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All for Nought

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People stared as the glimmering light danced over her sapphire skin; she moved her body to the pulsing rhythms that pounded through the seedy nightclub. While most members of her species had grown used to being stared at with lust, Biavalia Bi’tarah displayed her sexuality in a way that was immodest, even amongst the asari. Her hips were adorned with a loose golden chain; hanging from the front and back were long strips of deep red cloth that did the absolute minimum to hide the parts of her that some species considered “indecent.” She wore nothing above her waist, save for the collar and cuffs that proudly displayed her status as a slave.

Yet the uninhibited sensuality with which she moved her body would suggest to anyone watching that she was was bound to serve none but her own passions. She hoped the one she pursued that night would think the same.

A young, brown-haired human girl approached her on the dance floor, “Can I dance with you?” she shouted over the thumping, electronic beats. The asari moved closer, draping her arm over the girl’s shoulder, her flexible body writhing in waves as she danced with her. Biavalia’s hand caressed her own body as the human looked into her violet eyes, transfixed by the nearly naked blue woman whose body was now grinding against hers.

This girl shouldn’t be here, she thought, there are dangerous people watching.

She knew she couldn’t focus on that right now. She can’t save everyone, but if she could draw out one particular person, she might be able to save herself and her Master. She needed to seem darkly captivating, she needed to seem unsafe; her target hated being bored, she was drawn to the taboo, the hedonistic, the violent. Biavalia needed to convince anyone watching that she embodied these things.

The human looked up at the statuesque asari as though she was a goddess. Biavalia gently guided her toward a wall at the edge of the dance-floor; at which point she pressed the girls wrists against the wall with aggressive lust and kissed the young women whose name she had yet to even ask. She pushed her body against the human nearly as hard as she pressed her lips. The aggressiveness of her sexuality was almost pornographic, especially in such a public place. After several seconds, she pulled back from her dance partner; the girl looked with wide eyed awe. “Wow,” she said, “are all asari like this?”

Biavalia smiled and pinned the human’s hands to her hips as she danced, pulling the girl backward out into the center of the room. She took her partners hands and guided them over her body as she moved. Sliding the pink hands over her smooth, lightly textured blue skin. The girl’s fingers twitched as her hands were led across the firmly muscled, serpentine flesh. Her body was hard and athletic; the only softness was found at her impressively endowed chest, where the blushing humans fingers were now being pressed by the strong asari hands.

She swayed her hips in circles as the brown haired woman took advantage of the overt invitation to touch her. Squeezing and caressing up and down each others bodies as they moved to the music.

This ought to get us some attention, the asari thought as they danced with an eroticism that made sex look tame.

“Hey!” a gruff voice said from beside them, “How much for the two of you?”

This should do nicely, Biavalia thought with a smile.

“Just ignore him” she said loudly enough for the man to hear, “He’s a loser.”

The human looked nervously at the rugged Batarian next to them, who took a step closer to them.

“You’d better watch your tone.” he said threateningly, “I just made a big score, and I have plenty of credits to blow. Come on, you could make a lot of money tonight.”

The human girl began to get agitated, “Back off, creep! We’re not whores!”

“Well this one definitely is.” he said, grabbing Biavalia by the arm. There was a moment of silence as the woman looked back and forth between them, not sure what to do.

Biavalia spoke first, “You’re right... I am a whore. But I wouldn’t fuck you even if you offered me enough money to buy my own planet.”

“Haha! Playing hard to get.” he said, his grubby fingers still digging into her arm, “Maybe I have that much money. But you’ll have to show me that you’re worth it.”

The asari slave stared straight-faced for a few seconds. “Okay, I’ll make you a deal. How about you give me a peak at what you’ve got, and I’ll give you a peak at what I’ve got.” Her finger slid down her torso, ending at the front of her loin-cloth, to ensure no misunderstanding as to what she meant.

The man grinned as he pulled a PDA out of his pocket and discretely entered his access code. He turned the screen to show Biavalia a rather impressive balance in his account. “Oh my!” she said as she placed a hand flirtatiously on his chest, “That’s quite a big score indeed.”

“All right, your turn.”

