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know how long she could keep this up. She'd been manning the
piloting/command station for hours, her attention on the tactical
her hands on the edge of the console, ready to take the controls from
the computer. The pirate ship was still on her
tail. ATALANTA remained in the lead—Ezri smiled and gave the edge
of the console an encouraging pat—but only just. The
problem was, the difference in speed between the two ships simply
wasn't enough for her
to shake her pursuer. The Federation frontier was in nearly
direction from her current heading—and zooming away at maximum warp
uncharted space hardly constituted an escape.
Ezri kept trying to
ease her course towards a projected rendezvous with ARTEMIS, but the
pirates seemed to be reading her
mind. No matter what maneuver she tried, they always shifted to
block her desired heading. All the fancy flying was accomplishing
was the repeated squandering of her accumulated lead. It was
almost as if her pursuers also knew
need their own grid
of sensor-buoys, Ezri reasoned, like the one ARTEMIS is deploying, and—
blinked in sudden revelation. "That's it!" she gasped.
"They have their own
the cutter's AI responded.
"Assume ARTEMIS' mission is proceeding as planned," Ezri said.
"Show the position and range of all sensor-buoys that should already be
deployed." A side display cleared and resolved into a star chart
with ARTEMIS' planned course as a dotted line. One-by-one,
tiny symbols surrounded by spherical blobs popped onto the
screen. They represented each sensor-buoy's position and
range. Not surprisingly, the area with the best
overlapping coverage was back in the general direction of Scatara-IV.
Ezri tapped the screen, indicating a position two systems beyond
Scatara. It was empty space, but was covered by four different
buoys. "That's our new destination." She eased
out of the command chair, stretched, and shifted to the copilot/weapons
console. "I'll manage the phasers and shields. Escape
maneuver gamma, to port, on my mark." The computer signaled its
with another bleep. Ezri set the shields to full strength,
temporarily robbed power from life-support to augment the inertial
dampening and structural integrity fields, and readied herself.
ATALANTA skewed violently to port—dropped out of warp—spun on its
axis—went back into warp—skewed again, this time to starboard—dropped
out of warp and pitched axis, again—then went to maximum warp on the
The pirates assumed Ezri was trying for a rendezvous with ARTEMIS,
again, and maneuvered to block. This hadn't frustrated Ezri's
actual course change, but
the cutter had passed
close enough for the pirates to take a few potshots with their main
ATALANTA shook as the plasma beams dissipated on her shields—then, they
were beyond the pirates' range.
"Port shield at eighty-five percent," the computer announced.
"Rerouting to secondary circuits and diagnosing damage. Port
shields restored. Minor overload damage to two power
relays. Tertiary backup is available."
"Very well," Ezri acknowledged, rising and stretching, again.
"I'm getting too old for this stuff," she sighed. That wasn't
true, of course. Dax, the Trill symbiont, might be middle-aged by
the standards of its species, but Ezri, the Trill host, was very much
her prime. In any case, the so-called "gamma-tumble" might be an
effective maneuver, but it strained the limits of even the best
inertial dampening fields and was physically very taxing, even for a highly
fit member of Starfleet.
"I'm going to eat something and take a nap," Ezri announced.
"Wake me in two hours."
ATALANTA acknowledged with the usual eloquence. Bleep!
putting the finishing touches on Marta's added "security".
She had started by retrieving a pair of the leather mittens the pirates
had used to restrain her shipmates. She tucked the Ruby Queen's
thumbs into her palms, folded over her fingers to form fists, then
slipped on the mitts. She
tightened the thin, thong laces in stages, tugging to pull out the
slack, then tightening them, again. When she was satisfied, the
chamois-thin sacks were skintight, to the point she
could see the outline of Marta's knuckles and fingers. She tied
triply redundant knots, then sorted through the abundance of ruby-red
spider-silk rope and cord scattered across the tent.
She made her immediate selections and set to work.
First, she retied Marta's upper body in a stringent box-tie,
using more rope and shifting the pirate's encased hands to a position
high against her
back and between her shoulder blades in a reverse
Soon, multiple neat bands of rope pinned her arms to her sides, passing
above and below her ample breasts. Additional strands yoked her
shoulders, reinforced her wrist bonds, and were cinched between her
arms and torso.
