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Status Quo - Chapter 44

Written by: Paullell

 Lana groans as she pushes herself back into a sitting position, her muscles protesting the time spent sleeping on the hard floor.  As Lana realizes how much time has passed she is astonished that Turin has let her stay in here so long.  She looks over at Daray and feels of pang of despair that she is still in this mentally broken state.  She tries to smile but her eyes are hot with unshed tears as she speaks to what is left of her lover.  “It’s not fair Daray.  I’ve come here for you but all you have left for me is your body and not your mind.  I need them both.  Honestly, I think I’m a little mad at you.  You were supposed to be very good at that espionage stuff and here you are, caught before me when I’m a novice.  And even worse, you let them break your mind.  You told them to kill you to protect me.  Do you think I would have ever wanted that?  You gave up, let yourself go insane rather than deal with the pain and hurt.  Why shouldn’t I just give up on you too?”  She sighs with frustration and beckons for Daray to leave the food and come back to where she is sitting.  “No I don’t want a sausage, come back here and bring whatever you want to munch on. I want to hold you a little longer before I have to go.”  As soon a Daray is close enough Lana will try tracing Aprils name in the skin suit again.  She is pretty sure she hadn’t imagined a response earlier but she couldn’t for the life of her guess what she was trying to communicate. _____________________________________________________________________________ Daray picks through the food for a few moments, munching on a few bits here and there, before scampering back over to Lana and crouching down against the wall, leaning heavily on her lover as Lana’s hand traces out APRIL’s name on her back again. This time, Lana doesn’t seem to get any reaction at all from her friend, although when Daray leans forward to play with her tail as it twitches, Lana gets a clear view of the ODN jack behind her right ear. A sudden outbreak of whining and mewling draws Lana’s attention back to Daray’s eyes, which are now looking up at her, wet with tears as Daray clutches at Lana’s tail and brushes the fine fur lightly across her cheek. After Lana’s words, and the physical sensation of her fur against skin, it seems that Daray’s mind is perhaps not so completely lost. As their eyes meet again, Daray lunges forward and embraces Lana again, quietly sobbing, her cheek pressed into Lana’s chest. For a brief moment, Lana can see a flash of another raised form on Daray’s back, this time it appears to be an image of a data storage crystal, but it is gone again in an instant, as the door slides quietly open and Turin steps in again. This time, Daray doesn’t even twitch, she just stays wrapped around Lana’s body, quietly sobbing. “I’m sorry to have left you on the floor Lana, but you appeared to be pretty attached to one another.” The emotions surge again, telling her to love him. Him, not this thing in her arms. “If you think she can be kept calm, maybe we could get her cleaned up.” The emotions surge again, this time there are subtle thoughts as well, she is an animal, a pet. Yes, she is a pet. A household animal, to be loved and treated as such. Not a person, not someone to give your heart to so fully. You suggest it. This is your idea. Her mind is broken, but she will make a good pet. You can keep her close, but your love, your heart, is mine. “She deserves that much, after what I did to her.” His words are in ernest, and the press of emotions confirms them, but the thoughts pressing into her head, as convincing as they are, don’t seem right for some reason. She isn’t sure exactly why, but whenever he pushes ideas and feelings about Daray into her being, Lana seems to understand on some base level that they are wrong. Not her own. She can’t stop them pressing into her consciousness, integrating them into her own thoughts, but she knows they aren’t right, aren’t hers. A sudden thought occurs to her as Turin motions toward the door, indicating that they should go. Earlier, at the table, he had told her he wanted to give her a gift. The thoughts are thick now, leaden and muddy, almost impossible to grasp at for more than a moment, but why would he offer her a gift, and then present her with this… the remains of a person that seems to have such a large place in her heart. He had apologized for something; again the thoughts are slick and hard to call up on command. Just a moment ago he had said it was his own fault, but what was it? The soft crying coming from Daray stops and her weight shifts as she looks up into Lana’s eyes. She is calm again, the look of innocence is back, and she presses herself against Lana in a way that suggests they should follow the man. Another surge of emotions rolls over her as well, thoughts pressing into her mind, sounding wrong, but still so right, Come, bring your pet, she’s been playing outside and needs to be cleaned up. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana feels a rise of hope at the additional reaction from Daray and just has time to notice the image when Turin returns.  She feels the sudden manipulation of her thoughts and emotions but they are stronger this time, despite her now being rested.  