The nearly naked asari faced him, looking him dead in the eye with a coy grin. With a dancer’s grace and flexibility she lifted one leg straight out and brought it up to a standing split, the toes of her raised foot pointing at the ceiling. She moved her leg forward until the back of her knee rested on the man’s shoulder just beside his neck.

With a sudden burst of speed, the other leg came up to slam into the opposite side of his neck. Her thighs now scissored with crushing force just beneath his jawbone. Her torso whipped downward, her momentum flipping the man on his back. She was now kneeling on the floor, the suffocating man now pinned beneath her cunt, the blood-flow to his brain cut off by the crushing force of her muscular thighs.

Biavalia closed her eyes and began to whip her head back and forth, dancing to the rhythm of the music, seemingly indifferent to the thrashing man begging for oxygen trapped beneath her pelvis. While the other patrons were accustomed to witnessing violence, the style with with the asari perpetrated it resulted in a decent number of those around her stopping to stare at the bizarre scene of the dancing girl as the body clamped between her legs slowly went limp.

As she felt her victim lose consciousness, she discreetly palmed the man’s PDA before coming back up to her feet through an acrobatic back-roll. She took a step toward the human girl she’d been dancing with and placed the unlocked PDA in her hand before pulling her in close. Whispering into her ear, she said, “I don’t know why you came, but there are dangerous people here. This should be enough money to get you set-up somewhere safe, with a decent amount left over for emergencies.” She kissed her gently on the lips before turning and striding confidently to the opposite side of the club.

As she approached the bar, she saw a pair of turians flirting with a smartly dressed asari girl. One of them was dramatically acting out some war story, seemingly trying to impress her with their military prowess, but as she watched, she realized their true intention. The quiet one dissolved a hallex into her drink as the other distracted her with theatrics.

As she passed their table, she picked up the girl’s drink and poured it down her throat without breaking stride.

“That bitch!” she heard the sky-blue girl shout from behind her as she continued walking with a contented smile.

Better me than her, she thought, having dosed herself earlier that evening with a medicine that would mostly neutralize the effect of narcotics, she needed to stay sharp if her mission was going to succeed. She eventually came to a table where she sat alone, looking out across the noisy, dark room.

Where the hell is she?? Biavalia thought desperately, It’s been weeks, I’ve caused trouble at every sleazy bar and seedy nightclub in this system. What more can I do to pique her interest?

“You know, I’ve been watching you.” the voice came from the shadows behind her.

Biavalia’s heart soared. Could this be her?

“You behave as though you’re seeking something… exhilarating.”

That voice, Biavalia thought, dark and seductive. Like a poison so sweet you can’t help but swallow. This is who I’ve been waiting for.

She stood and turned to the figure in the shadows, “I’m looking for someone who isn’t boring. Someone who frightens me.” she whispered sensually.

The figure in the shadows smiled, “Follow me.”

She did as commanded and the mysterious woman led her to a table far from the dance floor and the crowd. It was quieter, more private. The two asari sat across from one another. Biavalia took in the image of the woman across from her. The piercing, icy-blue eyes matched her frost-colored skin. The le’ku of her scalp were covered in reptilian scales and nearly black, a jagged line across her forehead where the dark skin wreathed her pale-blue face. Biavalia mentally took note of the unusual markings that appeared almost like a human hair-line, thinking that if this didn’t work out, the pattern might possibly allow her to find other asari who might share this woman’s genetic mutation.

“My name is Morinia.” the seductively sinister woman said.

She changed her name, but only slightly. Biavalia thought, I’ve finally found you, Morinth. I just need to keep from scaring her off before I get a chance to ask for her help.

“Biavalia Bi’tarah, though you can call me Beebee.”

“Cute name.” Morinth said as she signaled the bartender to bring her a drink. “I bet it makes people underestimate you.”

The two asari locked eyes with one another, both challenging the other with menacing, yet flirtatious smirk.

“So you’re supposed to be a dangerous woman?” Beebee said with an arrogance she knew would bait this woman into opening up.

“I’ve known my share of violence.” Morinth replied as the bartender handed her a drink. “But you… you seem to get off on it.”