Next, she lashed the prisoner's ankles to her thighs, then
the soles of her feet together and tied a web of rope around her
and insteps, locking them in place.
The final stage involved the use of cord. She tightened loops
the base of each of Marta's breasts, until they bulged and took on a
darker shade of green. She then added figure-eight loops to link
together. More cord was used to join the captive's big
toes. Next, Lyra sat behind Marta, pulled the still unconscious
up on her rump, and straddled her with her own spread legs. She
braided the captive's long, black hair in a single tight
ponytail, incorporating a
very long length of red cord as she plaited the strands. Finally,
she used the still abundant free end of the cord to pull Marta's
head back, cleave her crotch, and
link her bound toes to her bound breasts.
The result was a very helpless
She was slumped forward at the waist, but with her head
pulled back. When she regained
consciousness, she would have very few
the left or right and flop onto her side, but that
about it. Escape would be an absurd impossibility.
Lyra smiled, stood and stretched, full-length with her arms raised,
then turned to face the others.
Angie, Olena, and Gwen, were staring back, with
expressions of mild shock. Lyra's shipmates had found Marta's
and had donned bikinis. Angie's was decidedly big, especially
across the chest. Like Gwen's, it was mottled green silk.
Olena's was of green chamois leather. All had disruptor pistols
and various bladed weapons strapped to their thighs and/or holstered on
borrowed belts. Olena and Angie held disruptor-rifles, at the
"What?" Lyra asked, smiling her dimpled smile, the very
picture of innocence.
"That's, uh, an interesting prisoner
"It's one of the classic Orion advanced forms," Lyra explained.
"I've always wanted to try it."
"It looks painful," Gwen observed, then focused on Olena. "What a
pity the sadistic bitch is getting a taste of her own medicine."
"A pity," Olena agreed, perfectly deadpan. "Get dressed,
"Yes, ma'am." Lyra retrieved her
borrowed brown bikini, pulled it on, and knotted the ties.
Her eyes on the closed and knotted flaps of the pavilion's entrance,
Olena joined her. "You say the Carmow will try their mass
snatch-and-grab at dawn?"
Lyra nodded. "Yes, ma'am."
"We could provide supporting fire from here," Olena said,
"but—" She gestured at the scattered cushions and handful of
mostly empty packing cases. "There isn't enough in here to
establish real firing positions."
"Once they realize what's happening, they'll set their rifles on full
power and blow us away," Lyra agreed. "I told Purrgatah we'd be
trying to get to the jungle."
"It's a given that we can't stay here." Olena nodded at Marta's
bound and gagged
form. "I doubt if we can count on loyalty to their captain
for more than momentary protection. And, same as the Carmow, we need
to get into the jungle
before the ships in orbit wake up."
Gwen joined the impromptu
meeting. "Probably," she agreed. "We should wait 'til the
initial confusion of the attack is at its height, then make our
"I'll choose our heading and we'll support that axis of the
Carmow effort as we go," Olena nodded. Her eyes darted from the
Lyra, and back. "Did Purrgatah share any more specific details of
Lyra shook her head. "All I was told was to expect a mass attack
all sides, and that they were going to grab every pirate they could, no
matter the casualties."
"They'll be slaughtered," Gwen muttered.
"All of these weapons are on stun," Olena noted, lifting the rifle in
hands. "It's a good bet all the
"That's true," Gwen agreed.
The heads of the bikini-clad conferees swiveled towards Marta.
The Orion captive was awake, and Angie was sitting behind her bound
body in the same spread-leg position Lyra had used while plaiting the
hair. The Middie's eyes were closed and a beatific smile curled
her lips. She was embracing the squirming prisoner from behind and
hands over Marta's helpless body, squeezing her bulging breasts and
caressing her cord-cleaved crotch.
"Midshipman, what the hell do
"It's worse than I thought," Lyra sighed, and rushed towards her friend.
"What's worse?" Gwen
demanded. She was right behind Lyra.
