Status Quo - Chapter 2

Written by: Paullell

 Lana froze when she heard the door open and someone step through it.  It only takes her a breath to get over her panic and for anger to set in.  She had two more days to come up with next months rent.  Bris wasn't allowed to push up the rent deadline just so he got a freebie session with her.  She climbs out of her bed where she had been sprawled and reading and stalks to her closet, nearly vibrating with anger.  


She passes by her mirror and briefly sees herself reflected in it.  She is five feet seven inches with a well toned body.  Her skin is so pale that it is nearly white which is incredibly striking with her royal blue hair with the white skunk streak in it.  Her tail matches her hair.  It is a blue fox tail with a matching white tip.  The tail, the tufted ears and the odd colored skin and hair had been passed down from her mother who had undergone gene manipulation to please her protector.  It made it nearly impossible for her to blend into a crowd unless it was a costume party or a group of other gene manipulated individuals.  Until recently that had never been a problem, she liked standing out, it was a good thing for a working girl.  But her safe haven, her home had been closed down due to “servicing undesirables”  Which had never been a problem before. I mean really, unless its an outer circle station brothel who bothered with background checks? And for some strange reason she had been marked down as one of the girls who had made the error which was making it hard to find a new brother who would take her.  She could always get a protector, but after seeing her mothers heart broken by one she didn't want to get involved in that kind of situation.


Lana grabbed a robe out of the closet as well as a metal bat that someone had left behind before she rented the place.  She made her way out of the bedroom cautiously, the bat raised and ready to strike.  “You're not allowed to just walk in Bris.  There are rules about that kind of thing!”  It took her no time at all to reach the main hall of her tiny apartment and thats when she saw the body on the ground.  Petite, dark hair, definitely female; not Bris then.  She drops the bat and make her way over to the fallen figure.  Her first instinct is to reach out and help her, then she realizes that someone this beat up is most likely on the run from the law.  It could get her in even more trouble than she already is in.   Lana sighs dejectedly, she can't not help.  Its not in her nature. As she had been pondering she can see that some of the woman’s wounds are already healing.  She peaks out the door and can see that the public outside has already gone back to not caring about whatever brought the woman to her door.  It was one of the best parts about this neighbor hood.  As long as it didn't effect them directly they forgot everything quickly.  No one wanted to be labeled a snitch in this area.   She closed and locked her door and thought quickly about what she could do to help.  She seemed to remember that people with augmented healing would frequently wake up hungry so she left the woman on the floor, knowing that sometimes moving someone could injure them more and take longer for them to heal and goes to the kitchen.  She assembles a smattering of leftovers from her fridge as well as some precious fruit that she had purchased and carries it back out to the hallway.  She sets the tray down and then sits on the floor next to her, her legs curled to her chest and watches the woman for signs that she might wake up soon.




His dreams were fevered and filled with strange sights. There was a woman of glowing light calling out to him, telling him he was in danger. He had a vague sensation of pain in his legs, and a suspicion that he should be running from some sort of monster. There was also that vague memory of something important he was supposed to be doing, some secret mission. But then, dreams were always like that…


-Daray! There is an unknown person in close proximity to you.-


He offered the glowing woman a hard look as she beckoned to him. She was familiar to him for some reason, he couldn’t quite place how or why though.


‘Who are you?’


-My name is APRIL, and you have to get up Daray, you may be in danger.-


‘Why do you keep calling me Daray?’


-Your name is Daray, what else would I call you?-


‘My name is Darren!’ He protested.


The shimmering form glided toward him gracefully, a serene look barely visible on her face, through the glow. She gently reached up as if to caress his face as she spoke, -I apologize, but we don’t have the time to discuss this.-


At that, her hand shot forward with the speed of a gunshot, her luminous fingers sinking an inch into his forehead. He opened his mouth to scream as the digits pressed into his head. He could feel tendrils of pressure winding their way through, but there was no pain, only an ever-increasing pressure that built until he thought his head would explode.


At the moment he thought for certain his skull would yield to the pressure, his world went white and he sat up gasping and panting for breath on the floor of the apartment. 


She quickly surveyed the area, seeing the blue-haired woman sitting near by, she scampered away from her, dragging herself with her hands until she backed up against the wall.


“What? Who? Where?” She stammered as she dragged her wounded legs away from the other woman, cobalt eyes scanning for signs of danger.




Lana scoots back in surprise as the wounded woman sits up suddenly.  Her scan of the room is amazingly fast and her body reacts almost reflexively to move away from Lana.  Lana puts her hands up in a non threatening manner, her yellow eyes worried.  “I don’t think you should move yet, your body doesn’t look repaired to me.  I’m Lana.  You sort of barged into my apartment.  That’s the who and the where on my end.  I’m afraid it’s up to you to supply the why.  You were already injured when you got here.  If you don’t want me to turn into a law abiding citizen and notify the authorities of a home invasion I would very much like to know your who and why.”


Lana’s fox tail twitches at her side and she cocks her head curiously as she watches the woman in front of her.  The food is still sitting in the middle of the floor waiting to be noticed.




Daray eyes the blue-haired woman more closely now that she is more aware of her surroundings. Her words and calm demeanor would seem to indicate that she was used to dealing with the unexpected.


“Um… Hi.” She offered, casting her eyes around her former apartment a little more slowly this time, noticing the differences from when she used to live there. Most of the same crappy furniture was still there…


‘Bris always was a cheap bastard…’




‘My old landlord…’


-I see. Daray, you should not reveal too much to this stranger, we do not know her.-


‘Shush, you! She could have called the Conglomerate already if she’d wanted to.’