“I do.” Beebee said. She leaned back in the booth confidently, spreading her arms across the backrest in such a way as to focus attention on her large, unclothed breasts. “I’m fascinated by everything my body and mind can experience. I’m drawn to the darkness; pleasure, passion, pain. All the things that others avoid, I want to experience in their true agonizing glory. You know, something about you speaks to me, Morinia…. I could be wrong, but I feel that you might be a kindred spirit.” She stared with a predatory gaze as the woman across from her leaned in.

Morinth laughed quietly, “I feel the same way. Tell me, what do you think of the music here?”

Such a banal question, she thought, She wants to see if I can keep her interest. She stared out from under her eyebrows with a deathly serious expression, “It makes me want to do bad things. It makes me want to have bad things done to me by bad people who won’t care if I beg them to stop.”

Morinth had been raising her glass to her lips, but had stopped short upon hearing her reply. That got her attention, Beebee thought. Now let’s see if she can keep my interest. Her expression suddenly softened, “So what kind of vids do you like?”

“Have you seen Vaenia?” she asked.

“Ahh, so you’re the type who likes sophisticated smut.” Beebee remarked. “I’ve seen it. Heard it was supposed to be controversial. It was…. well made, I suppose. But I tend to be drawn to things a bit more… raw. Things that excite me.”

“Tell me what excites you.” Morinth insisted, the corners of her mouth almost imperceptibly curled up as she gave her rapt attention to the sparsely attired women across from her.

“There’s a particular vid I keep returning to again and again. It features a zeroball player named Niraka T’ket.” Beebee began slowly.

Morinth leaned back in her seat, “Oh… you like sports.” she said in a deadpan voice, as she looked off into the distance, her coy smirk suddenly disappearing as she sipped her drink.

Beebee, undeterred by her companion’s apparent boredom, slowly went on, “You see, Niraka plays full-contact zeroball. She’s known to be quite the bruiser on the field. Though her sadism extends into her personal life as well.”

Morinth’s pale eyes turned back to meet Beebee’s violet ones.

“Not many people have seen this video. In fact, Niraka herself wasn’t even aware it was being made.” Beebee spoke slowly. “She’s strong, she likes to see her strength overcome a powerful opponent. But every once in a while, she likes to take her winnings and pays to see what her strength can do to someone who won’t fight back.”

Morinth has leaned forward; she’s still, sitting on the edge of her seat now.

“I watch her on the screen,” Beebee continues slowly, making sure each sentence builds suspense. “She’s with this little asari slave-whore. She beats her, breaks her bones. The whore screams, she begs. Niraka pulls a large club from her bag. She forces it inside the girl.” Beebee stops to close her eyes and take a slow, almost orgasmic breath before continuing, “Rapes her until she bleeds. The whore says she’ll do anything to make the pain stop. Niraka pisses on the floor, says that she’ll let her go if she licks it up. The pathetic little cunt believes her; she humiliates herself. Niraka doesn’t care. She holds her down and peels the le’ku from her scalp one. by. one.” Beebee mimes the action by running her fingers back-to-front slowly across the asari tendrils adorning her head. “The screams are piercing.”

Morinth’s eyes are wide now, she let out a slight gasp at the mention of the whore getting her scalp flayed. The small smirk widened as she bared her teeth in a predatory smile, “Did she die?”

The concept of watching a snuff-film as foreplay no-doubt excited the murderous asari. Inwardly, Beebee made an effort not to show any sign of anxiety at sitting across from the super-powered psychopath.

“No.” Beebee said, matter-of-factly. She turned slightly in her seat and put her feet up on the corner of the table. “The whore was owned by a human. A doctor; he always put her back together, made her pretty for the next customer. She worshipped him, let him do whatever he wanted to her. She was born a slave, she didn’t know any other way to be. Such a waste of beauty and talent. If she had only learned to think for herself, she’d have realized that she could have had any life she chose. With the things she’d been trained to do, to endure, she could have fucked her way across the galaxy and made a fortune in the process.”

Morinth eyed her curiously, her expression urged her to continue.

