Status Quo - Chapter 43

Written by: Paullell

 Turin smiles a genuine, warm smile as Lana closes the collar around her neck and leans forward. He slowly reaches out to her and cups her chin in his hand, brushing his thumb lightly across her lips. “Thank you Lana. Now, please come with me. I want to give you something, as I said, but it may be difficult for you.” He moves to stand up and instantly the women behind him spring into action, sliding his chair back and offering him helping hands, taking his napkin and whatever else it looks like he might need. He waves them off and offers Lana a hand to help her off the floor. “For future reference Lana, I do not expect you to kneel in my presence. I want you strong, and confident. These are the traits that have drawn you to me, and I do not want to quash them. I simply want them harnessed, focused on other tasks, if you will.” Once she is up, he keeps a light hold on her hand as he leads her out of the room and down a narrow hallway, then turns into an equally narrow stairway that descends at least two stories below ground. He speaks to her matter-of-factly as they move. “I am sorry to say that I don’t know exactly what happened. I’ve never seen anything like this before.” At the bottom of the stairs, a sharp turn places them in another long hallway, this one dark and ruddy-orange. The stone of the walls seemingly the natural martian bedrock, having been carved out into a sort of dungeon-like corridor with numerous metal doors lining either wall. As they move down the hall, Turin holding Lana’s hand all the while, they can begin to hear the sounds of moaning and grunting, as if some animal has been caged and is trying to make its presence known. At the end of the hall, a half-dozen of Turin’s barely-clad women are huddled around a door, silently crowding around a slumped form on the floor. “Her mind seemed particularly open to my abilities at first, that’s how I got your address, and your plan to regroup from her. But then something happened, almost as if there was another, stronger mind inside her head. When I had my man force himself on her physically, she broke down completely. I know I said I would let her go Lana, but you have to understand that, in this condition, she would be a danger to… well, everyone… If she were released.” As they move closer to the door, the sounds of moaning and groaning get louder, and the additional sounds of heavy breathing can be distinguished as well. As they approach the huddled women, Lana can make out the form of one of their own on the floor, her head propped against the base of the wall and her breath coming in ragged gasps as her companions apply salve and bandages to a series of deep cuts across her thighs, arms, chest, and body. They still make no noise at all, but there is genuine concern on all of their faces. Turin’s face is controlled, but Lana can see that he is concerned. Both for his women, and for the situation. “I wanted to welcome her into the fold Lana, so that you could have her here with you and not have any reason to want to leave. I suppose that may still be possible, if my suspicion is correct, but you need to know that she will never be the same again. Something changed in her mind. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s as if someone else was in there playing with her mind, rearranging things, changing the physical wiring.” Closer still, the claw wounds on the woman’s body appear to be very thin, but they bleed profusely, as if they are an inch deep, and their pattern and length seems to be familiar to Lana’s eyes, as if she’s seen similar marks somewhere before. The tone of the grunting and moaning seems familiar as well, something she might have heard in a moment of passion. “If she responds to you the way I hope, then there may be some place for her in your life still. If not, the best we may be able to hope for is a merciful death Lana. I know this may hurt, but I want you to know that I will always be honest with you, no matter what the circumstances.” Reaching the door, Lana can see through an inset window that there is a small, white-walled room inside. In the room, is a creature that resembles Daray. The skinsuit has become a milky, semi-transparent color, and the long braid of strawberry-blonde hair has become loose and frazzled, although it is still largely in place. Her dark cobalt eyes are cloudy and wild-looking as she squats over one of Turin’s women, clutching her head in her hands and grinding her swollen sex against the woman’s face like some kind of animal in heat. She’s moaning and grunting as she uses the woman as a sex toy, even as her claws dig into the flesh on the woman’s skull, and she lay there, lips pressed together in some attempt to control the pain she is obviously feeling. The white walls of the tiny room have been covered in deep furrows, claw marks from the look of it, and the occasional charred, black crater where one of Daray’s energy blasts has struck, and there are drying smears of blood here and there. The look on Daray’s face is one of pure rapture, combined with freakish agony, as if she can’t believe what she is doing, but can not get enough of it either. “I’m sorry Lana…” is all Turin says as she takes in the sight through the window. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana follows Turin unresisting down the hall.  She doesn’t object to his hand in hers either and she wonders if it is because of his mental push or because she is allowing it to lure him into a sense of easy complacency.  