in regardless, to press her lips onto the soft spot between his earlobe and jawline.
“Forgive me, then.” she hears him whisper, and withdraws again.
“We're overdressed.” she notes, and tugs on his leather coat. “And I don't have a single clue how to open this.”
He responds with a low hum, reaches into his collar, and begins undoing a series of clasps on the inside, until the coat comes loose. Carelessly, and with a hint of impatience, he tosses it aside.
Underneath, he wears a simple, black shirt, short-sleeved, and relatively normal, from what Erinya can judge.
He reaches to its seam, but she stops him.
“Let me do that.” she whispers, and he obediently withdraws his hands. Still not quite believing what she's actually doing, Erinya slides the fabric up his sides, and pulls it over his head, furtherly messing up his hair.
She doesn't miss the low growl that escapes him, when her fingertips ghost over his ribs. Enticed by his reaction, her nails lightly rake over his chest. He shivers.
She leans closer, bringing her hands around his waist, to his back, and settles to trace light kisses along his collarbone. Her fingers explore along his bony spinal ridges, and she feels him roll his hips against her.
Feeling a sinew tense, she notices that he's rolled his head back, opening exposing his throat to her, his teeth dug into his lower lips.
Carefully, she makes her way up, lightly nipping at his skin, until her lips come to rest directly on his throat, easily able to tear it out with her fangs in this position.
He doesn't flinch.
Instead, a low rumble emanates from his chest, vibrations rippling to the spot Erinya's pressed her lips onto.
Vulnerable , open to her, and he's purring.
“I love you,” she breathes against his neck, and immediately feels another shift in posture. He's lowered his head back toward her, so he can press his lips against her head.
“Shall we lie down?” he asks, moving back a little, and she pulls back as well. There's a flush on his face, when she faces him, deep green spotted over his features, and she can't see any gold in his eyes anymore.
He makes an almost pained noise, when she removes the pressure against his erection by getting up, but he doesn't say anything. Instead, he lies down on his back, and embraces her when she joins him.
Gently, he pulls her into a kiss, slow and lazy; she feels her eyes flutter shut.
She feels his hands crawl up underneath her shirt, and softly trace patterns on her spine and shoulder blades.
A faint moan leaves her lips, and he captures it with his own.
He's good at this, she notes to herself. Reading her and responding accordingly, that is. Whatever nervous tension she's had in her, slowly fades under his touch.
They remain like this for a while, the distance between them decreasing minutely. Soon, Erinya finds herself eagerly pressing against Guide, with him occasionally rolling his hips into their contact. Their kiss gets messier, more demanding, and Erinya has to break it.
He immediately releases her from his embrace, and she sits up, his eyes following her, a look of concern on his flushed face.
Instead of saying a single word, she takes off her shirt, yanking it off her body, as if she's in a great hurry.
She is, in fact, as his gaze rakes hungrily over her exposed form.
“Come here.” she asks him, remembering his need to constant, reinforced verbal consent.
Almost immediately, he sits up and runs his hands along her sides, breathing heavily.
With a smile, she straddles his thighs again, and hooks her thumbs under the band of his leather pants. His purr hitches.
“You'll need to help me with your maximum security pants.” she lets him know, drawing a breathy chuckle from him.
“It's armor,” he excuses it, and reaches under the band, next to her thumbs, and unlatches a closing mechanism.
The tension in the fabric lessens, and Erinya know that she can shuck it down now. Their eyes meet.
She doesn't miss his breath speeding up, when she liberates him of his pants; he helps her and kicks them off.
Now, clad in only thin underwear, it's easy for her to see the outline of his erection, and even though Erinya hasn't seen many dicks in her lifetime, she can assume that his is on the larger end of the spectrum.
This is getting serious.
She swallows hard, and toys with the band of his underwear, not missing the concerned glance he shoots her.
“Are you alright?” he asks, and she shakes her head smiling.
“Don't worry. I'm just convincing myself that this is actually happening.” she lets him know, and gives him a tiny push, enticing him to lie back down on his back. “Just relax.”
“I am. But are you?” he inquires, propping himself up on his elbows.
“Of course. You live off the very essence of my being, Guide. I'm not afraid of intimacy.” she argues, and he smiles knowingly, likely seeing through her tough facade.
“I see,” he responds, but Erinya acts before he can say anything else.
Whatever word he was about to articulate, it gets stuck in his throat, when she boldly pushes her hand into his pants, and wraps her hand around the base of his shaft.
Satisfied, she sees him sink down on his back again, hands flat, palms down-on the sheets.
Encouraged, she pulls his underwear down to his knees, the sudden motion making him suck in air sharply.
Erinya really hasn't seen many sets of genitalia before, especially not those of a Wraith. According to her very awkward talks with Helena, Wraith anatomy is similar to humanoid anatomy, with a few... quirks.