“She was beautiful, too. Her Master made sure of that. Good-looking asari whores are a dime a dozen, so he had to go the extra mile. She had a pretty face, sure. Regal violet stripes that matched her eyes. He had a tattooist extend the facial markings down the rest of her body, said that people wouldn’t be spending much time looking at her face.” As she spoke she slowly drew a finger down the side of her striped face. “He gave her huge tits, too. He told her it’d make sure everyone who saw her would know that she was a whore.” Her finger descended down her torso and circled one of her impressively large breasts before making its way down her firm abdomen.

Slowly, her legs parted until each of her heels perched on opposite corners of the table. “He even gave her a tight, little human cunt, too.” Biavalia casually pulled aside the red strip of fabric that hung from her waist to reveal a perfectly formed human-looking vulva in place of the featureless slit that normally dwelt between asari thighs.

Morinth stared her body up and down, transfixed by this sadomasochist’s tale of twisted depravity. “You’re talking about yourself. You’re the whore.” Morinth said with a licentious smile, she’d placed her half-full drink down several seconds before, her attention was now focused on Beebee, and nothing else.

“No, I’m not the whore. Not anymore.” Beebee quickly swung her feet back down and leaned in close enough to whisper, “I’m the fucking queen of whores.”

Morinth smiled widely, she was hanging on her every word, every gesture.

“What did it feel like? When Niraka tortured you? Knowing that she could end your life at any moment?” Morinth asked.

“Exhilarating. Most people rage against death, against pain, fear, humiliation. But if you accept them, if you embrace them…. Well, let’s just say that in those moments, I felt more freedom as a slave than most people feel their entire lives. I didn’t escape because I hated the cruelty. I escaped because I hated everything else. Sitting alone, waiting for the next customer to fuck me in the ass so I could convince them that they were the best I’ve ever had. It felt so routine, so safe. But every now and then I’d get someone really dangerous. Someone who wanted to do things that wouldn’t even occur to most people. Things that frightened me.”

“It’s only when you flirt with death that you feel truly alive.” Morinth said.

Beebee smiled as she took a moment to consider whether Morinth had intended the irony in that remark. She went on, “I heard a story once. It was about an asari mercenary who came to be employed by a rather vicious matriarch. It was said that the matriarch liked to meld with her victims at the point of death. Taking inspiration from her employer, she began to do the same. Eventually she became addicted to it. It was no longer something she did just in battle, she started seducing people, innocent people, just so that she could murder them and feel their death. She was eventually captured and executed. But before she died, she described what it was like. She said….”

Beebee paused, pretending to recall details from this story she had memorized in preparation for this encounter.

“She said it was a sort of ‘burst of life.’” Beebee explained, “Like an orgasm, but instead of being the release of a few hours of sexual tension, it was a release of an entire life. Every thought, every bit of fear, anxiety, joy, hope, everything; all exploding into nothingness in an instant. She said that her whole existence became based on experiencing it again and again. After she was convicted, she begged them to end her life.”

“She wanted to experience it one last time.” Morinth completed the thought.

“Yes. The humans have a term for creatures like her. Women who seduce and kill. It had a rather elegant sound to it.” she paused for a moment, as though searching her memory, “Succubus.”

Almost condescendingly, Morinth replied in a quiet voice, “Surely, you know the asari have a term for that as well.”

Beebee furrowed her brow, “Actually, I don’t. Born into slavery, remember? I didn’t get much of the traditional asari education.”

“Well allow me to educate you.” Morinth began. “There’s a phrase in an old asari dialect that means ‘demon of the night winds.’”

Whoa! Beebee thought, Is she actually going to admit it right here? Her mind echoed the words as the woman across from her spoke them.

Ardat-Yakshi
“Ardat-Yakshi.”

Both women’s hearts raced with excitement at the secret they each held.

Morinth went on, “In ancient times, they were worshipped as gods. They were able to dominate the minds of anyone weaker than them.”

“What about those who were stronger?” Beebee asked in awe.

“No one is stronger than an Ardat-Yakshi. In fact, that’s how they kill. They would enchant their victims with their charm; and when they mate, their partner would be filled with an ecstasy so immense that it overwhelms their nervous system and they die.”

Biavalia stared in quiet awe for a few seconds, “Do you know such a goddess?”