She hopes it is the latter.  She recognizes the scratches instantly, she knows about Daray’s claws but she doesn’t understand why she would have used them on a helpless puppet.  She cries out in anguish when she looks into the room and she sees what has become of Daray.  Her hand tightens on Turin’s and she moves away from the window, turning to him for comfort.  She cuddles into his chest and cries, letting the tears flow down her cheeks.  “So much pain…” Her mind races, she wants to ask April for help but she doesn’t want to give away her existence yet, if she is even still capable of communication with Daray’s mind, shattered like it must be.  A few ideas emerge in the murk of her poor, attacked brain.  She doesn’t want to give away any of Daray’s secrets, but some might have to come out to save her…. “I have to help them.”  She speaks finally, and she is talking about both of the women in that room.  She looks up into Turin’s face, letting him see her struggle with her thoughts.  “Smell, touch and taste.” She touches her nose and lips slowly as she speaks, her brow wrinkling with her attempts to gather her thoughts.  “When she looses herself like this, her other senses sharpen.  I believe I can get through.  But I don’t smell like me right now.  I smell like perfume, have the clothes I arrived in already been washed?” ____________________________________________________________________________ “I thought you might want them.” He turns toward the mass of women and one of them stands up, plucking a bag from the floor as she does so, and hands it to Turin, who passes it to Lana. “I had them brought down just in case. “You have to understand me Lana, I can be… somewhat forceful in the application of my will, but I never meant for this to happen. I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. I wanted her to be here for you. WITH you…” He turns a forlorn eye to the door. “She killed the man you saw on the video. He didn’t last an hour. He was one of Almon’s enforcers. What we did broke her mind in ways I can not imagine. The only way we can keep her anything close to calm is by leaving a person in there with her, to be abused like that. If we leave her alone, she becomes crazy, feral, and tries to dig her way out. We tried men as well, but she kills them. I’ve never… I’m truly sorry…” Sensing the press of his emotions, Lana can tell that he really is sorry, but she can’t tell if it is because of what they have done to Daray, or because what they have done to Daray may adversely affect the relationship he wants with Lana. Either way, the poor woman trapped beneath Daray’s rutting body does not have much time left if she continues to bleed form her lacerated scalp. ____________________________________________________________________________ Lana is truly surprised at how much Turin is apologizing to her, whatever his motivation he does seem to truly regret this outcome at the very least.  She is also surprised that he is so accepting and unsuspicious of her turning to him for comfort.  He ought to know she is not completely under his thrall.  At the very least he should be pleased at how hard she is working to conform to his desired behavior.  It’s a little frustrating to work so hard and have it unnoticed.  She is also astonished at her own feelings of satisfaction and pleasure when she hears that Daray killed the man who had raped her.  She lets go of Turin reluctantly and inwardly growls, fighting to keep the behavior a subterfuge and not a reality.  With quick efficient movements she strips right there in the hall.  She hands the outfit she had been wearing to the woman holding the bag and then digs out the golden outfit.  Now that she is clean she can smell the sweat on the outfit from the hours spent dancing in the club the night before.  She shimmies into the skirt and top and then looks at Turin, “May I go in now?” ______________________________________________________________________________ Turin’s fingers trace along her body as she steps away from him to change. He gives no physical signs of regretting the separation, but the constant press of emotions surges for a moment, and is supplemented by more lust as Lana strips to change into her clubbing outfit. “You must be careful Lana. She is no longer the person you knew.” He reaches out and rests a hand on her shoulder as he speaks, then motions to the woman holding Lana’s clothes, who turns and enters the code to unlock the door, her hand hovering over the ‘open’ button until Lana has positioned herself squarely in front of the portal, again, the same brief surge of emotion from Turin accompanies her moving away from him. The instant the door slides open, Daray’s head snaps around to face Lana, her cloudy blue eyes narrowing as she pulls the woman’s face tightly up against her gaping sex. The room smells of sexual fluids, sweat, and blood, and it’s hot and humid, almost like a sauna. Rolling her hips around in a tight circle to keep the sensation going in her groin as she inspects the room’s new occupant, Lana can see the tips of her claws digging deeper into the struggling woman’s skull, and can suddenly hear the familiar, but much fainter clicking sound in her ear. Daray emits a low growl in Lana’s direction as her addled mind seems to be processing the situation. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana notes the surge of emotions from him and if she didn’t know better she would think he was worried for her.  