That proves correct, and Guide's quirk appears to be a set of firm ridges along his shaft, not particularly dangerous-looking, but Erinya shivers regardless, at the though of having that inside her.
There's a tight knot in her abdomen when she experimentally strokes him. It's softer than the rest of him, but equally as smooth to the touch. Her eyes flicker up to meet his, and she feels herself flush.
She's never seen him like this, so vulnerable, so utterly under her control, at her mercy. Not even when he was starving, and she was the only thing standing between him and death.
His chest rises and falls quickly, and with each motion she makes, he twitches, hisses, growls. She applies more pressure, and runs her thumb over the head, curious to work more sounds out of him, but instead, he bucks his hips up, into her touch.
Erinya feels her heart jump, and she leans back, to shuck down her own pants, maneuvering them off her body. Cool air hits air, and she notices the sensation of dampness between her legs.
“Guide,” she says, and he sits up, expression somehow strained. “Please.”
“Turn around.” he rasps at her, and she follows his request without a second thought. His hands lock on her hips, and he pulls her close, her back to his chest, and his length trapped between their bodies. She feels his lips on her neck, while his feeding hand wanders under her panties.
She gasps, when his fingers trail along her folds, careful not to hurt her with his claws. His off hand is pressed on her chest, and she knows that he monitors her pulse that way, carefully observing her every reaction.
With an incredibly fluid and delicate set of movement, his index- and middle finger penetrate her, and she twitches in his embrace.
“Is this all right?” he asks her, his voice wrecked with arousal, but he refuses to let himself go.
She nods wordlessly. And he begins slowly withdrawing his fingers, and pushing them back in. His claws don't harm her, but severely limit his range of movement.
Fortunately, as Erinya learns, he has a way to work around that little handicap.
There's movement against her clit, and soon a little bit of suction...
His feeding organ locks around her, shifting and contracting, feeling unbearably hot against her. Erinya cant help but grind into his touch, and realizes with something akin to horror that she can feel his heartbeat through the membrane, the tiny, pulsing sensation against her clit making her sob with pleasure.
Noticing him rocking against her, along with her own movement makes her moan, and she leans harder against his chest, feeling his breath against her neck.
He growls quietly, and she feels his off hand on her chest tense. His movement against her vulva speeds up, and she begins seeing stars.
She swears, some profanity, his name, and a plea not to stop, arches into his touch, and feels her sense of gravity faltering for a second.
Her climax ripples through her, and she becomes painfully aware of his fingers inside her, as she contracts around them, but for the moment it doesn't matter.
It takes her several seconds to start breathing again, and she's suddenly very sure that she cried out. There's hardly any movement behind her anymore, just the brief stimulation, as Guide unlatches his feeding organ from her.
She looks down on herself, and sees red liquid, going wide eyed for a second, before catching a glimpse of his hand.
“Enzyme,” she breathes. “You-...”
Guide shifts behind her, and loosens his grip on her.
“Yes,” he breathes, still reeling from his own apparent climax. Erinya feels a sticky substance on her back.
“How? I hardly touched you-...” she asks him, too deep in her afterglow to be embarrassed.
He flexes his feeding hand to her.
“It's very sensitive.” he lets her know, and she feels a laugh bubble up in her chest.
“I don't think that it's intended purpose.” she teases, and briefly feels his lips against her neck again.
“It has many purposes.” he purrs, and shifts around to face her again. “We should clean up.”
“Yeah.” she huffs. “Yeah, we should.” So much for him not needing a bath tonight.
There's an odd sense of familiarity, when his off hand locks around hers, and he leads her into the bathroom.
Erinya is still in a haze. She has no idea how she got into the tub, when she finds herself there, but she hardly cares.
Guide's hands spread soap over her skin, with a sense of devotion she's never seen from him.
'It's hard to differentiate', his words echo in her head.
“I take it,” he speaks, after what feels like an eternity. “that you consider me your consort now?”
She shrugs. “I suppose that's the Wraith word for this.” she responds. “I don't care what you call it, I just want to be with you.”
“You have been with me this entire time.” his rough voice manages to sound gentle, and he twirls a damp lock of hair on his finger. “You just hesitated to claim me.”
“Claim you?” she parrots and a faint smile ghosts over his features.
“Forgive me. Wraith terminology.” he clarifies.
She leans toward him, to rest her forehead against his.
“Now I absolutely cannot let anyone hurt you ever again.” she tells him seriously. “Now that I've 'claimed' you.”
“That's to be expected of...” he pauses, and she sees him smile in her peripheral vision. “...a Queen toward her Consort.”
Erinya moves to press her lips against his.
Yes, that she can live with.
Chapter 16: 15
Look, they're alive
“Wake up! Quick, we must be away!”
Shine feels someone shake him by his shoulder, and rouses, raising an arm to shield his eyes from the searing sunlight.
Myah crouches over him, eyes narrowed and fangs bared, like a cornered predator.