She takes a few deep breaths and closes her eyes as she acclimates to the renewed assault.  Its like being a guest in her own head; a part of her feels happy that he has returned for her, ashamed that she hadn’t gone to him first.  The emotion of love that he is feeding into her is like a berry just past its prime, oh so sweet but with a hint of the rotting process affecting the after taste.  That emotion presses up against the emotion for Daray like two objects battling for the same space.  The emotion for Daray is less sweet, a harder emotion built from challenges and the pain of loss.  Lana shakes her head and evaluates what he wants, one by one taking the ideas and suggestions and evaluating them for harm. “I want to keep her. She will be like a pet.  I will care for her, she will keep me company when I am missing you.”  Something in her doesn’t like the idea but it will not cause any harm.  Lana smiles and opens her eyes again, pushing Daray away enough that she is able to climb to her feet and take Daray’s hand.  “I don’t know why I took so long in here.  I’m so sorry if I made you wait, Turin.”  She starts to walk towards Turin but stops after a moment, another thought making it trough her danger filter, and she looks at Daray and herself, wrinkling her nose at their odors. “We should go get cleaned up, would that be alright, love?”  An afterthought pops in her head, once they are clean she needs to find a data crystal.  Leaving the room is a good idea, she can get clean and find what she needs. ____________________________________________________________________________ Turin smiles, as does the press of emotions emanating from him, although the wave backs off again once Lana vocalizes her acceptance of his desires. He leads the way out of the small room where they are joined by one of his cybernetic thugs and several of his women, then leads the entourage out of the tunnels, up the narrow stairs, through the dining room, and up to the bedroom Lana had been in briefly to change clothes. Daray moves with an awkward, three-legged gait, holding Lana’s hand, but still moving along like some kind of animal on her hands and feet. She keeps herself pressed up against Lana’s leg as they move, which makes it difficult to walk. Once there, he posts the guard at the door and leads the way into the room. “I have some business to attend to Lana, so I must leave you here to get cleaned up. If you need anything, you need only ask.” He indicates the naked women standing there with him, then leans forward and presses a kiss to Lana’s forehead before smiling, and with a surge of emotions, disappears again from the room. Once they are alone, although there are still two women standing just inside the door, Daray releases Lana’s hand and begins wandering about the massive space, poking through things, looking under furniture, and sniffing at the window and bed dressings curiously. She still lopes around on all-fours as she moves, and makes surprisingly good time doing so. Any trace of anger or fear is gone from her aura and emotions now, she seems completely at ease in Lana’s presence. As Lana watches Daray explore the room, her vision passes over a large, expensive looking media set-up, which sparks a memory of the ODN cable jack she had seen first on the skinsuit, then on the back of Daray’s skull, behind her ear. When her exploration brings her to the open bathroom door, she peeks around the corner into the stone-tiled room, then turns her head slowly toward Lana, a look of interest and excitement spilling across her face. She actually starts to sort of hop up and down, bouncing lightly from foot to foot/hand to hand. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana breaths a sigh of relief as the bombardment slows to a trickle and her mind is able to better grasp her sense of self.  She almost wants to laugh at the subterfuge that he chose to make her believe.  He was jealous of her love for Daray, wanting that emotion entirely for himself.  If she wasn’t in such a dangerous situation she would almost feel sorry for him.  Her heart aches at the way Daray chooses to walk on her hand and knees like some ill-proportioned and overlarge chimp.  When Turin leaves she bows her head and accepts the kiss with a murmured sound of pleasure.  She watches until he is gone and then turns to follow Daray’s exploration through the room.  She notes the entertainment area and the jack and resolves to try that later but she needs to determine how closely she is being watched first.  The fact that he got jealous of her love for Daray has Lana suspicious that her words in the holding cell were reported back to him either by a recording or one of the people watching her. She smiles sadly at the excitement for the door she is standing by.  Seeing the stonework, Lana guesses that it is the bathing room and walks over to open the door completely and looks inside.  