She steps into the room and her nose wrinkles at the odor and heat.   The crackling in her ear confirms her fears that with Daray’s mind shattered April is unable to function.  She waits for the door to close behind her before making any additional movements.  She starts by holding out her hands showing that she is unarmed and not a threat.  She lets down her shields that keep her own abilities in check and she looks for the auras of the other two in the room.  She hadn’t used her ability around Turin because she worried it was just another wall for him to attempt to breach but she feels that she needs all her skills right now.  She tires to dampen down the lust that he had invoked in her; she doesn’t want to be just another sexual toy for Daray to latch onto.  “Daray, love. I’m sorry I’m late.  I’m here to help you.”  She keeps her voice calm and soothing as she slowly lowers herself to a sitting position on the floor.  She keeps her eyes locked with Daray even though she would like to ascertain if the woman on the floor is in any kind of panic or if she is still another mindless drone.  She keeps everything about herself non aggressive, small. She knows she can’t but she tries to project feelings of love, comfort, concern.  She keeps her tail lowered although she does flick it from time to time, attempting to stir the air in the room and start to circulate her scent through it. ____________________________________________________________________________ Daray watches Lana enter the room with keen interest. When she raises her hands to show that they are empty, and then lowers herself to the floor, Daray releases the woman’s head, and she gasps for air, but otherwise just lay there beneath the animal that had attacked her. Their auras are strange, to say the least, as are the emotions they are giving off. The woman seems calm. Impossibly so, in fact. Since it is the first time Lana has looked at the aura and emotions of one of Turin’s women, she is unfamiliar with what she is seeing. There is no indication of anything other than a quiet calmness anywhere in her being, despite the fact that her head is bleeding all over the floor. From Daray, Lana gets nothing but the most powerful of emotions. She sees levels of lust that would drive any sane mind completely mad, and it is swirled through with a sort of wanton abandon and disregard for anything, or anyone else. Almost the instant the door closes behind Lana however, a pang of true love, and recognition rolls through her aura. As she sits down against the wall, Lana watches Daray sniff at the air, her claws extending and retracting reflexively as she keeps unblinking eyes set on the other woman. She stares for several long moments, twitching her attention toward Lana’s tail whenever it flicks. Finally, she bolts across the tiny room on her hands and feet as if she is about to attack, but at the last second, skids to a halt and collapses to the floor, wrapping her arms around Lana’s body and laying her head in her lap. She tightens her grip in a sort of manic hug, and makes noises somewhere between whimpers and true crying as she lay there, curled in a ball on the floor. Her aura slowly shifts to feelings of love and devotion, and absolute loyalty, but any spark of her true personality seems to remain totally absent. ______________________________________________________________________________ Lana feels a moment of panic when Daray charges at her.  She had expected to take several minutes slowly crawling closer to her before she would even be able to touch her but the sudden recognition and feeling of love is a relief for her.  She closes her arms around Daray and rocks her, tears rolling down her cheeks with relief.  She keeps her touches in very neutral areas, face, neck, shoulders, arms and back.  Lana had dealt with a woman before who had been the victim of a rape and this was one area she felt competent enough to handle.  She ignores the rest of the world while she talks to Daray and she hopes that if they come in to get the woman they are quiet about it.  “I'm here now Daray.  We're together again.  You're going to be so mad at me when you wake up, but I love you.” While she talks Lana listens for the static from April and traces her fingers across Daray's skin suit in a repeating patten, spelling out:  APRIL? ______________________________________________________________________________ Daray’s body relaxes almost to the point of becoming limp in Lana’s arms. Her low whine/cry slowly turns into a sort of purring noise, and her grip on Lana’s mid-section softens from an iron grasp to a gentile embrace. A few moments later, the door slides open again, which causes Daray to tense and very nearly crawl completely into Lana’s lap with a loud hissing sound issuing form somewhere deep in her throat, but with some assurances from Lana, she stays put and fairly calm. It takes only a few seconds for two women to enter the room and quietly rescue their companion as Lana holds onto Daray. As they leave the room, Turin leans through the door, which begets a growl from Daray, but he is quick to say what he needs to and then leave again. “I’ll bring some food in a few minutes. There are two armed men out here if you get into trouble.” And then he is gone again and the door closes behind him. Daray relaxes again a few moments after he is gone, and the quiet, metronome-like clicking in Lana’s ear beats out a droning rhythm that almost causes her to miss the subtle rise of a patch of the skinsuit beneath Lana’s hand. ______________________________________________________________________________ Lana makes soft, reassuring coos as the women retrieve their companion.  