“What is it?” he asks, as she hands him his stunner, and gets up.
“They found us.” she hisses. “Death's men. And they know that we are here.”
Shine is wide awake now, scrambles to his feet, and spins the weapon in his off hand, to maneuver it into a usable position. Myah leans into the Dart's cockpit, and presses a few buttons.
“What are the chances that this thing will fly?” she asks him.
“It will fly, but if you want weapons and maneuverability, I must disappoint you.” he responds to her, and follows, leaning in by the other side.
She grits her teeth.
“I heard Darts, and hoped it to be Ivory's rescue team. But they saw me, and opened fire.” she explains.
“They are no longer going for recapture.” Shine notes sourly, and tightens the grip around his stunner. “In this case, they will start hunting us down from the air and o the ground simultaneously soon.”
Myah pulls a set of daggers from her boots.
“This is all the weaponry I have on me.” she says, and Shine nods.
“I only have my stunner, and additionally, I am very hungry. We cannot outlast them.”
The Vampire clicks her teeth against the metal ring through her lower lip, and spins a dagger in her hand.
“I may have an idea.” she says. “It is risky, but it may be the only opportunity we have.”
Shine hisses, faintly sensing the telepathic presence of other Wraith closeby.
“Speak quickly,” he implores her.
“If they start a ground offensive, as you said, we may be able to stealth past them, and steal a Dart. A fully functional one.” she suggests. “You can fly us somewhere safe, preferably with access to a Stargate, and we can go... Home, I suppose.”
“We may have to engage in combat. My self-healing abilities are at a low point, if I get injured...”
Myah cuts him off.
“Then you feed on me, and dematerialize me again.” she says, punctuating her statement with a brief nod. “We do not have much time. Let's move.”
A throaty snarl is Shine's only comment, and he hurries to keep up with her.
Myah moves swiftly, without leaving any obvious traces or sound. Once they reach a less dry landscape, littered with forests and rock formations, Shine notices her moving strategically, using canopies and shadowed areas for cover. For the Darts circling above them like vultures, they're almost invisible.
“Do you sense them on the ground yet?” she asks him, her voice a half-whisper.
“I do.” he responds. “Five of them, four Drones and one Commander. I can't risk localizing them without giving away my own position.”
She stops running, and crouches down behind a thick treestump.
“Have they been on the ground for long?” she asks, as he joins her, mimicking her posture.
“A few minutes at most.”
“Good. Then localize them anyway. They will be near their Dart, and it is our best bet of commandeering one.” she instructs, and Shine feels the involuntary impulse to assume his submissive form, reserved for his Queen.
“Very well.” he hisses instead, and closes his eyes for a brief moment, focusing on the Commander's strong presence, trying to pinpoint it down. The presence responds to his attempt in connecting, and nearly yanks him into the contact. “To the west.” he says out loud. “Moving toward us. He knows I'm there.”
“Let's meet them halfway.” Myah growls, and Shine briefly sees an expression akin to hunger in her eyes, before she gets up and continues.
He blinks, and doesn't see her anymore.
Soundless and quick, she is, impossible to track down. That is a problem.
Shine feels the panic build in his chest, and his eyes dart around, trying to spot her between the thick foliage, but he can't.
His nostrils flare along with his sensory pits, and he picks up her faint scent, lingering where she had knelt, closes his eyes, and follows it.
The sound of a stunner firing has his eyes snapping open again, pupils dilating warily, and he whips around, just to see a Drone collapse on the ground, a few feet away from him.
Myah's form peels itself from the foliage, daggers covered in dark blood. She drags her tongue along the blade, licking the blood off.
“Do not fall behind.” she warns him, and he hurries to return to her side.
“You were too fast.” he informs her.
“You are too slow. We don't have time.” She points behind herself with her dagger. “The others approach from this direction. I observed their approach, while you were busy trying to locate me. I've also seen their Dart.”
“The Commander knows where I am.” Shine forces himself to remain calm, as he speaks. “We would do best to wait for them, and create an ambush here.”
“Agreed. Hide yourself, then.” she replies, and hurries into the direction she came from, vanishing in the bushes.
Shine allows himself to produce a rumbling noise of frustration, and slides behind a tree, pressing his back against the trunk. Then, he closes his eyes again, to feel for the Commander's approaching presence.
'You cannot hide from me, traitor.'
The voice pierces his conscience, and he rips his eyes open, just barely countering a Drone's strike, falsifying his rifle-butt's stab at his vitals. The Drone reacts quicker than he's have liked, spins the weapon, and jams it against Shine's throat, pinning him to the tree.
From the corner of his eye, he sees Myah dance around the Commander, lashing out with her daggers again and again.
Shine hisses at his adversary, presses the muzzle of his weapon into his side, and fires, twice, before the Drone goes limp.
Angrily, he works the rifle from his hands, spins it around, to use the pointy end as a melee weapon.