Olena remained where she was, guarding the entrance.
"None of that, Kipper," Lyra chuckled, pulling Angie away from Marta.
"Let me go," Angie complained, struggling weakly as Lyra dragged her
several meters to the side. Gwen remained beside the helpless and
still squirming Marta.
"She's under the influence of that one's musk-of-power," Lyra
explained, nodding at Marta
"Under the influence? Orion female pheromones?" Gwen
surprise. "But, she's... a she."
"Little known fact," Lyra grinned. "Repeated exposure to 'green
spice' while orgasming can also enthrall a
about this, Kipper," Lyra sighed, and delivered
a businesslike slap to her
best friend's face.
"Ow!" Angie complained, her hand on her cheek. "Why did
you..." She turned and stared at Marta. "Oh," she sighed,
then her cheeks flushed bright crimson.
"She'll be okay," Lyra said, giving the still blushing and very mortified Angie a gentle hug.
"Are you sure?" Gwen demanded.
"She's only in the early stages," Lyra said.
"How can you tell?" Olena demanded.
"If she was fully enthralled," Lyra explained, "she'd have been trying
to untie her Mistress. Either that, or she would have attacked
mistress' enemies." Lyra grinned and hugged Angie, again.
"You wouldn't do that, would you, Kipper?"
"What? No!" Angie
staring in horror. "I don't know why I..." She focused on
Olena. "I don't know why I did that! Believe
me! Oh god!" She
shivered and buried her face in her hands.
"You're sure she's okay?" Olena asked, and Lyra nodded.
"Midshipman Goodnight, get over here—now!"
Angie scrambled to her feet and scurried to Olena's side.
Olena handed her the disruptor-rifle, then pointed at the pavilion's
entrance. "Keep an eye on that flap," she ordered, "and if I
so much as making goo-goo eyes at our hostess, you'll be on report so
fast your head will swim, got it?"
"Yes, Lieutenant," Angie muttered, then checked the rifle's setting
and power (unnecessarily) and faced the closed flap. She was
Olena walked to the others, who were still clustered around
Marta. Lyra handed her the rifle Angie had abandoned during
"M'MMRFF!" Her eyes flashing with rage, Marta squirmed and fought
"She's a little loud, don't you think?" Olena asked.
Lyra nodded, and retrieved the remaining gagging materials.
"Would you hold the patient's head, please, doctor?" she inquired with
"It would be my pleasure," Gwen chuckled, knelt behind Marta, and
gripped her head.
Lyra untied the captive's cleave-gag, then proceeded to stuff a second crumpled cloth into Marta's
mouth. It took more than a little persuasion, but she succeeded
in stuffing most of the cloth between the prisoner's straining lips and
gaping jaws. The cleave-gag was retied, extra tight. Next,
Lyra folded a cloth into a thick, rectangular pad and placed it over
Marta's over-stuffed mouth. Finally, another cloth was tied as a
tightly covering the prisoner's lower face from under her chin to
below her flaring nostrils.
"There," Lyra smiled. "That should be adequate."
"I think so," Olena agreed, then smiled at Gwen. "What do you
Gwen patted Lyra on the head. "I think I'm glad this one is on our side," she muttered.
"Uh, pardon me," Captain ch'Eclat said from across the pavilion, "I
overheard your earlier conversation, and I think I have information you
might find valuable." The naked Andorian was still tied in
spread-eagle between two of the pavilion's support posts, and the
generator on the floor between her legs was still supporting most of
"And I think we still have
the makings of another tight gag," Olena answered, strolling in the
pirate's direction. Gwen and Lyra joined her. Marta
remained where she was, of course, squirming in her bonds.
Carmow attack than
you could with a few disruptor bolts, no matter how well aimed."
"I'm listening," Olena said.
"I don't know why we should," Gwen muttered, her arms crossed beneath
breasts. "She's a renegade and a pirate."
"And no friend of Marta Cyrelle," Chel countered, "or her green-skin
crew. No offense," she added, smiling at Lyra.