Morinth laughed quietly, believing inaccurately, that the beguiling women across from her had flattered her by accident. “I’m sorry, Beebee, there are no more Ardat-Yakshi.” Her eyes narrowed and shifted sideways, her subtle grin spoke volumes about the sinister thoughts racing through her mind. “Do you want to go someplace more private?”

“We can go back to my place. I’ll show you the vid of Niraka-”

“No, my place is closer.” Morinth said abruptly.

“Hmmm. Let me think, should I go home with a violent stranger who spent most of the night watching me from the shadows.” Beebee began in a playful tone, “Doesn’t seem like something any sane person would do. I might never see the light of day again. You might hurt me, rape me. You could even tie me up in a dark room and torture me.” she paused briefly, “You might even kill me…”

A big toothy grin slowly formed on Beebee’s face. “Let’s go.”

The two women traveled to a tall building nearby and ride the elevator to the top floor penthouse.

“Whoa.” Beebee said, taking in the sight of the large, opulently decorated apartment. At the far end was a floor-to-ceiling window that looked out over the flickering lights of the busy alien metropolis. The view was stunning; from this high up, she could see for miles.

“Enjoying the view?” Morinth asked. Beebee had made her way to the window almost unconsciously.

“Yes.” she replied, “Where I come from, the gravity is too high to make buildings this tall.” She wondered if Morinth was actually paying rent, or if she’d simply used her power to dominate the landlord into giving her the apartment free of charge. Another thought crossed her mind that Morinth just as likely could have seduced and murdered the penthouse’s original occupant.

The predatory woman casually sat and watched as her prey marveled at the decor.

Beebee could feel the Ardat-Yakshi’s eyes on her as she moved about the room, it chilled her skin, almost as though her gaze itself was venomous. I need to be very careful. Beebee thought, This isn’t a game. This woman could literally kill me with a thought. At some point I’ll need to let her know that I’ve been pursuing her without making her feel cornered. We need her help.

Morinth’s apartment was like a sort of dark museum. Paintings, sculptures, artifacts. All neatly organized, and all with themes of death and violence. She recognized one piece by an Elcor artist, and another that she was surprised to realize appeared to be an original Hieronymus Bosch. Though for most, she couldn’t even begin to guess their origins. Morinth occasionally made small comments about the pieces she was eyeing at any given time.

Eventually, she was puzzled to come across an artifact that she recognized from her studies of human history. Before she had a chance to ask, Morinth spoke, “That rifle was used during the Invasion of Normandy during Earth’s second World War. I’ve read that it was one of the most violent battles in human history.”

Peculiar, Beebee thought. She could have picked items from any battle of any species… Why this one?

“Isn’t the Normandy that ship that blew up the Collector base a few months back?” Beebee asked.

“It is.” she said, her eyes shifted sideways thoughtfully and she gave a knowing smile, “Let’s just say that the story piqued my interest in humans.”

Beebee felt a pit in her stomach, but tried not to let on. That doesn’t make sense. Morinth’s mother Samara was on the Normandy. She’s a Justicar, sworn by oath to protect the righteous and kill the wicked. All our intel says that Morinth spent most of her life fleeing from her mother. Why would she want a reminder of the ship Samara served on in her living room? Dammit, I feel like I’m missing something important!

“Something on your mind?” the voice came from just behind her. In her contemplations, Beebee hadn't realized that Morinth had moved from the couch.

Thinking quickly, she steadied her mind, “You mentioned…. Ardat-Yakshi….” Beebee gulped slightly, unable to completely disguise her anxiety. “The idea has been stuck in my head. Are you sure that there aren’t any alive anymore?”

Morinth took Beebee’s hand in hers, “Come sit with me.” She led her gently to the couch where they set next to one another. Morinth put her arm around Beebee’s shoulders and looked deep into her eyes. Beebee felt a pressure creeping into her mind like a hand pressing down on her consciousness. Suddenly, Morinth’s eyes went black.

The hand in her mind now felt like it was gripping. Pulling and molding her thoughts to the form that most pleased Morinth.

She looked at the woman in front of her and it was like looking upon the face of God. The rest of the room, the rest of existence, seemed to pale in comparison. Her thoughts were formed against her will into a singular purpose. Serve and please Morinth.