Myah isn't doing so good.
At this point, she is merely dodging strikes from the commander, and the two remaining Drones firing at her. Shine moves fast, and runs one of them through with the rifle. He groans, goes to his knees, and Shine pushes him down, stomping down hard on his head until it cracks.
Immediately, he has to evade another blue jolt, fired by the surviving Drone. Moving in zig-zags, he approaches, yanking the rifle out of his previous foe as he goes, and they striking the new one over the head with it.
The moment the Drone uses to gather himself, Shine utilizes by pushing him to his knees, and pressing the rifle against his neck until it snaps.
Breathing heavily, he turns around to aid Myah with the Commander, but she's not fighting anymore.
Instead, the Commander is limp in her arms, and her mouth latched to his throat.
Shine feels a cold sensation run down his spine, as she finally releases her enemy-.. no, her prey, and the Commander sinks to the ground, lifelessly.
His eyes are wide open in terror, pupils blown wide, both hands curled into claws. Shine averts his gaze.
“Are you hurt?” she asks, and wipes the blood off her chin.
“No.” he breathes. “The Dart?”
Her step is less rushed now, but she still keeps up her tactic of hiding from aerial attackers. She leads him to a small clearing with, as promised, a neatly landed Dart, in presumably perfect condition.
“Here. Let's get off this planet.” she says, and her smile shows teeth.
“I will dematerialize you again-...” Shine begins, as she climbs into the cockpit, but is stopped by her shaking her head.
“No. It might get crowded in there, but we will be on the run for a long time. I will join you, in case the hunger overcomes you. If it does, and you crash, you will kill us both.” she explains her reasoning, and nonchalantly climbs into the Dart in front of him, settling between his legs.
Shine awkwardly clears his throat, and reaches past her, to access the controls. She's shorter than him, so he has no issues seeing the displays.
“Will you be alright with that?” he asks, and she looks over her shoulder, dried blood still in the corners of her mouth.
“I fed. I will live.” she assures him, well aware of how disturbed he is by that sight.
Shine enters the command to close the cockpit, and takes off. A faint glow lies on the controls, and it takes him a moment to realize that it originates from Myah's eyes.
Nocturnal predator, he thinks, and shifts uncomfortably against her back.
“Are you quite comfortable?” she asks, and he snarls lightly at her. “Ah, you'll live. I'm certain you've been in worse situations.”
“As a matter of fact, I have.” he graces her with a response. “We're leaving the atmosphere. Things may get a lot less comfortable now.”
Case and point, he swerves sharply to avoid a salvo of fire from at least five Darts, falling into pursuit.
“I trust in your flying skills.” Myah comments, but he does notice her tensing up. Not so stoic after all, is she.
Shine's palm burns painfully, but he doesn't dare to lift it from the controls to feed.
“The good news is, we picked up Shine's subspace transmitter signal.” Ivory announces to the group. “The bad news is, he started moving.”
“And the ugly news – Euridice is on his tracks now, too.” Helena adds. “From what we know, he's likely in a Dart, or an equally small ship, and if she finds him before we do, he's dead.”
Nobody misses Silverlight's claws digging into the armrests of his seat.
“How far away is he?” he asks, pressed forth between clenched teeth.
“From us? Another four days in hyperspace.” Helena replies, and sits down next to Ivory. “But, Euridice is closer to us. We can cut her path before she reaches him.”
“If my information is correct,” Guide chimes in from the other end of the room. “last time you encountered her in combat, you fled.”
A surprised shifts goes through the room, as Helena openly and intentionally snarls at him. He even leans away from her somewhat.
“That will not happen again.” she hisses. “I showed weakness, but she won't be so lucky this time. I plan to board her ship and tearing her apart personally. And then, I will take her ship.”
She withdraws her hand from the table, having felt Ivory gently touch it.
“Captain,” Erinya speaks up, awkwardly shuffling around to hide the fact that she's moved protectively between her and Guide. “if we are to take her ship, we will either have to slaughter her crew, or convince them that you are the better leader. And mind you, she has an entire fleet backing her.”
“I'm aware. It's only her flagship on Shine's heels for now.” Helena still sounds angry, but less hostile. “I will challenge her to a duel for her ship, and her life. If they see me win, they will submit.”
“And if you lose?” Guide inquires, earning another searing glance.
“Then I die, and you destroy her ship.” she answers and Ivory sucks in air sharply.
“Let us not consider this, apart from a worst case scenario.” she says,”Helena knows Euridice, and she is also older than her. I am certain she can do this... physically.”
“Physically.” Silverlight parrots.
“Yes. As I said, they are old friends, and-...”
“We'll discuss this particular part once she's dealt with.” Helena stops her. “For now, let's focus our efforts on preventing her from blasting your Commander into oblivion.”
Chapter 17: 16
“My Queen, I have instructed the Hive to fall into pursuit as well. We should catch up to them in a few hours.” Silverlight reports, just having returned from taking a quick call outside.