"Oh, none taken," Lyra answered with a dimpled smile. She reached
up and tested the red rope binding the Andorian's right wrist, hand,
and fingers. Still smiling, she loosened the terminal knot,
cinched the free ends tight,
and retied the knot.
"Anyway," Chel continued, favoring Lyra with a rueful grin, "I was
beamed down from Marta's ship, but I know my shuttle
is parked outside. I heard it land, and, Marta has been drinking and
dining on my galley stores all day. It's very fast and well
armed, for a
shuttle, and has a custom feature relevant
"Go on," Olena growled.
"There are provisic emitters mounted on the warp nacelles," Chel
explained. "Enter the correct code on the interior pad by the
cargo ramp," she continued, "and every electromagnetic device within
one-hundred meters that's not shielded by the hull will be instantly
of all power."
"Devices such as disruptor and phaser weapons," Olena nodded. "A
clever security measure. Undiplomatic, perhaps, but I can see how
it might be useful in extreme situations. And the Syndicate
pirates don't know about it?"
"The emitter housings are camouflaged," Chel said. "There's no
reason to think the green-skins even know they're there. It would
take an overhaul of the nacelles to find them."
"We can't trust her," Gwen muttered. "Maybe we should try for one of the
shuttles, but she should remain here."
"I think you're right, doctor," Olena nodded, "and I like the idea of
stealing the Andorian's shuttle. With any luck, the pirates in
realize it's been captured and won't even think of tracking us
before we land in the jungle, power down, and camouflage the
hull. Whatever communications, weapons, and other technology are
on board, it'll be a lot more than we have now. A pity we can't
use its weapons to support the attack; but, by the time we
lift off, the Carmow will have the pirates on the ground by the
belt buckle. We'd be stunning more of our allies than our
enemies. Also, their shuttle
tip our hand to the ships overhead. We'd have
Thruster-Sharks up our six in a heartbeat." She stared at
Chel. "But I agree, this one stays here."
"No, ma'am," Angie said.
Olena and the others turned and stared at the Midshipman. "Excuse
me?" Olena demanded.
"We can't leave her," Angie answered. Her eyes remained on the
flap, but there was quiet conviction in her voice. "The
Syndicate pirates will torture her if we leave her behind, possibly to
Lyra turned and focused on Marta. The bound and gagged pirate had
stopped squirming and
was following the conversation with her full attention. "She's
Olena glowered at Angie's back, then sighed. "Yes... she
is." She turned to face Chel. "Okay, I'll give you a
choice. You can come along and face Federation justice, or you
can remain here and face Syndicate
justice. And you'll give me the emitter code right now."
"A reasonable arrangement," Chel said, smiling brightly. "The
code is seventeen, twenty-three, 'cancel'."
"I still don't trust her," Gwen mumbled, then nodded at Marta. "I
suppose you want to take her, too?"
Olena shook her head. "Run the gauntlet with two prisoners? One is bad
enough." She turned to Angie. "Midshipman Goodnight!"
"The Andorian will be your responsibility."
Angie focused on the spreadeagled Andorian pirate (and not the beautiful, incredibly
erotic, bound and gagged Orion pirate).
began with a high pitched, multi-voiced, warbling
chant from the north. Every Syndicate pirate head
in the encampment swiveled in that direction (excluding Marta Cyrelle,
of course)—then swiveled to the south in response to the sound of
disruptor fire. At the sound of the chant, two hundred Carmow
warriors had sprinted from the jungle, m'rrtus at the ready and in
complete silence. The guards had been facing the commotion, and
didn't turn around until the first arrows began
flitting around their heads. At least four arrows found their
as many pirates crumpled to the ground—but the rest of the Orions were
fast as their weapons' resonance coils could recharge, and with every
bolt, a Carmow fell. There were so many targets it was difficult
for the Orions to miss, but the issue was very much in doubt. Hundreds more Carmow
from the jungle, from all directions.
and were already being
"Now!" Olena ordered.