Her voice came like a choir of angels, but with far more beauty and power behind them. “I am Ardat-Yakshi. Tell me how you will worship your new Goddess.”

Suddenly Morinth’s eyes returned to their original frost blue. Light and color returned to the room and Beebee’s mind was once again her own, though the words still resonated insistently in her mind. Had she lacked experience in telepathic domination, the woman’s power might have enthralled her completely. But Beebee had spent enough time melding and altering the minds of slaves to make them compliant that she knew how to resist when the same techniques were used on her. Still, Morinth’s power was able to do in a few seconds what would take Beebee hours, possibly days; and she accomplished it without even fully melding.

Wanting to convince the pale-eyed woman that her domination was successful, Beebee reverently knelt at the Ardat-Yakshi’s feet. “I will worship you in any way that you request, my Goddess. I will offer you my body and mind to do with as you see fit. I will seduce others and bring them to you as offerings if that is what you desire. I will ensure that any who defy you will suffer the wrath of the Goddess Morinth, and -”

Beebee stopped suddenly, realizing her mistake. Anger sparked in the psychopath’s eyes.

“Did you say Morinth? Where did you hear that name?!?” She stood angrily and lifted her hand. Waves of blue light emanated from her palm as Beebee felt the tingly electric pressure of the woman’s devastating biotic power enveloping her. Her body rose into the air, unable to move.

Beebee tried to calm her panicked mind, “Let me explain, I think we can help each-”

“My mother sent you, didn’t she!?!? I should have known that killing her wouldn’t be enough to stop her fucking mission!”

Morinth killed Justicar Samara? Beebee thought, And now she thinks I’ve been sent to perform her execution as a favor to her dead mother. This is bad. This is really bad!

“Wait, please just-” Beebee tried to speak calmly to the raging demon, but to no avail.

“You wanted to die by the hands of an Ardat-Yakshi?? Well allow me to grant you that final wish!!!”

Beebee felt her body pulled helplessly toward Morinth. Her heart raced as mortal terror consumed her. The murderous asari’s icy eyes turned black as her hand roughly clutched the back of her neck.

“Embrace Eternity, Bitch!!!”

The sensation that flooded her nervous system was, for the first fraction of a second, reminiscent of pleasure. Like the slight sting of overstimulation immediately post-orgasm. But the sensation almost immediately magnified a thousand-fold. It grew to a feeling of icy needles being jabbed into every cubic millimeter of her body, then the needles felt as though they were vibrating and spinning, shredding her every muscle and turning her bones to splinters. The deafening sound in her head like electric screams drowned out everything else.

Then suddenly… silence, darkness. Her body felt numb, she couldn’t even tell which way was up or down. For a brief moment she considered the possibility that she was dead. But slowly her vision and hearing faded back in. She blinked a few times and realized that she was laying in a heap on the floor. Across the room she could see Morinth frantically packing things into a bag. Slowly, Beebee regained the ability to move her body. Clumsily, she pushed her body up from the floor. Morinth’s keen hearing detected the movement.

She spun around with a look of wide eyed shock, “How are you still alive?!” she shouted accusingly.

“Bi… biotic resistors, implanted in the menin… meninges.” Beebee barely managed to articulate.

“YOU HAD SURGERY TO HUNT ME!!??!!”

Beebee’s body was once again engulfed in the crushing tingle of Morinth’s biotic power.

“Please, let me ex-”

She wasn’t able to say the next word, as the vision of Morinth and the large apartment suddenly shot backward away from her. She barely felt her back collide with the glass of the large window, but she now felt the cold night air on her skin, and heard it whistling by her as she fell toward the planet’s surface, wreathed in the glimmer of broken glass.

Shit.

She tried to get a hold of her panicked mind and traumatized body.

Okay, from this height, in this gravity, I should have almost ten seconds left before I hit the ground. Focus!

She took the quickest calming breath she could, and upon her slow exhalation, she focused on using her biotic power to lift her own body. Her thrashed nervous system made it difficult to focus well enough to use her biotics at all, but slowly she managed to decelerate her descent. The high pitched whistling of air turned to a lower whoosh. She was filled with hope until she looked down to realize how little distance she had in which to slow down.