She ignores the women for now, not used to being served in any manner and uncertain how to treat them. ____________________________________________________________________________ Daray skitters into the bathroom and begins her poking and prodding around the area, inspecting every single nook and cranny she can find. As she moves over the vanity with her inspection, she suddenly leaps up onto the counter, braces one hand against the mirror and, with a loud growl, tears the light fixture above the mirror off the wall and throws it on the floor. She jumps off the counter, landing on the smashed fixture and begins tearing at it with the claws of her right hand as she holds it down with her feet and left hand. After a few moments, and more than a few rather impressive showers of sparks, she kicks the fixture across the room and moves into the shower stall where she turns around and sits down, facing Lana with a calm look and clear, caring eyes. The fixture, or some of its larger parts, come to rest near Lana’s feet, where she can see a few complicated pieces of circuitry that look nothing like what one might expect to find in a lighting fixture. Daray sits and waits in the huge shower stall, her long, ratty braid of hair coiled around her, and fingers picking idly at it as she watches and waits for Lana. ____________________________________________________________________________ Lana stares in shock at the sudden violent behavior and is left gaping when it ends as quickly as it began.  She looks down at the wreckage at her feet and a smirk curls at the corners of her mouth as she realized Daray had just found and destroyed one of Turin’s observation devices.  Silently she wonders how she knew but she responds the only way she can considering there are still observers in the other room.  “Daray! No destroying the decorations.” She leaves it there, the reproach so mild as to have almost not been worth the breath that created it. Lana looks at the shower and pauses as she tries to consider the best way to handle the bathing.  She worries that in helping her clean herself she could touch her in a way that may bring back the trauma from earlier, and yet touching in the shower could spark the memories of their stay at the brothel earlier and help bring Daray back into herself; and the very last thing that Lana wants is an influx of lust between them right now.  When Daray is herself nothing could be better; seeing her as this lost broken animal is too heart wrenching for words. Finally Lana walks over and turns on the water, nothing else to be done but get her clean and hope for the best.  She adjusts the temperature until it is pleasantly warm and hands Daray a bar of soap to see if she will bath her body herself.  Lana takes one look at Daray’s braid and shakes her head.  “I think I’m going to have to cut your hair. That mess may be too much to handle with you in your current state.  What do you think?”   She talks continuously, hoping eventually something will break through. _____________________________________________________________________________ Daray watches Lana’s reaction with keen interest, actually shrinking back agains the shower wall a bit when she puts on the show of scolding her, but she recovers quickly when she seems to realize that the energy coming off Lana is not angry or berating. When Lana moves closer and turns on the water in the shower, Daray tests it tentatively, then moves fully under the stream, seemingly wanting to be clean. The bar of soap peaks her interest for a few seconds before the water makes its surface slick and it pops out of her hand. She hops away from it with a hiss, arching her back as she stares at the offending object then, after it does nothing more to frustrate her, she moves back over to where it fell and bats it across the shower stall. She spends several moments chasing the bar of soap happily until Lana suggests cutting her hair, at which point she shrinks back from Lana, backing into a corner and growling as she makes certain her braid is well and truly jammed between her and the wall where Lana can’t get at it. Her hands and feet are all flat against the floor of the shower, so there is no real show of aggression, but she is clearly not very excited about the idea of a haircut, which could be construed as excellent news, since she obviously understood what Lana said. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana does take the negative response as good news and even grins at Daray, holding her hands up in a yielding gesture.  “All right!  No cutting!”  Lana steps into the shower with her clothes still on. She grabs a bottle of shampoo and another one of conditioner and motions for Daray to stand under the water.  “I need you to stand up or your hair will rinse right down the drain.  Come on sweetie, for me.”  Lana reaches out gently and takes the end of the braid.  Deftly she begins to undo the braid and the knots with her fingers while she waits for Daray to move where she had been told to. “It’s bigger than the shower back on earth station… At least that’s where I think we were when you saved me from the sergeant.  Remember that? You had been hurt so badly and then when you regenerated your hair grew this long for some reason.  You were going to cut it but I asked you not to.  I still think it’s beautiful but I might not have protested if I had known how much trouble it would end up being for you.”  Lana notices as she talks that her mind is clearer and she grins, starting to feel less worried about having made the decision to save the injection for Daray.  