“Good.” Ivory acknowledges, and Silverlight returns to his usual seat, near Erinya and Guide.
The Base Ship is running at maximum speed. Everyone, including Nova, is gathered on the bridge, and Helena is pacing restlessly by the window. She's armed, two short swords holstered on her back, and a simple handgun on her belt, ready to duel Euridice.
Physically, yes. Mentally... maybe.
Ivory is watching her pace, her expression blank, as she sits by the master console, monitoring the hyperdrive.
Like a satellite, Nova is orbiting her, gravitating towards her, never daring to stray further than a few feet. Her hands are clasped together in front of her chest, her entire posture hunched.
She looks small, and she looks hurt.
“The Hive is within sensor range. They report there being two ships. No sign of Shine's vessel yet.” Silverlight addresses the whole bridge, and loses the honorific.
“If they're in sensor range for the Hive, the Hive will also be for them.” Erinya adds. “Are they firing?”
Silverlight repeats the question to his communicator, and shakes his head.
“No. They are also not moving.” he says, looking just as confused about this development as Erinya.
“Tell them to hold their position until we arrive.” Ivory orders, and Silverlight relays her order.
“According to the subspace transmitter signal, Shine is moving toward us.” Guide exclaims, without even looking up from his screen. “I suspect he knows where his Hive is, and tries to return home.”
“You are correct. I outfitted his tablet with a direct link to our navigational data. He knows where the Hive is.” Ivory confirms, and turns to Helena, who has stopped pacing.
“Which means, our plan is trashed.” she concludes. “I counted on us catching up to Euridice before she gets to Shine, but at this rate, Shine will reach her before we do.”
“We are almost there.” Shine breathes, trying not to pay attention to the searing pain at his core. “I can endure.”
“How long until we reach your Hive?” Myah asks, looking over her shoulder, and he angles his head, to avoid her seeing his strained expression.
“I cannot say. There's … another energy reading, likely another ship ahed.” he responds. “We may have to avoid weapons again.”
“It might be Helena's base.” Myah suggests. “You are shaking, Shine.”
His hands tense hard around the Dart's controls, as he forces them still; his knuckles turning white under the pressure.
“I can endure.” he repeats.
“I saw the bruise on your neck. You got hit straight to the throat, so you had to quickly mend it, didn't you?” Shine feels Myah's hand lock around his right wrist as she speaks. “And you were already starving, am I correct? You cannot endure.”
He growls, electing not to grant her an answer, and attempts focusing on the Dart, connecting his mind further to the machine, closing his eyes, trying to make the ship feel like an extension of his body.
This usually calms him. Whenever he flies risky missions, whenever he feels panic, fight-or-flight instinct threatening to take over, the flawless, streamlined logic of a Dart's controls helps him keep his composure.
But this is different, he realizes. It's not a matter of the mind. It is his body, painfully rebelling against his self-destructive behavior.
The hunger flares brighter, and when he opens his eyes briefly, the back of Myah's head blurs in front of him, a dark, amber spot in the flesh-colored smudge that is the interior of the Dart.
Pain surges, and he has to claw hard into the controls to avoid blacking out completely.
He must've made noises, because Myah's iron grip pulls his hand from the controls, toward her chest.
“Feed on me,” she says. “or you will kill us both.”
His off hand readjusts its grip, and he moves his feeding hand to her, the last few inches on his own volition.
“This will hurt.” he warns, as his palm rests on her skin, sinews flexing against the urge to feed.
“I know.” is her simple response, and that's all he can take.
He almost already tastes her essence, when he clamps his feeding slit against her collarbone, his claws setting and biting into skin.
Then, all inhibitions break, and he feeds.
A Vampire's life feels different than a human's. Thicker. Heavier. While it feels like he siphons one year at a time from a human, this makes him feel like he draws decades from her by the second, the many years she's lived, resilient and rough, yet incredibly flavorful.
Her essence surges through his body, and he feels the pain fade with every beat his heavy heart forces.
It takes every ounce of willpower to focus on flying the ship, instead of losing himself in the feeling of Myah going limp, suffering under his hand.
Her strength and power, her, a silent killer, a predator, becoming his prey.
Shine snarls, and pulls back.
His palm feels cold, wet with blood against the cool interior of the ship. He hears his own blood rushing, deafening him for a moment, and when he collects himself, he feels Myah's flat breaths, rattling like an old man on his death bed.
“Will you live?” he asks her, his voice sounding disproportionately calm to his mind.
“I may not.” she gasps, and directs his attention to his screen again. “This is not Helena.”
Shine reacts in a split second, avoiding a crimson red beam of energy.
“Look out!” Myah calls out, and Shine loops around a secondary attack, then arcs over the ship to assess his situation from above.
It doesn't work too well.