With the Security Officer in the lead, Lyra and Gwen on either flank,
and Angie leading Chel by one arm, they sprinted from the pavilion and
towards the Andorian shuttle. Olena, Lyra, and Gwen were armed
with disruptor-rifles, with disruptor-pistols holstered on their
hips. Angie had Lyra's phaser in her right hand and Chel's right
arm in her left. The Andorian's wrists were crossed
behind her back and bound with red
cord, and she was still naked.
The away team and their blue prisoner made it halfway to the
shuttle before they were noticed. There were shouts and a few
disruptor bolts aimed in their direction, but most of the pirates were
busy battling the Carmow. Concentrating their return
fire where it would do their attacking allies the most good, they
open cargo hatch of Chel's shuttle and surged up the ramp.
"Close the ramp before entering the code!" Chel shouted.
Olena hit the appropriate button on the pad, then fired a last bolt
through the diminishing opening as the ramp cycled closed. The
blast caught a charging pirate and sent her sprawling. In one
fluid motion, Olena slung her rifle and entered the code.
The interior of the shuttle was plunged into total darkness.
sounded, vibrating the floor under their feet. The lights came
back on almost immediately.
"Did it work?" Lyra asked.
"It doesn't matter," Olena answered. "We have to skedaddle before
their fighters show up."
"Untie me and I'll fly us out of here," Chel said, turning and offering
her bound wrists to Olena.
"Not likely," Olena huffed, and hurried to the closed door to the
drawing her disruptor-pistol as she went. She
palmed the button on the forward bulkhead and the door slid
open. "Clear!" she called, then rushed forward and dropped into
pilot's seat. "Okay, here we go! Brace yourselves!"
several buttons, then gripped a pair of joysticks and pulled back.
The others found handholds and steadied themselves as best they could
as the shuttle lifted
hooked an arm around Chel's waist and grabbed a cargo strap.
"Thank you, little one," Chel purred.
"Shut up," Angie snapped.
"Watch her," Lyra said as she slung her rifle and headed for the
"Yes, ma'am," Angie muttered. "Thank you, ma'am."
Gwen winked at the blushing Angie as she also made her way
"I didn't know you could read Andorian," she said to Olena as she
entered the cockpit.
"Yeah," Olena huffed, "like you couldn't
"Security specialists are trained to analyze and interpret different
technologies, doctor," Lyra explained, then blushed at the
expression on Gwen's face. "But then, uh, you already knew that,
"Save the levity for later," Olena muttered, then nodded towards a side
monitor. "Somebody tell me why that display is counting down."
Gwen leaned across the back of Olena's chair and began tapping
keys. "It's the life support system. The sensors are...
She tapped more keys and another monitor cleared and a simplified
floor plan of the shuttle appeared. Five symbols appeared, all
corresponding to the locations of the shuttle's occupants. One of
the symbols was coded blue, and the other four were white, and were
"What does it mean?" Olena demanded.
"I'm working on it," Gwen muttered, continuing to tap keys. "You
concentrate on flying."
The shuttle was skimming above the jungle canopy at high speed.
"I was talking to the Andorian," Olena growled.
"What seems to be the problem?" Chel asked, smiling sweetly.
"I can't find a way to get this to stop," Gwen muttered, "whatever it
Chel was still smiling. "Get what to stop?"
"This countdown!" Gwen shouted. "What—"
Suddenly, a loud, high pitched hum resonated through the
shuttle, and began increasing in pitch and volume.
"Don't hit your head when you fall, little one," Chel said, grinning at
Angie's blinked, trying to focus. She opened her mouth to say
something—then her eyes rolled up in her head and she collapsed to the
Chel knelt and pulled the Orion knife from the sheath on Angie's
belt. She deftly reversed the blade and began sawing at her wrist
bonds. "Computer, hear
my command!" She was
speaking in an
obscure Andorian dialect. "Maintain current heading and altitude."
The shuttle's computer answered in the same dialect. "Acknowledged, Captain
Chel gazed at the tangle of bikini-clad, unconscious bodies in the
cockpit, two pink-skinned and one green. She then turned and
smiled at the other pink-skin,
the cargo bay. The last strands of her
cord bonds snapped and she transferred the knife from hand to hand as
she rubbed her wrists. Stepping over Gwen's sprawling form, Chel
leaned between the two piloting consoles and examined the controls and
displays. She noted they were already more than three-hundred
kilometers from the green-skins' encampment. The passive sensors
confirmed that they weren't being scanned—not yet, anyway. She knew
that would change at any second.