As long as she can continue to regain her sense of self with Turin not in the room she thinks she has a chance to resist him. _____________________________________________________________________________ Daray watches Lana’s fingers deftly work through her hair for a few minutes, just squatting there beneath the cascade. Finally, she starts to stand up, but quickly drops to a crouching position again as she starts to loose her balance. After several more false starts, she turns to face the wall, and walks her hands up the stone tiled wall to finally reach a standing position. She stands with her legs spread nearly two shoulder widths apart and her arms braced against the wall, leaning at a fairly severe angle as if she can’t find any other way to keep her balance. As Lana works through her ratty hair, Daray’s head rolls back and she softly mewls and moans in pleasurable contentment. The claws in her fingers and toes work reflexively in and out of their sheaths, carving deep furrows in the stone wall and floor. By the time Lana has worked the knots out, Daray is already panting heavily from the attention. When she starts working the shampoo into her hair, Daray’s head lolls back and her fingers actually press into the stone on the wall, cracking the tiles badly. Her whole body tenses when Lana’s fingers start to work her scalp, and it only takes seconds for her to have an extremely powerful orgasm. She crushes the tiles her fingers have dug into, and the patches on her forearms start to glow faintly, a deep, rumbling growl building up from the pit of her stomach. Interestingly, the clicking in Lana’s earpiece seems to speed up as Daray’s level of excitement increases, and a series of wave-like patterns of ridges and rainbow colors roll across the surface of her skinsuit. _____________________________________________________________________________ Lana winces when Daray starts to scratch the stone.  She would have stopped her but she never imagines that she would crush the stone under her fingers and toes.  For that matter she had never expected such an intense reaction from just having her hair washed.   Lana tries to keep her quiet, shushing her and speaking softly.  “Sweetheart.  You can’t keep damaging things.  Turin might not let me keep you if you keep costing him money.”  There are tears in her eyes as she continues at her task. The response of the skin suit is interesting but to Lana there is noting sexual or sensual about this experience.  It is just painful.  She quickly changes the angle of the shower to rinse the soap out of Daray’s hair and then starts to work the entire bottle of conditioner into it.  Lana feels an oppressing sense of nervous panic growing inside her.  She’s not certain how much longer she will have before Turin returns and starts effecting her mind again and she wants to have both of them clean and the injection in a new hiding space before he comes back.  _____________________________________________________________________________ As the conditioner goes in, Daray seems to calm down a little, whether due to some difference in the feeling, or because of Lana’s words is not certain, but she seems to get herself under better control. She still moans softly every time Lana drags fingers through her hair, or runs them across her scalp, but the reaction is nothing like before. Once the conditioner has been worked thoroughly into her hair, Daray moves to turn around, trying to face Lana, but quickly looses her balance and ends up on her hands and feet again, hair splayed out around her in a creamy, wet fan. A second later, she lunges forward, wrapping her arms around Lana’s thighs and hugging her tightly, quiet whines escaping her throat again. Holding the embrace for a long minute, she begins to apply a gentle but insistent downward pressure on lana, beckoning her lower to the floor. _____________________________________________________________________________ At first Lana tries to resist, she is still dressed and doesn’t want to get her golden outfit wet. Finally, she succumbs to Daray’s insistent pressure.  “No.. Stop that… I’m still dressed… Oh fine.”  Lana sinks down and kneels on the floor in front of Daray.  She reaches out and brushes her hand along her cheek as she tries to figure out what she is wanting from her.  She is feeling completely lost, finding Daray in this condition had not even occurred to her. The stress of finding herself in this situation alone has her second guessing all of her decisions.  Maybe she should have tried to hook Daray up to the electronics before she tried to bathe her.  It seems impossible that fixing her could be that simple.  She knows from the pulsing beat in her ear that April is still there in some capacity but she has no way of knowing how much. Also it is possible that Turin is deceiving her.  He could have easily found out about April and done something to Daray’s mind to deliberately leave her like this and his seeming regret for her condition is only a subterfuge. The most prudent thing to do seems to be to take things slowly. Rushing things can cause mistakes.  Somehow she is resisting the compulsion of a very powerful psychic and she knows if she does anything that seems suspicious to him, he can push until he takes her over completely. Her eyes are sad and worried as she looks at Daray, waiting for what she will do next.


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