The ship appears to have an array of weapons, firing individually at him. Once he outmaneuvers one, another forces him to nearly barrel-roll out of the beam.
He loses count of how many beams they can fire at once.
One beam scrapes alongside the dart, and Shine hisses.
“Lost secondary thrusters – I cannot dodge anymore!” he informs her, and goes straight for a dive. “We will not survive a direct hit.”
Out of habit, he accepts a small communication prompt appearing on his screen, and immediately yanks the Dart out of its dive when he recognizes the voice on the other end of the line.
“Commander, this is Ash.” it sounds from the console. “We are releasing Darts to escort you.”
“Recall them, assault the ship instead!” he hisses back.
“There are two ships, Commander.”
Shine's eyes flicker back to his screens.
“It's hiding in the bigger one's shade.” Myah whispers, still sounding pained. “Like us before.”
“My Dart is damaged. I cannot-...” He is interrupted crudely.
“We are detecting another Hyperspace window.” Ash states, and a brief silence follows, cut by the heavy rumble of a Dart taking the hit for Shine's incapacitated one. “Hold your position, Commander.”
“Shine, this is your Queen. Do you read me?” Another familiar voice, and Shine's heart sinks, while he feels Myah tense.
“I do, my Queen. It is good to hear your voice.” he replies, and delights in the small chuckle he elicits from Ivory.
“Likewise. Listen, I want you to head straight for the enemy, full speed. We have locked on to you and your passenger, and will beam you on board as soon as the command is locked in.”
Shine's fingers dance over the console's surface lighter than ever, as he programs the course, and feels the vessel speed up, just before severing his mental connection to it.
“We are ready.” he says, and feels the world fade.
When Shine's vision clears up, he finds himself standing on the Vampire ship's bridge, with Myah passed out to his feet.
His eyes dart around the room, glimpsing many unfamiliar faces, but his gaze quickly locks on the one he recognizes.
Silverlight gets up from his seat, and for a moment, even Shine's devotion to his Queen is forgotten. He moves toward him too, meeting him halfway, and their off hands lock. The cleverman regards him so warmly, so intimately, as their minds reconnect, forgetting where they are for a brief moment, before letting go and stepping back.
“Good to have you back, Commander.” he says out loud, but his mind conveys much more to Shine.
Pain. Yearning. Fear. A searing hatred with the memory of seeing Guide exchange gentle looks with that Vampire, while he suffers in uncertainty.
Shine breathes, and turns to face the Captain of the ship, armed to the teeth and kneeling beside Myah.
“I fed on her to survive our journey here” he informs her. “She will live, but I suggest taking her to your holds.”
The woman looks up, about to speak, but another steps in, a girl with flaming red hair, radiating heat from her body.
“No need. She can feed on me.” She reassuringly places a hand on the Captain's shoulder. “Go. I will care for her.”
“Go where?” Shine asks flatly, but the Captain vanishes before his eyes, beamed away before she can respond.
“We have negotiated a brief truce.” his Queen explains to him. “Helena will duel the enemy's Captain on their ship. That is why they stopped firing on us.”
“What stops them from just fleeing the scene, as soon as she is on board?” Shine inquires, not quite believing that his Queen could agree to such a thing.
Instead of alarm, he just sees a knowing smile on her face, and she turns to the big window behind them.
It flickers, and a live video feed appears on the glass, Helena, the Captain, standing before another Vampire, honey-haired, with a vicious smile on her lips.
“I see, we have video contact now, my dear.” the honey-haired says, her soft tone dripping with sarcasm. “Shall we begin our deadly dance?”
The sharp noise of unsheathing blades sounds, and Shine sees Myah rise to her feet in his peripheral vision.
“May I have this dance, then?” Helena, the Captain, plays along with the charade.
They bow, and a split second later, blades clash.
Chapter 18: 17
Both of them carry weapons, Helena with her short swords, and her opponent, Euridice, with a set of ornate scimitars. Circling each other, never breaking eye contact, they remain, while Ivory clamps her hands closed, staring at the video feed.
A tense calm has fallen over the bridge; no one dares to disrupt it, while the sound of the duelists' steps seems to align with their heartbeats.
Every fiber of Helena's being is painfully alert, as she watches, observing for that one twitch, that single, tiny movement to hint at an attack, but Euridice just continues her slow gait, clearly enjoying keeping her on her toes.
Helena wants to look at Euridice's screen, seek approval from her companions, but she knows, one single break of attention could be fatal.
Euridice smirks. She's not going to be the first to attack, well aware of Helena's feelings about this entire situation, not afraid to exploit that.
Stopping in her tracks, Helena shifts into combat stance, lightly hunched, like a cat, ready to pounce, and pulls her upper lip back slightly, in a silent snarl.
Her opponent mimics her, and twirls her scimitar, eager to sink it into flesh.
“I loved you once.” Helena hisses.
Then she lunges forward.