"Computer, land in the
nearest small clearing." She leaned
closer and tapped a screen. "That one."
The shuttle slowed and settled to the ground.
"Engage active camouflage."
What little of the shuttle's fuselage that was visible through the
view screen swirled and coalesced into a mottled pattern that closely
mimicked the surrounding jungle. Active camouflage was one of the
shuttle's many other custom
features she hadn't revealed to her rescuers.
"Secure all power not
required for passive sensors, with weapons and
shields on priority standby."
Chel smiled down at the unconscious Starfleet officers. "Keep watch while I
make my guests more comfortable."
continued to grow, now that she wasn't trying to
make course changes. As soon as ATALANTA passed in range of
sensor-buoys, she intended to trigger a distress signal with an
burst that would brief ARTEMIS on the situation. Her only concern
was another pirate ship
suddenly appearing and blocking her course. She had escape
maneuvers programmed in the piloting computer, ready to engage at the
tap of a few keys.
Suddenly, an alarm tone sounded and symbols began flashing on the main
plot. Ezri sat up straight and tapped the keys, reducing the
scale of the
display, centering it on the area around her pursuer, and enhancing the
resolution. The pirate
had dropped out of warp and was exchanging fire with another ship!
"Hello!" Ezri gasped, staring at the new contact on the
screen. "Who the hell are you?
And where did you come from?"
Whatever the newcomer's identity, it was bigger than the pirate, significantly bigger. The
distance was too great for the cutter's sensors to provide much
I hope I don't regret this.
full impulse. As she drew near, she watched
score a direct hit on the pirate. A followup
disruptor bolt left the Orion ship dead in space.
Suddenly, the cutter's computer replaced the
"Unknown" symbol superimposed on the attacker with the symbol for
"Friendly Warship". Whoever they were, they'd turned on their
transponder and were handshaking with
ATALANTA's communications system. More data appeared on the
screen, and Ezri stared in disbelief. The victor of the brief
encounter was a VOR'CHA-class battle cruiser—a Klingon!
"Greetings, Federation vessel," a female voice sounded from the
communications console. The image of a female Klingon appeared on
one of the screens. "I am Larga, Captain of NING'PARA.
receive an encrypted data pulse."
Ezri tapped a key. "Greetings Captain Larga. I am
Ezri-Dax, on detached duty from the Federation Starship ARTEMIS.
Ready to receive your coded transmission."
The communications console beeped and Ezri tapped several keys,
transferring the data to her station. A side-screen
resolved into a Starfleet operations order. It was in
standard format and the cutter's communication system confirmed its
authenticity; however, it had one glaring, highly unusual feature: the order
the seals of both Starfleet Command and
the Imperial Klingon Defense Forces. Ezri began reading.
"Take your time, Lieutenant," Captain Larga said. "My crew is
boarding our prize and transferring the green-skinned, pirate scum to
Ezri finished speed-reading the order. "My instructions are
Captain. What are your orders?"
"Prepare your vessel to enter our shuttle bay, then standby."
"Yes, Captain. With all respect, my shipmates on Scatara-IV
require immediate assistance."
Larga nodded. "We'll be ready for warp in minutes. You can
brief me as soon as you dock." Her lips curled in what was almost
a sneer. "We shall try and make your stay on NING'PARA as
comfortable as possible."
Ezri knew she was being baited. Most Klingons considered the
races of the Federation to be far too concerned with physical
comforts. An appropriate Klingon proverb came to mind. "If
the gagh is fresh and the blood wine hot, what is missing but a good
"Mahj'klah!" ["Well said!"],
Captain Larga chuckled. "NING'PARA,
Ezri stared at the blank screen for a few seconds. She then
sighed, powered down
the cutter's warp nacelles, and called up the docking checklist.
The flame of hope she'd been nurturing for Olena, Gwen, and the Middies
now burned quite a bit brighter.