When Turin leans in she holds Daray tighter, trying to offer reassurances.  Her golden eyes are nearly inscrutable but she forces a smile as she replies “Thank you,” in the hope that a little gratitude will be appreciated.  After all, he could have just killed her when she became a problem.  Once he leaves again and the room grows quiet Lana closes her eyes.  She is exhausted after being up all night and the comfort of holding Daray in her arms combined with the rhythmic heartbeat of April's speaker in her ear soon has her nodding off, her body bending protectively over Daray’s head which is cradled against her.  When the texture of the suit starts to change she barely notices it and it takes a few moments even afterwards for her fuzzy brain to realize it could be a response to her question.  Lana opens her bleary eyes and moves her hand to look at the area that has changed. ______________________________________________________________________________ Beneath Lana’s hand a series of small ridges has formed. While they are the same color as the rest of the skinsuit, she can still make out a faint image, but it takes her a few moments of staring, trying to clear her head, to realize what it is. The image appears to be a diagram of an ODN cable jack, the same kind that Daray used to plug herself into Lana’s entertainment center mere days ago. The sound of the door opening once more causes the ridges to disappear again, and Daray’s once-more relaxed state to evaporate as Turin enters the room fully this time, followed by two of his women, one with a short, folding stand, and one with a tray laden with simple finger food, sliced meats, cheeses, fruits, and a pitcher of water with two empty cups and a bowl. Turin speaks as the women set the tray up, “I didn’t know what to bring, or how she might eat at this point. Lana, you need to think about her future. I thought she might react to you this way, and you can keep her if you want, but you should consider what sort of life that would be for her. There’s nothing left of her mind, nothing left to save…” Daray begins to growl at Turin, her back arching against Lana in response to his presence, which prompts him to wave his women out of the room again and move toward the door himself. “I’ll leave you here with her as long as you want. Just let the guards in the hall know if you want out, and they will call an escort to show you the way to me.” There is another press of now all-too-familiar emotions from him as he moves toward the door again, after giving her a slight bow of the head. ______________________________________________________________________________ Lana’s tired mind wavers under the gentle pressure of his emotions.  How kind he is, how caring to want to spare them both this pain, she starts to let go of Daray but her arms tighten around Lana and the growling in her throat reminds her of why she has to resist the seduction of Turin’s mind.  She nods her own head gratefully for the food.  “Yes Turin, thank you.  I can’t decide that yet.  I need more time with her.  It’s an important decision, I don’t want to rush and I’m ever so thankful you are letting me have that time to make it properly. It’s so thoughtful…”  Her voice trails off as she closes her eyes and clamps down harder on her emotions, digging in as she senses her barriers are weakening.  “I want to try to get her to settle for a bit before I follow you.”  A yawn escapes her and she is certain her body is drooping with weariness. ______________________________________________________________________________ Turin offers her a smile, and another press of emotions, love, lust, willingness, desire to please and accommodate, then disappears from the room and the door closes behind him. Again, Daray almost immediately relaxes back into Lana’s embrace, now basically sitting, curled up in a ball, in Lana’s lap, arms wrapped around her body and head pressed into her chest, a soft mewling sound emanating from her every so often as she begins to drift off to sleep, the quiet clicking from the earpiece quickly falling into sync with Lana’s heartbeat. Seemingly moments later, Lana feels a shift of the weight on her body, and opens her eyes to find herself laying on the floor, back against the wall. Daray has shuffled across the room and is crouched low near the try of food, sniffing at it curiously, a look of childlike innocence on her face. Her demeanor has changed a great deal, as she seems to be happy, almost care free, poking idly at a bit of cheese with an outstretched finger. She’s positioned herself so that the tray is between herself and Lana, so her Dark eyes can take in the contents of the tray and Lana at the same time. It’s impossible to tell for sure in the constant light of the smelly little room, but judging from the way she feels, Lana would have to guess that she’s had at least six or seven hours of sleep. As the sleep begins to clear from her eyes, Lana can see Daray holding up a piece of sausage, holding it out in her direction in invitation. Her Cobalt eyes are clear again, but there is still no sign that she is anything more than a child, or a loving, curious animal.

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