Again, their blades clash, but this time, neither of them pulls back. Helena's left strike is easily parried, and she sweeps at Euridice's ankles, attempting to sway her balance, but instead, she just forces her back a few feet.
Euridice twirls, gaining momentum, as she strikes her again, and Helena has trouble parrying. Hissing, teeth bared, she pushes against the blade with her full weight, then manages to retreat without taking a hit.
She's now crouching, looking up to Euridice's courtly form while appearing almost feral herself. A sharp hiss draws her attention briefly, and she realizes that Ivory had breathed in hard, and started holding her breath.
Euridice utilizes the brief distraction, and before Helena can counter, her blade drags along her neck, over her chest; pain burning, and the wet sensation of blood running down her skin threatens to take Helena's focus again, but she steadies herself.
Her foe has jumped back after delivering the hit, to avoid retaliation.
Helena feels the gash close, and looks up to face Euridice again.
“First blood is yours, Helena.” she hums, and lifts her blade to lick Helena's blood off it.
A stir goes through Helena's body, but she stifles it.
“It doesn't matter.” she responds, and strafes to the side, to flank her. Euridice spins just in time to deflect her blow, but Helena knows that she caught her off guard, as her secondary blade digs into her side.
She hisses, and drops her main weapon, to lock her hand around Helena's wrist, effectively keeping her sword stuck inside, but immobilizing her as well.
Her secondary weapon descends upon her, and Helena blocks it, barely having enough time to do so, thus having her blade slide past hers, on the flatter side, unhindered by the guard, and digging into her arm at an angle.
The pain reaches her late, and Euridice surrenders her second scimitar as well, to grab Helena by the hair, and drag her close.
A faint gasp leaves her lips, as she feels her fangs dig into her neck, the metal adornments on Euridice's lower lip pressing against her skin.
Her extremities are consumed by a cold numbness as Euridice drains her, and Helena struggles weakly, hearing Ivory's outcry through the pounding of her pulse in her temples.
In a stroke of genius, she twists her blade, still stuck in Euridice's side, feeling warm blood gush over her icy hand, as she pulls out of the bite.
“You loved me once.” she hisses, blood dripping from her chin, and Helena jams her secondary sword between her ribs, and lashes out to sink her own fangs into Euridice's neck.
She drinks, and it tastes bitter against her tongue. Warmth returns to her body, and the scent of her perfume in her nose feels like another stab with a blade. Nausea rises in her chest, but Helena forces herself to take back what Euridice took, letting go much later then she can bear.
“Not anymore.” she whispers, as she forces her to her knees, pressing her blade to he throat. She knows, she has to kill her.
Euridice's body heat feels like fire against her thighs, while she holds her upright, crimson flooding over the tiled floor, as blood seeps from her wounds.
“We will see about that,” Euridice croaks, and Helena feels the firmness of her body dissolve, a blinding light taking her sight for a few seconds.
When it fades, Helena finds herself alone among Euridice's crew, standing in a pool of blood.
Shaky breaths leave her, as she looks at them, trying to swallow away the taste of Euridice's blood.
“She fled.” Helena states, “Your Captain fled from an honorable duel for this ship. You know what this means.”
“The other Vampire ship just jumped into hyperspace,” she hears Erinya's voice report through the video feed, but she doesn't lift her gaze off the crew.
“It means you're mine now. She fought on your behalf, and she fled. I win. If you have a shred of decency, you will submit.” she continues.
“She'll come back,” says one of them, a young boy from what Helena can tell, honey-haired just like her. “She won't forsake us.”
“She just did.” Helena responds. This child is likely one of Euridice's many students, turned by her, nurtured by her. She only picks those resembling herself, so she can pass them off as biological children.
“It's your choice, boy.” Helena continues. “Join my fleet, or die for your Captain. She wasn't ready to give her life for yours. Why would you do that for her?”
Fear in their eyes, leaderless and forsaken. Helena feels bad for them, and sheathes her swords.
“You didn't know that she had this failsafe, did you? I had none.” Helena begins pacing before them as she speaks. “I came here risking my life. She only risked yours.”
“That Wraith...” another speaks up. “She'll kill us.”
“She might. If I don't get to her first.” Helena bares her fangs. “My alliance opposes her. I will not rest until Queen Death is dealt with. I stood tall against her from the beginning. Regain your pride. Join me.”
Silence falls for a few, long seconds, before the honey-haired boy speaks again.
“We need a Captain.” he says, stepping forth from the crowd. “And you will return to your ship.”
“I have a Captain for you.” Helena responds, and allows herself a gentle smile.
She closes the distance between herself and the boy, reaching out to touch his cheek, her stained fingers smearing him with Euridice's blood.
“I don't know what Euridice promised you when she turned you.” she follows up. “But I can give you agency, at the very least. You will lead this ship, and report to me, as Captain in my fleet. Do not be afraid. You are still under my protection. But I will allow you to grow. To learn.”