“HOHPF!” the rather undignified sound forced out of her as her body collided with the street.

I’m alive?? I’m alive!! Success!

She laughed weakly as she considered the fact that the bar for success had been lowered nearly as quickly as she had just been. She closed her eyes and enjoyed the cool feeling of ground on her face.

So let’s review. Beebee thought to herself, half flustered and half amused, Didn’t manage to recruit the Ardat-Yakshi, but did get the chance to test the meningeal resistors. Conclusions, hurts like motherfucking hell, but protects the central nervous system from hemorrhage by Ardat-Yakshi melding. Bonus test….. learned I can survive a nine-hundred foot fall, apparently.

She sighed, and rolled into her left side to begin examining her broken body. She could tell a few ribs on her right side were broken from the collision with the ground. She suspected that her right ankle and kneecap may have been broken as well. And upon closer examination, she realized that she had a large piece of glass embedded in the back of her left thigh. She pulled it out to find it was, thankfully, a rather shallow wound. Other than a few scratches and small splinters of glass, her arms seemed to be intact. She struggled to climb back to her feet at least long enough for her to limp over to a nearby bench and sit down.

She activated her Omni-tool and contacted her Master. She knew that he’d be disappointed to know that she failed, but he’d be more disappointed if she allowed herself to suffer alone without asking for his help.

A deep, male voice came from her wrist, “Thank the goddess, I’ve been worried for hours.”

She smiled at the sound of him. To her, his voice felt like a warm, heavy blanket. “I’ve missed you too, my King. Sooooo, good news, the biotic resistors work!” Her voice had a quality of girlish playfulness. She was trying to soften the news that she’d been the victim of two consecutive murder attempts in the last five minutes.

“She tried to kill you?” he said quietly.

“Twice.” she said hesitantly, “When I didn’t die the first time, she threw me out a window.”

She heard him sigh, “Are you safe now?”

“As safe as I can be on this planet. I think Morinth is more focused on fleeing than on coming all the way down here to confirm that I made a pretty, purple puddle on the pavement.” she paused for a moment, “Try saying that five times fast.”

She knew her Master well enough that she could hear him trying to not smile on the other end of the line.

“I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

***

She sat patiently meditating, she moved her attention throughout her body, trying to feel for any wounds or damage she hadn’t yet accounted for. The task proved difficult, as the damage to her peripheral nervous system had left her entire body feeling somewhat numb.

In what seemed like no time at all, a sky-car landed in front of her, and her Master rushed out from the driver's seat with a medical kit. He was tall, and thickly muscled, with a stern expression that intimidated most people. Though Biavalia knew better than to be afraid of him. He put on the strong, silent act because he wasn’t especially great at talking with people. She had belonged to him since he was very young. She had served and obeyed him as he grew into a man, and found him to be among the rare few to be uncorrupted by having power over another. In fact, were it not for the trauma he experienced a few years ago, he would likely still be practicing as one of the rare human experts in the field of asari genetics.

He was on a dark path for a while, that’s how the thoughtful human doctor and his devoted asari servant came to be known by their current titles as the Slave Trainer King and the Queen of Whores.

“Are you okay?” He finally asked after spending a few minutes examining her and treating her injuries as best he could.

“I feel fine now, my King.” she replied with a gentle smile. The tension in his brow made her think that he needed comfort more than she did. He took her hand and led her to the car, making sure to stay close by. It was only once they took off that he asked about her mission.

“So, what happened?

“Well, other than the murder attempts, I had a pretty magical evening.” she replied playfully.

“Beebee.” he said in a lightly chastising tone.

“I’m serious. Morinth is…. amazing. More sophisticated than I would have thought. Pale skin, sexy, mischievous smile.” she was almost gushing like a girl with a crush, “Her aura, though. It’s almost overwhelming, she has this energy about her that’s fierce, animalistic. She’s like….” she paused to think, “what was that Earth animal that humans sometimes say my stripes look like?”

“A tiger, I think.” he replied

“Yes, like that. She’s powerful and deadly, but there’s a beauty, a nobility behind it. Even though I knew she saw me as prey, it still felt like an honor to watch her hunt.” she stared out the window, watching the buildings whiz by as she thought in awe about the Ardat-Yakshi.