-She may have done so already, you were unconscious for 1.8 minutes.-


“I um…” She looked the other woman up and down one more time, trying to get her bearings down and push APRIL’s voice to the back of her mind. “I’m sorry to barge in on you like this…. I sort of needed a place to rest and I used to live here…” She paused again, looking around once more, “a while ago…”


Finally, her gaze dropped to the plate of food and her stomach immediately began to rumble. Food would make the healing process much faster, and less uncomfortable. The dull ache in her legs was suddenly more apparent than a moment ago as she eyed the spot where her missing foot should be.


-It might be poisoned Daray.- APRIL commented the instant she saw the plate.


“My name is Daray. Are you going to eat that?” She asked, pointing at the plate.





The amount of time it takes for the woman to answer has Lana wondering if her head was injured as well.  The likelihood of her level of bioengineering being done to someone who is not mentally fit is very rare.  Finally she starts talking and doesn’t seem to be suffering from any permanent mental impairment judging by her speech although she does avoid mentioning how she got injured which would be an obvious point of conversation.


Lana smiles anyways, years of talking to clients and setting them at their ease leaving politeness ingrained into her.  “I brought it for you.  I noticed that you were healing and I have been told that food can help the process.”  She leans forward, her robe gaping over her generous cleavage as she pushes the plate closer to her.  She is used to being comfortable in all states of undress so she doesn’t even notice it as she is more concerned about the health of the woman in front of her. 


“The window in the bedroom is open, if anyone comes knocking at the door I would appreciate if you could make your way out of it.  I really don’t need to be in more trouble with the local Conglomerate if you know what I mean.”




Daray cocks her head to the side as Lana speaks, eyeing her curiously. Apparently she was accustomed to being under scrutiny from local authorities.


‘Can you check the waves and see what our friends are up to outside?’


-Of course Daray.-


‘And check the net for any info on our mysterious benefactor here please?’


-Of course Daray.-


Finally, she refocuses on Lana, unused to having another person around her while she is dealing with ‘work’. “Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bust in on you like this. I’m kind of…” she pauses to lean forward and pick up the plate, sniffing at it tentatively before she begins to shovel it in, not trying too hard to maintain any form of decorum, but doing her best not to talk with her mouth full. 


“In the middle of a job…” She finished. The pangs in her stomach began to subside a little as she filled it up, but she was going to be needing more if she wanted to get back under way any time soon. Looking down at her maimed leg, she saw the stub was another inch longer, the bone visibly growing longer and the flesh of her calf (and the accursed skinsuit) following it, muscle tissue wending its way around the growing bone like some sort of high-speed footage of a plant growing. But it was still at least a half dozen inches from being a foot again. Probably twenty minutes.


“I don’t want to be any more trouble than is necessary. If I could hang out for a few minutes, maybe raid your fridge… I can pay you for your assistance.” She offered.


Her benefactor didn’t appear to be living in extravagance (she knew she hadn’t been when she’d been living here herself), maybe she could use some hard coin…




It’s not hard to find the local file on Lana.  It states that she is a working girl in the classic sense of the name she had been living and working at a local brothel up until it was shut down a month and a half ago for suspected connections with resistance members.  The paperwork behind the shutdown reads more like another brothel buying local support behind the scenes to have a competitor shut down being as there is no actual documentation of which resistance or any suspected money donations.  The file on Lana lists her as one of the accomplices but the file is obviously doctored, and by a second rate hacker at that.


Lana nods and sits back comfortably again, grinning as Daray wolfs down the food.  “You can stay until you’re back on your feet as long as no one comes knocking on the door looking for you.  As to food I’m afraid you are eating most of the last of it.  But if you have a few credits I could run to the market…”




Daray listens to APRIL’s assessment of their host’s situation as she finishes off the food, then casts a more appraising eye in Lana’s direction. Suddenly, the woman’s state of dress and level of comfort with it made much more sense. She herself didn’t at all mind looking at beautiful women, having been male not too long ago, but she still had trouble comprehending the possibility that a woman could be so comfortable with her own body that she could be so calm while revealing so much.


She looked down at her own body, covered in the rubbery, skin tight, living catsuit that had bonded itself permanently to her body. She kept it in its natural, black color and revealing cut when she was working because she need maximum flexibility and concentration, but she hated how it kept her body on display, even if it didn’t actually reveal any skin below her neck.


“Lana right?” She raises an eyebrow at the woman as she sets the plate aside. “Look, I’m kind of… involved in something. I’m sure you figured out already that it involved the sorts of artillery that are only available to military personnel. I don’t want to get you in any trouble or anything, and I certainly don’t want to be presumptuous, but it looks to me as though you’re in a spot of trouble that I may be able to help you out with.”


As she speaks, she slides one of her baston from their sheath across her back. Holding the 2 foot, metal rod in one hand, she unscrews a nearly invisible cap from one end and lets two small platinum bars slide out of the hollow cavity into her hand. The bars are the standard quarter inch square and 1 inch long that is used by the black market.


“I can give you these, for food, and for your trouble. If you are willing to help, but I have to tell you that there are people out there looking for me because of something I did. It was illegal, and it involved Aegis Online, who’s goons are not known for their ability to think before shooting into a crowd.”


She paused again as she screwed the cap back onto the simple metal rod, then slid it back into the sheath on her back, rolling the platinum bars over in her palm so Lana could see and hear them.


“If you want me to go, I will. But if you’re willing to help out, I may be able to help you even beyond this little bit of money.”

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