He looks up to her, wide-eyed like a cornered deer. Helena retracts her hand from him, and angles her head.
“What's your name, young one?” she asks him.
“It's Vincent.” he replies, his voice gaining firmness.
“Then I officially name you Captain of this Ship, Vincent.” she declares. “And myself, Admiral.”
Things are taken care of, Helena is back on her own ship, contact data is exchanged, along with everything Euridice's database has on the Unyielding Thirst.
An uneasy calm has fallen, and Silverlight returns to his quarters, after hours upon hours of sifting through the heaps of data, together with Guide and Erinya.
They're both still taking apart the contraptions Euridice's crew had worn to shield them, along with Shine's bracelet.
There he is, on his mind again.
Together, they had lead their haywire mess of a crew through the ages, after Silverlight's controversial research got him exiled, and Shine's failure in keeping his previous Queen safe had him sentenced to death.
Two forsaken ones, embarrassments for their kin, they had been.
It's easy, alone on their Hive, queenless and outcast, to court someone outside their caste. A cleverman a blade, usually prone to raising eyebrows, but there, without any supervision, it hardly ever mattered.
How relieved Silverlight had been, when he learned that their new Queen is just as much of a misfit as everyone else on their Hive is.
Courting outside her species, she would be the last to forbid his courtship to Shine.
Shine, with the golden glint in his eyes, earning him his name.
The doors open, but Silverlight doesn't have to turn around to notice who it is. Shine's mental presence envelops his, like a warm blanket.
'Forgive me.' he feels him speak, and does turn to face him.
Shine has always been prone to hiding his face, whenever interacting with anyone, ashamed of the gnarled scar drawn across his cheek, but never with him.
Silverlight steps closer and traces the rugged texture with his fingertips.
'There is nothing to forgive.' he conveys to Shine. 'I am merely thankful to see you unharmed.'
He purrs in response, and Silverlight feels a tug on his feeding hand, shortly before Shine's fingers intertwine with his. Warmth floods him, as he feels Shine's feeding organ touch his, and suckle lightly. He lets his own flare open, and leans forward, to rest his head against his shoulder.
Shine's off hand pets his hair, Silverlight hums. He knows, Shine loves his hair, the way the light reflects off it, the ethereal, silver glow whenever he sits by a console, the light illuminating his form in the dark interior of their Hive.
Names are never a coincidence for Wraith.
Neither are theirs. Shine and Silverlight, tokens of love and adoration, given to each other, to signify their union.
Pulling back, Silverlight makes eye contact, delighted to see that playful, golden shimmer in his consort's eyes, finally living up to his name again, after so much dullness and worry.
He hisses faintly, and latches his feeding organ to Shine's palm, tingling heat spreading between them, and the damp feeling of enzyme dripping from their fingers.
For now, the world feels right again.
“I remember you.”
Nova flinches hard, and she turns, a snarl drawing her upper lip back.
Quickly, she forces herself to look as indifferent as possible, realizing that there is no immediate threat, and makes a valiant attempt to recall this person before her.
She's a Vampire, clearly, looking rugged, tattered, with a blood stained collar testifying that she's been fed on recently. Nothing feels particularly familiar, except that Nova has seen her on the bridge, beamed in with Ivory's Commander.
“You don't know me.” she continues, in response to Nova's inquisitive glance. “I am Myah, formerly a Captain. Also, formerly under the sway of your sister.”
Nova stiffens, as the mention of Death sends a jolt of fear through her nerves.
“You know me.” she whispers. “She made you hurt me.”
The Vampire nods solemnly.
“Yes. She did.” Slowly creeping closer, she sits down next to her. Nova surpresses the urge to shrink away from her. “She made me hurt many people. My own included.”
“Why are you here?” Nova asks, not managing to banish the hiss from her voice.
“Because I saw you. Strapped down and sedated. I do not believe you remember it, your mind was too clouded. But I saw you there, looking up at me.” She bats her eyes. “I did not want to hurt you. So I didn't, I excused myself, but I also saw that someone else took my place. I'm here because I want to apologize, and thank you.”
“Thank me?” Nova parrots.
“Yes. It is your pain that gave me the courage to resist. To bring my knowledge here, so that we may defeat Death.” Myah speaks slowly, as if the words feel heavy on her tongue. “What you suffered through, will be avenged. I swear it.”
Vengeance? Nova shudders.
Back on Atlantis, it'd felt like a solid plan, but now, it pains her to think about.
The hunger prangs in her chest, flashes of fire searing through her flesh like phantom pains, remains of prolonged exposure to the Unyielding Thirst, kept alive by machines only.
She knows, this will never leave her. Even if Death falls, these scars may never fade.
“I just want her to stop this.” she finally admits, and Myah nods again.
“I understand.” the Vampire replies, sounding as tired as Nova feels, before she gets up and leaves again.