“But she won’t join us?” he asked flatly.

Her brow furrowed in thought, “I don’t know. She panicked. I never got a chance to ask her.”

“Disappointing. I was hoping when we found her that we’d at least get an answer. Our competitors are getting bolder in trying to eliminate us. You’ve become a formidable fighter, but that won’t keep us alive forever. Morinth would be a serious deterrent to our enemies; hell, she could help us just enslave our enemies.” he said.

“I’m proud to be your knight, my King. My fighting skills would be useless without your tactics. But I agree… an alliance with Morinth would have a much better chance of keeping us alive. Especially now that the other slavers are beginning to cooperate to destroy us.” her formerly playful tone turning serious.

There was silence for several seconds before he spoke, “It seems like we should give serious thought to the Andromeda option. I mean, I don’t want to leave everything behind, but… if that’s our only way out.”

“I will obey any command you give, my King, but in my opinion, I think it’s worth one more try with Morinth.”

“She already tried to kill you twice!” he shot back. Taking a deep breath, he continued more quietly, “We take too many risks as it is. But I suppose doing nothing is the bigger risk…. Could we even find her again? Did you learn anything that would help us track her down?”

Beebee’s eyes lowered, “No, when we melded, it was just- Wait!!” she suddenly perked up. Her mind began to race. “I didn’t notice it at the time through all the blinding pain, but I think I did catch some visions of her mind.”

She sat tensely, her eyes darting back and forth as she tried to make sense of what she was seeing in her head. “Normandy! Wait, that can’t be…”

“What is it?” he asked, his eyes shifting back and forth between where he was driving and the asari slave.

“I… she had an artifact that didn’t make sense to me. Unless… I see her on the Normandy. She… was part of the crew?” Beebee held her head as she tried to piece it together.

“Are you saying that she was working with her mother?? With Samara?” he asked.

“No, she was Samara! At least, that’s what everyone thought. She killed her and took her place on the Normandy.”

“Pureblood asari can sometimes look almost identical to their mothers.” he commented, “So we know that she snuck onto a famous ship. But how does this help us find her.” he said with hectic curiosity.

“There was another woman there when she killed Samara…someone helped her.” her voice turned to an unbelieving whisper, “no… it couldn’t be… could it?” she thought aloud to herself.

“Someone saved her from her mother? Morinth has a friend? Someone who could help us find her?? Someone who could keep you safe while you talk to her?” he asked wide-eyed.

Beebee stared in stunned silence as she searched through the memories she gleaned from joining minds with Morinth, still not able to fully believe what she saw.

“Commander Shepard.”

He stared over at her, jaw dropped from surprise. His eyes turned back to the path ahead of him just in time to swerve to avoid a car in the nearby lane.

He began slowly, working out the unbelievable story in his own head, “So Commander Shepard, the woman who saved the Citadel; she helped Morinth kill an asari Justicar to gain her loyalty, and then she tricked everyone to hide the fact that she had recruited an Ardat-Yakshi to her team. Is that what you’re telling me, Beebee?”

“Yes, my King. That is what I see in Morinth’s memories.” she replied.

“By the goddess… It’s not as though we aren’t trying to do the same thing, but I don’t think I could kill an innocent person just to impress her.” he said

“Justicar Samara was trying to kill her. So one could argue that Commander Shepard was just trying to help Morinth defend herself.” Beebee said.

“I suppose. Something about it still seems unscrupulous, though.” he said, his eyes narrowed into a contemplative squint. “I don’t know that we can trust Shepard enough to ask her to relay a message for us, assuming we could even get in contact with her.” Beebee could see the his mind working as he formulated a plan, “Ideally, we would get her to come to us for help in finding Morinth. If we forged a distress message from Morinth, Shepard would come running to help her former crewman. If we include the right details, we can lead Shepard to us.” He contemplated a few moments longer before asking, “Are you still on good terms with Matriarch Aethyta?”

“As long as she’s still a sucker for a great pair of tits!” she said as she grabbed her breasts playfully.

“Okay…. We can give this one more shot.”